July 13, 2023

Virginia Beach Recognizes City’s 2023 “Champion for the Arts”

​The City of Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission has selected Rose Daria as the 2023 Virginia Beach Champion for the Arts. This annual award is presented to a person, or persons, who has made a significant impact in Virginia Beach's vibrant cultural and arts community through volunteer service and/or philanthropy.

The Arts & Humanities Commission unanimously voted to recognize Daria, a former commission member, for her decades of community service, including working with her fellow local Filipino American community to form the Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater, VA Inc. (CUFOT) with the primary purpose of building a place to preserve and promote Filipino culture and heritage.

Along with a dedicated group of 31 other family leaders in the community, they served as the CUFOT Board of Trustees, which financially backed the effort to make this dream became a reality in 2000, with the opening of the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia (PCC) on Baxter Road in Virginia Beach.

"My friend, Rose Daria, is a great supporter of the arts, and she is extremely generous with both her time and resources," said Carolyn Garrett, former chair of the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission and a retired Virginia Beach educator. "[Rose] has encouraged and instructed many students in their pursuit of various artistic talents, and is a very deserving recipient of the Champion for the Arts award."

Daria also led a volunteer effort to form dance groups, which included several Filipino women as instructors of cultural dances, designers, and makers of costumes and locators and/or creators of performing props, such as music, bamboo poles, glasses with candles, straw hats, and castanets.

The dance groups primarily recruited youth ages 5-18 years old in order to introduce them to the unique Filipino music, dances, geography, agriculture, way of life, and all aspects of culture. The dance groups were invited to many local events such as the Neptune Festival, the Azalea Festival (now the Norfolk NATO Festival), Harborfest, and church celebrations and community gatherings to showcase the Philippines.

In her nomination, Dr. Arlene Fontanares praised Daria's creativity, dedication and leadership, and specifically recognized how her efforts "inspired young people, especially Filipino Americans, to pursue and enjoy activities in creative and performing arts."

Once the PCC was built in 2000, the CUFOT / PCC School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) was established, with Daria as the director until 2020. She has also been the artistic director for many annual Filipino contests, including the Mrs. Philippines of Virginia from 1979–2019. She continued in this role in 2023 due to the event resuming from pandemic closures, helping celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Philippines Independence Day.

Daria has also been a longstanding board member of the Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach, for which she has also been preparing and coordinating the on-stage competition for the Youth Ambassador Program.

"Her longstanding foundational efforts and dedication continue to promote the vision of sharing and promoting our Filipino arts and culture and have sustained our cultural presence across the city, the Hampton Roads region, and the Commonwealth," wrote Fontanares in her nomination. "Because of her unwavering service and support for the arts community as a financial investor, a volunteer leader and as an inspirational guide for our youth, Rose P. Daria epitomizes the spirit of an arts advocate."

The Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission will present the 2023 Champion for the Arts award to Daria during a ceremony at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in August. 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.

Previous Champion for the Arts award recipients include Barbara Lewis, Tom and Juanita Felton, Barbara and Andrew Fine, Meredith and Brother Rutter, Nancy Creech and Marynell Gordon.

About the City of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department:
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 the Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA, the ViBe Creative District and the Virginia African American Cultural Center, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations.

Contact Information

Keep Reading

See All Posts