The Governor’s Arts Awards program signifies the important relationship between government and the arts. The arts combine vision and creativity while enriching society’s cultural horizons. Established in 1988, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize those who have made noteworthy contributions to, or achieved artistic excellence in, the state of Mississippi. The awards event is presented each year by the Mississippi Arts Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office.

Nomination Criteria

Nomination Application

Nominations for the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards will open in Spring/Summer 2018.

Contact: Anna Ehrgott, Communications Director, aehrgott@arts.ms.gov or 601.359.6546

2018 Recipients

  • Steve Azar – Governor’s Choice Award
  •  David Keary – Leadership in Performing Arts
  •  Joe Overstreet – Excellence in Visual Art
  •  V. A. Patterson – Community Arts Leader
  •  Yoknapatawpha Arts Council – Arts in Community

Complete listing of previous Governor’s Arts Award recipients by name (.xlsx spreadsheet)

Complete listing of previous Governor's Arts Award recipients by year

2017

  • William R. Ferris – Lifetime Achievement
  • Sammy Britt – Excellence in Visual Art
  • Vasti Jackson – Arts Ambassador
  • Lucy Richardson Janoush – Arts Patron
  • Jaimoe Johnie Johnson – Excellence in Music
  • Mississippi Opera – Artistic Excellence

2016

  • Tom ‘Bones’ Malone
  • Scott Barretta
  • Claudia Cartee
  • Tig Notaro
  • Dr. Tommie ‘Tonea’ Stewart

2015

  • Lane Chapel Quintet
  • Chesney Blankenstein Doyle
  • Maude Schuyler Clay
  • MSU Riley Center
  • Craig Wiseman

2014

  • Lesley Silver
  • John Maxwell
  • William Baggett
  • Jim Weatherly
  • James Cotton

2013

  • Kathryn Lewis
  • Bay St. Louis Little Theatre
  • Beth Henley
  • Eddie “Chank” Willis
  • Bobby Rush

2012

  • Althea Jerome
  • Howard Bahr
  • WellsFest
  • Carl Jackson
  • McCarty Pottery
  • Mose Allison

2011

  • Charles A. Rhoads
  • Natchez Literary & Cinema Celebration
  • Gwendolyn Magee
  • Mac McAnally
  • Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins

2010

  • Lenagene Waldrup
  • Bessie Johnson
  • Grassroots Radio Show
  • Wyatt Waters
  • David “Honeyboy” Edwards

2009

  • University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
  • WINGS Performing Arts Program of the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center
  • Wolfe Studio
  • Cassandra Wilson
  • John Grisham
  • Andrew Bucci

2008

  • Mississippi Museum of Art
  • Emma McCain
  • Lallah Miles Perry
  • Natasha Trethewey
  • Charley Pride

2007

  • Nora Davis Magnet School
  • Viking Range Corporation
  • Sam Gilliam
  • Sam Carr
  • Bo Diddley

2006

  • Sam Myers
  • Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi
  • Bruce Levingston
  • Fletcher Cox
  • Casey Elementary School
  • Trustmark National Bank
  • Elizabeth Spencer

2005

  • Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science
  • Pearl Public School District
  • Thacker Mountain Radio
  • Gladys Kemp Lisanby
  • Sela Ward
  • Will D. Campbell

2004

  • Greenville Arts Council
  • James “Super Chikan” Johnson
  • Rankin County School District
  • Malcolm White
  • Mary Katherine Loyacono McCravey

2003

  • Dr. David Stuart Blackburn
  • Thallis Lewis
  • Charles Burnett
  • Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education
  • USA International Ballet Competition
  • William Eggleston
  • Rust College A’Cappella Choir
  • Little Milton (Campbell)

2002

  • B.B. King
  • John Paul
  • Bologna Performing Arts Center
  • Sally W. Carmichael
  • The Village of Taylor
  • Andrew Cary Young
  • William Carey College Theatre
  • Dr. Russell Thomas, Jr.
  • Stephen E. Ambrose

2001

  • Abie “Boogaloo” Ames
  • George Berry
  • Roger D. Malkin
  • Samuel Mockbee
  • Pierce Street Elementary School
  • Ronald Otto Schnell
  • Lester Senter
  • Martha Layton Richardson Tatum

2000

  • Larry Brown
  • Senator Thad Cochran
  • Crossroads Quilters
  • Sarah Gillespie
  • Hattiesburg Arts Council
  • Andrew Lark, Jr.
  • Charlie Musselwhite
  • John Palmer
  • Stewart Family Pottery

1999

  • Johnnie Billington
  • Ellen Douglas (Josephine Haxton)
  • P. Sanders McNeal
  • Mississippi State Hospital—Community Services Homeless Program
  • Museum of Southern Jewish Experience
  • Colman Pearce
  • Kenneth Quinn
  • Roebuck “Pops” Staples
  • Marty Stuart

1998

  • Beechwood Elementary School
  • Vicksburg Warren School District—For Project ABC (Arts in the Basic Curriculum)
  • The Cotton Blossom Singers of the Piney Woods School
  • Dr. David Daigeneault
  • Eastman Memorial Foundation for support of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
  • Milt Hinton
  • Natchez Opera Festival, Inc.

1997

  • Dr. Paul E. Ballard
  • Marshall Bouldin
  • Dr. Samuel Marshall Gore
  • International Paper
  • The Knight Foundation through The Sun Herald
  • The City of Biloxi
  • The George E. Ohr Arts and Cultural Center
  • The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County
  • Malaco Records
  • Dr. Jean Simmons

1996

  • Entergy/MP&L Company
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Sid Graves
  • Lisa N. Howorth
  • Dorothy Moore
  • Dan Overly
  • University Press of Mississippi
  • Theo Inman Vaughey

1995

  • Thomas Jones Biggs
  • Shelby Foote
  • Gum Tree Festival
  • Bill Mitchell
  • William D. Mounger
  • New Stage Theatre Education Program
  • Lida Rogers
  • Billie Jean Young

1994

  • Robert Parker Adams
  • B & P Interiors, Hinds County Public Schools, and Hinds County Department of Human Services
  • Nelle DeLoach Elam
  • Keith Dockery McLean
  • Mississippi Action for Community Education/Delta Arts Project
  • Willie Morris
  • Jim Timms

1993

  • Patti Carr Black
  • Vicki Bodenhamer
  • Eleanor Ferris
  • Richard Ford
  • Thomas Somerville Howorth
  • Mississippi Educational Television Network, Mtel, USA International Ballet Competition
  • Othar Turner

1992

  • Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander
  • Walter Anderson Museum of Art, City of Ocean Springs, and Jackson County Board of Supervisors
  • Crosby Arboretum
  • Jane Reid-Petty
  • South Central Bell
  • West Tallahatchie High School
  • Mary Jayne Whittington

1991

  • Center for the Study of Southern Culture
  • Chevron USA
  • Corinth Area Arts Council
  • William Dunlap
  • Jackson Public Schools and Mississippi Symphony Orchestra
  • Ethel Wright Mohamed
  • Malcolm C. Norwood

1990

  • Stuart C. Irby, Jr.
  • Thalia Mara
  • Mississippi Cultural Crossroads and Claiborne County Board of Supervisors
  • Mississippi Mass Choir
  • Noxubee County Library
  • Starkville High School
  • Eudora Welty

1988

  • The Arts Alliance of Jackson & Hinds County
  • Deposit Guaranty National Bank
  • Barry Hannah
  • City of Jackson
  • Jackson Public Schools/Academic and Performing Arts Complex Performing Arts Division
  • Jean Chisolm Lindsey
  • Leontyne Price