Bobb Cooper, who will celebrate his 25th anniversary with Valley Youth Theatre on March 20, will receive the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the virtual 40th annual Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards, a statewide hybrid event on March 26.
“Bobb Cooper has shown a dedication to the arts, to theatre, and his community over the last 25 years that has had a ripple effect not just on Arizona but the world,” says Joseph Benesh, Arizona Citizens for the Arts executive director. “There are two things about Bobb that stand out: the quality of his productions and his deep connection to the people he works with, both the youth and the families.”
The new award, which may not be awarded every year, honors exceptional legacy achievements, contributions to the arts and service to Arizona. “It also is a wonderful complement to the Shelley Award, which will focus on philanthropy and advocacy,” says Benesh.
Under Cooper’s direction and leadership, Valley Youth Theatre has become a respected, professional-level theater company where hundreds of young people have experienced the magic of live theater. Among Valley Youth Theatre alumni are Academy Award winner Emma Stone, American Idol champion and recording artist Jordin Sparks, Broadway actor Max Crumm and actress and singer Chelsea Kane.
Among his numerous awards and accolades are the 2019 Phoenix Mayor’s Arts Award and the 2013 Dreamr Award for public sector/non profit. He also has been named one of the Valley’s Most Influential business leaders and 40 Under 40 by the Phoenix Business Journal, and Arts Advocate of the Year by the Greater Phoenix Arts & Business Council and many others.
The 40th annual Governor’s Arts Awards begins at 6 p.m. on March 26 when restaurants in 10 Arizona communities will provide meals-to-go for celebrants across the state to enjoy at home while watching the presentation that begins at 8 p.m. Individuals registering for the event will be able to choose their meals and will receive log-in instructions for the private viewing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit azcitizensforthearts.org.