Governor's Arts Awards History
Nominations for the Governor’s Arts Awards are accepted for about six weeks in the fall of each year. Nominees are announced in early winter, followed by a special reception in honor of all nominees; at which three finalists in each category are announced, along with the Philanthropist Award honoree and the Shelley Award honoree. The Governor’s Arts Awards dinner is then held in late winter or early spring.
Since 1981, more than 200 distinguished Arizona artists, arts organizations, businesses, educators and individuals have been recognized for their passion, creativity and devotion to the excellence and diversity of Arizona’s arts and cultural community.
Beginning in 2006, The Shelley Award also has been presented annually to an Arizona individual who has advanced Arizona arts and culture through strategic and innovative work to create or support public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona. The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
The Governor’s Arts Awards event is much more than a tradition. The awards reflect more than three decades of the best in Arizona’s arts and culture community and the magnificent contributions they’ve made to our state’s arts and cultural heritage.
The Selection Process
Each year, three volunteer selection panels comprised of community, business and arts leaders from across the state review the nominations for the Governor's Arts Awards based on the following criteria:
The significance of the contributions and achievements of the nominee
The range of individuals or groups served by the contributions of the nominee
The length and degree to which the nominee is dedicated to the arts
The Selection Panels:
Finalist Panel | Determines three finalists in seven categories from all nominees
Honoree Panel | Determines the honoree in seven categories from the finalists
Philanthropy Panel | Determines the Philanthropy Honoree
Nominations for the 2020 Governor's Arts Awards will open