For each of the past 13 years, The Independent has presented Indies Arts Awards to individuals, groups and organizations who’ve made significant contributions to the local arts scene. Each year we convene a new panel to choose winners, and every year the criteria are slightly different, as befits the Triangle’s ever-changing cultural landscape. This year’s group of winners are storytellers: transmitters of culture across generations, color lines and physical limitations. They are conduits for visual, lyrical and musical expression. And voices for communities, both underrepresented and underserved. All of them do it for the love of art and for the belief that everyone should have access to it.

We’ve also included a category–an Honorable Mention of sorts–for folks our judges felt compelled to recognize for their long-standing, and in some cases, newer, contributions to the Triangle arts community. “Voices in the Wilderness,” as one judge put it.

We hear you. And along with many local residents, we applaud your dedication and look forward to your continued success. — the editors

This year’s winners

  • Howard L. Craft: Playwright, poet, teacher
  • Andre Leon Gray: The alchemist
  • Arts Access, Inc.: A brighter, broader view
  • Cynthia Hill: Dedicated documentarian
  • Barbara Lau: Committed to community
  • Shepard Jazz Camp: Stanley Baird, Chip Crawford & Eve Cornelious
  • Voices in the Wilderness: Richard Badu and the Triangle Swing Dance Society; Melody and Jeffery Zentner; Peter Kramer; Ms. Films Festival

    The following people contributed to this year’s awards as jury members and writers: shirlette ammons, Brett Chambers, Dawn Dreyer, olufunke moses, Kirsten Mullen, Surabhi Shah and Byron Woods.

    Previous Indies Award Winners

  • Alice Gerrard
  • Dexter Romweber and the Flat Duo Jets
  • Group Sax
  • Rodney Wynkoop
  • Clay Taliaferro
  • Ann Rowles
  • Raleigh Little Theater
  • Artspace
  • The Paper Plant
  • Chuck Davis and the African-American Dance Ensemble
  • Glaxo
  • Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
  • Reynolds Price
  • Ella Fountain Pratt
  • Julia Wray


  • The Void Brothers
  • Manbites Dog Theater
  • Tim Walker
  • Gerald Barrax
  • City Gallery of Contemporary Art


  • Clyde Jones
  • Nneena Freelon
  • Duke University Institute of the Arts
  • Tom Whiteside
  • Frank Heath


  • Beverly Botsford
  • Super Slackers
  • Roger Manley
  • Susan Toplikar and Mike Cindric
  • Archipelago Theater Inc.
  • Kuumba Arts Ensemble

  • 1994

  • Bryant Holsenbeck
  • Wifflefist
  • Laurie Wolf
  • Fortuna
  • NCSU Center Stage


  • Elaine Lorber
  • N.C. Jazz Repertory Orchestra
  • N.C. Writers’ Network
  • Charlotte Brown
  • The Somnambulist Project
  • George Bireline


  • Lenard Moore
  • Donald Baker & Jerry Carter of WNCU-FM
  • Linda Ironside
  • Paul Ferguson
  • Michael McFee


  • Sam Piperato
  • Joseph Henderson
  • Betty Ray McCain and Elizabeth Buford
  • Janice Palmer
  • Jeff Leighton


  • Lois Dawson
  • Richard Krawiec
  • PineCone–Susan Newbury
  • LUMP gallery–Med
  • Byrd and Bill Thelen
  • Modern Museum–Jim Kellough
  • Gene Medler

  • 1999

  • Ricardo Granillo
  • John Blackfeather Jeffries
  • Louise Omoto Kessel
  • Pepper Fluke
  • Antfarm
  • Community Stories Project


  • Ronnie Lilly
  • The Red Clay Ramblers
  • The Third Place Coffeehouse
  • Jelly Educational Theater
  • E.B. and Juanita Palmer
  • Burning Coal Theatre Company
  • Scott Ainslie


  • Brett Ingram
  • Hayti Heritage Center
  • Skip Elsenheimer–A/V Geeks
  • John Rosenthal
  • David zum Brunnen
  • Mr. Lady Records


  • erin o’Hara slavick
  • Michael Quattlebaum
  • DADA
  • Danny Cameron
  • Jim Haverkamp