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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.


September: Open for application

October 31: Entry deadline at 5 p.m

November: Judging

January: Winners announced: all applicants will be notified by email about the status of their entry

Recent Award Recipients

teens enjoying art project at Studio 23

Studio Two Three of Richmond for their art education programs for youth and emerging artists of all ages. The program offers field trips for local schools, residency for low-wealth artists, and S23 To-Go, a mobile printmaking and photography studio on wheels. Studio Two Three is committed to growing the vibrant Richmond art community.

children working on art project at depot artists association

Depot Artists Association of Abingdon for their education programs that teach weaving, collage, innovative watercolor, acrylic, oil painting, quilting, carving and beading. The program also works directly with special needs students in the community. Appalachian Stitches and Quilting Bee Classes continue the education of quilting while celebrating the region's history and heritage.

children performing with the alexandria, va symphony

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra of Alexandria for their Sympatico program at Title I Public Schools. This El Sistema-inspired program is committed to providing high-quality music education for students. Sympatico increases music opportunity for underrepresented minorities and at-risk youth at no cost to the school or their families.

gathering at a function at Lime Kiln Arts

Lime Kiln Arts of Lexington for their music programs in their community. Lime Kiln Arts offers a Summer Concert Series and children’s play at their outdoor amphitheater. The Music in the Schools program educates children on Appalachian Music and Dance.

students attending sandler event

Sandler Center Foundation of Virginia Beach for their educational matinee program highlighting Title I schools. Over 14,000 students will attend an educational matinee at the Sandler Center or at their school through partnership with Richmond Ballet. Matinee content includes STEM, Natural History, Literature, History, Multi-Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, Biography, Music, Dance, and Character Education (perseverance, values, self-esteem, and behavior awareness).

View the 2020 ArtStars Press Release

Eligibility & Guidelines

To be eligible to receive a Dominion Energy ArtStars Award, organizations MUST:

  • Meet the ArtStars definition of an arts organization: organizations that produce, present, or support dance, literary arts, media arts, music, theater, visual, and related arts including art therapy.
  • Be headquartered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Be registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
  • Operate at least one qualifying arts and education program

NOTE: Previous ArtStars Awards recipients from the most recent year are not eligible to apply, and prior winners must wait one awards cycle before they become eligible to re-apply.

Each entry must include the following information:

  • A summary of how the organization and its arts and education programs meets each of the criteria.
  • One additional attachment, if desired (1 page max.), such as letter of recommendation, media coverage, patron comments, marketing piece, etc.; and
  • A copy of the organization's total budget, as well as the percentage of funds used on all of its educational outreach programs and initiatives.

Also, the entry must specifically address each of the criteria below, as instructed:

  • Adhere to eligibility, formatting and content requirements.
  • Submissions must be approved by the organization's top executive (e.g., Executive Director).
  • Online applications must be submitted by October 31, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Note: Entry Forms not adhering to the above directions will be disqualified.

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 reach 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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