July 30, 2021

Virginia Beach Recognizes City’s 2020-21 “Champion for the Arts”

The City of Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission has selected Nancy Creech as the 2020-21 Virginia Beach Champion for the Arts. This annual award honors citizens who guide, support and enrich Virginia Beach's cultural life with their extraordinary commitment.

Ms. Creech has made a lifelong commitment to the arts. In her youth, she was a ballet dancer and did choreography with the Little Theatre of Virginia Beach. She was also a co-founder of the original Virginia Beach Ballet and served as a dance adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, while Ms. Creech served on the Virginia Beach Planning Commission, she was instrumental in creating the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission in 1979.

"We are proud to honor Nancy Creech for her lifelong contributions and tireless commitment to developing and enriching Virginia Beach's cultural community," said Mayor Bobby Dyer. "Ms. Creech personifies the City of Virginia Beach's dedication to stimulating and supporting excellence, accessibility and inclusion in the arts and humanities for all citizens."

Ms. Creech's extensive cultural community service includes the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts Steering Committee and serving on the boards of Virginia Musical Theatre, Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Governor's School for the Arts Foundation.

In 2011, Ms. Creech launched "Symphony By The Sea," a free summer concert series at the 31st Street Park featuring Symphonicity and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, securing private funding support for the concerts. Ms. Creech also co-chaired the original fundraising campaign to create the Virginia Marine Science Museum, now the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and served on its board.

"The Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission is thrilled to recognize Nancy Creech as our City's 2020-21 Champion for the Arts," said Sue Grube, Chair of the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission." "Nancy goes above and beyond to raise awareness for the arts in Virginia Beach, and her decades of service and commitment to our community have been invaluable."

Ms. Creech is perhaps best known as President and CEO of Virginia Beach Events Unlimited, which organizes the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival. Her tireless efforts on behalf of the Neptune Festival led to the creation of the annual Youth Art Show and the Neptune Festival Art Show, the Afternoon Encore Concerts for Seniors, a free performance series for senior citizens, and the Neptune Festival International Sandsculpting Championship.

Ms. Creech also spearheaded the effort to commission the artist and helped oversee the planning and construction of the "King Neptune" sculpture, by artist Paul DiPasquale, at 31st Street and the Boardwalk. The sculpture was dedicated to the City of Virginia Beach and funded solely by private donations.

In May 2021, Ms. Creech was also featured in Inside Business magazine's "Power List of Most Influential People," recognizing her influence and contributions to the development of the Hampton Roads area.

The idea for the Champion for the Arts award came about through the development of the City's first-ever strategic plan for the arts, Virginia Beach Arts Plan 2030, in order to recognize community members dedicated to the furtherance of the arts in Virginia Beach. The Commission felt that honoring citizens who go above and beyond to raise awareness for the arts in Virginia Beach was an important first initiative to implement from the Arts Plan 2030.

The Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission will present the 2020-21 Champion for the Arts award to Nancy Creech during a ceremony at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in August.

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

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