Governor’s Awards Recognize Excellence in the Arts

JACKSON, MISS. – May 23, 2017 – What do Eudora Welty, Wyatt Waters, Leontyne Price, Morgan Freeman, Thacker Mountain Radio and Casey Elementary School have in common besides having Mississippi roots? They are all past recipients of a Governor’s Arts Award. Each year, in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Mississippi Arts Commission presents these awards to individuals and organizations who have made noteworthy contributions to the arts or have achieved artistic excellence in the state of Mississippi.

Award winners are nominated by members of the public and selected by a jury of community arts leaders and industry peers. Schools, businesses, organizations, arts initiatives and events are eligible to receive Governor’s Arts Awards, in addition to individual artists and supporters of the arts. Awardees are recognized for outstanding work in visual, literary, and performing arts, community development through the arts and arts patronage. Recipients are not required to be Mississippi residents, but they must have significant ties to the state through some years of residency.

The awards ceremony, held each year in February, often features performances by award winners and spotlights Mississippi’s rich cultural resources while honoring those who make a lasting impact on the state through their vision and creativity.

“The Governor’s Arts Awards represent our state’s highest honor for those creating art or supporting the arts,” said MAC Executive Director Malcolm White. “Each year, a handful of awardees are selected to join the ranks of Mississippi’s greatest performers, writers, visual artists, art patrons and arts organizations. We are proud to recognize the best of Mississippi’s thriving arts community each year in partnership with the Governor’s Office.”

Mississippi Arts Commission will soon begin accepting nominees for 2018 Governor’s Arts Award recipients and encourages Mississippians across the state to consider nominating individuals or organizations in their communities who exemplify the qualities of artistic excellence.

View a list of past winners by visiting

Learn more about the Governor’s Arts Awards at