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Dominion Energy ArtStars

The Dominion Energy ArtStars awards recognize arts organizations in Virginia that successfully combine arts and education in their community.

Organizations providing arts education to students of all ages in Virginia may apply for consideration.

One Shining Star Award ($10,000 each) may be awarded in each of the five Virginia regions to an organization with (i) a qualifying arts and education program and (ii) an annual budget of less than $1 million.

Apply Now!


September 1 – Applications Open

October 31 – Applications Close

December – Winners Notified

Recent Award Recipients

Steps VA people on a stage as part of a play

Sensory Theatre Endless Possibilities (Fredericksburg)

Founded a decade ago by rehabilitative therapy professionals, the nonprofit STEP VA uses creative expression and sensory exploration to empower people with disabilities so that all individuals can develop individual expression, reach their full potential, be their authentic selves, and become valued members of a just and equitable local community. STEP VA believes that through the arts, all people can be heard and seen.

Soundscapes people playing musical instruments

Soundscapes (Newport News)

Soundscapes believes strongly that music education can change lives, and that all children have valuable contributions to make both musically and to our community. It provides youth development and music education programs, including through the renowned Sistema method, in Southeastern Virginia. The goal is to improve opportunities for youth from low-income and historically marginalized communities, and Soundscapes has a solid record of developing academic curiosity and closing the achievement gap.

Live Arts people on a stage

Live Arts (Charlottesville)

Live Arts is committed to forging both theater and community, and has been doing so for more than three decades. Its signature summer camps such as Fractured Fairy Tales and Shakespeare Showcase focus on skill development and personal growth by promoting mental, emotional, and theatrical exploration — encouraging students to practice critical thinking both on and off stage. In addition, Live Arts teaches real-life skills and provides career training. Through all of these efforts, Live Arts builds connection and community in a divided world.

Oakwood people filming with a camera and laptop

Oakwood Arts (Richmond)

Oakwood Arts offers free art and technology classes and strives to make careers in creative arts from photography to sound design more accessible to youth of color who are under-represented in the creative fields. Its mentors help participants not only develop their artistic passions but also develop employment pathways in film, advertising, and adjacent careers. At the same time, Oakwood Arts provides creative programs and activities for the local community to build engagement, learn new skills, gain new perspectives, and develop new interests.

Arts Depot children creating art

Depot Artists Association (Abingdon)

The Depot Artists Association promotes local artists and provides arts education at a repurposed, 1860s freight-train station known as The Arts Depot. Resident artists at the Depot interact with the public, while consignment artists sell their works in a consignment space. The Depot Artists Association offers art classes and workshops, and provides space for school groups, community members, amateur artists, and others. Once a month, a resident artist teaches scholarship classes to clientele from Highlands Community Services who have developmental disabilities.

Judging Criteria

Entries must address each of the following criteria in order to be considered. Strong entries will include detailed, specific examples of how your organization meets these criteria and documented program evaluation and impact measures.

  1. Arts Education Program — Contributions, Merit and Innovation
    • Describe how your organization engages students in your community. Include program name(s), core elements, types of students involved, outcomes, etc.
    • Describe your program(s) in terms of its artistic merit (the perceived quality or value of program content and its participating artists and educators).
    • Describe your use of innovation and/or adaptation during the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., new technology, new teaching methods, art therapy, saves/sustains resources, etc.).
  2. Extraordinary Community Impact
    • Describe how your program addresses the needs of your community.
    • Describe what changes you have made during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to each your community.
    • Provide specifics about the impact your organization has on the community (economic statistics, revitalization efforts) and how it lifts our spirits/enhances the community (e.g.,cultural, economic improvements).

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