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

The 2019 Event

A “by invitation” reception for nominees, nominators, major event sponsors and other major supporters of Arizona Citizens for the Arts will take place at The Park Central on February 8, 2019, to honor all nominees, announce three finalists in eight categories and announce the Philanthropy Honoree.

Governor's Arts Awards Gala

March 7, 2019
Renaissance Downtown Phoenix
100 N 1st | Phoenix, AZ
5:00 – 6:15  Pre-Awards Cocktail Reception
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.  Dinner and Awards Presentation
8:00 – 8:30 p.m.  Silent Auction Checkout


Nominations for the 2019 Governor's Arts Awards will close

November 30, 2018

Select a category below to submit your nomination


Arts in Education
Arts in Education
Small Business
1-99 employees
Large Business
100+ employees

2018 Governors Arts Awards

See sponsors, nominees, honorees and artwork from 2018

37 Years of Honorees

See ALL of those who have been honored in the rich

37-year history of the Governor's Arts Awards.