The Governor’s Arts Awards program signifies the important relationship between government and the arts. Established in 1988, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize individuals and organizations who have made noteworthy contributions to or achieved artistic excellence in Mississippi. The Mississippi Arts Commission presents the awards each year in partnership with the Governor’s Office.

2025 Governor’s Arts Awards

The 2025 recipients will be recognized at the 37th Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony, which will take place on Thursday, February 6, 2025, at 6 p.m. A public reception at 4:30 p.m. will precede the ceremony.

Each year, MAC and Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) partner to record and broadcast the awards ceremony on MPB Television and MPB Radio. We are grateful for MPB’s continued support!


Each year, members of the public are invited to nominate outstanding individuals and organizations to receive a Governor’s Arts Award. Nominations for the 2025 awards open on Thursday, April 18, 2024, and close on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Who is eligible?
Artists or organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts will be considered to receive this award. Nominated artists do not have to reside in the state currently but must have significant ties to the state through some years of residency. Self-nominations are not accepted, but you can ask someone to nominate you. Awards are given once; previous recipients are ineligible. Also, no posthumous nominations will be accepted. If selected, the nominee must agree to receive the award at the ceremony on February 6, 2025, in Jackson, Mississippi.

Nomination and Selection Process
Nominations open each spring. The public is encouraged to submit nominations for the Governor’s Arts Awards once the nominations are open. Once the nominations are submitted, a panel of judges, many of whom possess a deep knowledge of Mississippi’s visual and performing arts, select several of those nominated to receive a Governor’s Arts Award. 

Nomination Information

MAC is using our grants system for the nomination process this year. Utilizing this system will allow nominators to save their progress, collaborate with others, and easily re-apply if their nominee is not selected. If you are still unfamiliar with the system or need an account, the video below will walk you through creating an account.

When you create an account, you should input your information only. Once the account is created, you will see an option to fill out a nomination form. The form is where you will put in the details of who you are nominating.

Grant system walkthrough video.

If you have an account within the system and want to use something other than that account for your nomination, or if you are with an organization and would like to nominate someone NOT on behalf of your organization, you must create a new account with a different e-mail.


We could not honor these incredible artists without your partnership and support! The history of legacy-building contributions for this awards program is a testament to Mississippians’ resounding support for the arts. Your tax-deductible sponsorship of the Governor’s Arts Awards will show your investment in the arts throughout our state and help ensure the continuation of this event.

To sponsor the 2025 Governor’s Arts Awards, please complete the online sponsorship form through the Community Foundation for Mississippi (CFM). A PDF form that can be downloaded and mailed will be provided at a later date.

Please make checks out to “Community Foundation for Mississippi” with “Fund for Excellence in the Arts” in the memo line. Please mail your check with your completed sponsorship form to the Mississippi Arts Commission • 455 N. Lamar Street • Suite 2A • Barefield Complex • Jackson, Mississippi 39202. CFM will send you a tax deduction form.

To be recognized on print materials, sponsorships must be made by January 3, 2025.

Sponsorship Levels

Presenting Sponsor: $10,000

  • 10 tickets to the Governor’s Arts Awards
  • 10 invitations to Governor’s Mansion VIP Reception & photo opportunity
  • Framed event poster signed by the Governor and recipients
  • Logo recognition on program and poster
  • Mention in the Executive Director’s speech during the ceremony.

Premier Partner: $5,000

  • 6 tickets to the Governor’s Arts Awards
  • 6 invitations to Governor’s Mansion VIP Reception & photo opportunity
  • Framed event poster signed by the Governor and recipients

Principal Partner: $2,500

  • 4 tickets to the Governor’s Arts Awards
  • 4 invitations to the Governor’s Mansion VIP Reception
  • Framed event poster signed by the Governor and recipients

Grand Patron: $1,500

  • 2 tickets to the Governor’s Arts Awards
  • 2 invitations to the Governor’s Mansion VIP Reception
  • Framed event poster signed by the Governor

Patron: $750

  • 2 tickets to the Governor’s Arts Awards
  • Framed event poster signed by the Governor

Donor: $500

  • 2 tickets to the Governor’s Arts Awards Ceremony

Single Extra Ticket: $250

  • 1 ticket to the Governor’s Arts Awards Ceremony
    (Does not receive sponsorship recognition at this level. Can be used to purchase an additional ticket.)

*Gifts of any amount are appreciated.

For questions, contact 601-359-6030.


Download a complete listing of previous Governor’s Arts Award recipients by name (Excel spreadsheet)


  • 100 Men Hall – Arts in Community
  • Earl Poole Ball – Lifetime Achievement
  • Cedric Burnside – Excellence in Music
  • Brent Funderburk – Excellence in Visual Arts and Education
  • Peter Zapletal – Excellence in Performing Arts


  • Dr. Ann Fisher-Wirth – Excellence in Literature & Poetry
  • Betsy Bradley – Leadership in Visual Arts & Community
  • Ed McGowin – Lifetime Achievement
  • Ke Francis – Excellence in Visual Arts
  • King Edward Antoine – Excellence in Music
  • Ralph Eubanks – Excellence in Literature & Cultural Ambassador
  • Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation – The Stephen C. Edds Patron of the Arts Award


  • Alcorn State University Jazz Festival – Arts in Community
  • Myrna Colley-Lee – Excellence in Costume Design & Arts Patron
  • Larry Gordon – Lifetime Achievement in Motion Pictures & Television
  • Holly Lange – Governor’s Choice Award
  • Mary Lovelace O’Neal – Excellence in Visual Art
  • The Williams Brothers – Lifetime Achievement in Music


  • Arthur Jafa – Excellence in Media Arts
  • Nellie McInnis – Excellence in Music
  • Raphael Semmes – Cultural Ambassador
  • Tutwiler Quilters – Arts in Community
  • Jesmyn Ward – Excellence in Literature
  • Benjamin Wright – Lifetime Achievement


  • Henry Danton – Lifetime Achievement in Dance
  • Steve Forbert – Excellence in Music
  • Jackson Southernaires – Lifetime Achievement in Music
  • Richard Kelso – Excellence in Visual Art
  • Tougaloo College Art Collections – Preservation of the Arts


  • London Branch – Excellence in Music and Education
  • The Canton Spirituals – Lifetime Achievement
  • Ruth Miller – Excellence in Visual Arts
  • New Stage Theatre – Excellence in Theatre
  • Hartley and Mary Peavey – Governor’s Choice Award
  • James Patterson – Excellence in Photography and Community Support
  • Julia Reed – Cultural Ambassador


  • 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


  • 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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


  • 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)


  • 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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


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


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


  • 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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


No award ceremony took place this year.


  • 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