Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards

  • 2016 GAHA Recipients. Photo by Eva Blanchard Photography
    2016 GAHA Recipients. Photo by Eva Blanchard Photography
  • Art glass made by students of Hilltop Artists in Residence
    Art glass made by students of Hilltop Artists in Residence
  • First Lady Trudi Inslee with honorees and supporters (2015)
    First Lady Trudi Inslee with honorees and supporters (2015)
  • Karen Hanan, Governor Jay Inslee, Seattle Opera's board chair Maryanne Tagney (2014)
    Karen Hanan, Governor Jay Inslee, Seattle Opera's board chair Maryanne Tagney (2014)

The 2016 Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards are presented by the Washington State Arts Commission, with support from The Boeing Company, Vulcan Inc, and Teatro ZinZanni.

Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Arts Commission congratulate the recipients of the 2016 Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards. The awards are given to outstanding individuals and organizations that have contributed significantly to the arts and cultural traditions of Washington State.

(2017 Nomination forms coming soon!)

Meet the 2016 Honorees

Arts Award - Individual
Barbara Earl Thomas
 is a Seattle-based artist who has exhibited professionally since the early 1980s. She is a graduate of the School of Art, University of Washington, Master of Arts, 1977. Thomas is noted for a social commitment to her community that is broad and inclusive. She values good citizenship and social responsibility. In 2012 she stepped down from the directorship of the Northwest African American Museum where she was instrumental in creating the agency and the broad-based support that now sustains it.

Arts Award - Organization
Vashon Center for the Arts
- For 50 years Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA) (formerly Vashon Allied Arts) has been a home for the arts on Vashon Island. From humble grassroots beginnings, VCA has grown into a thriving organization. In 2015 VCA showcased the works of 290 visual artists, held 97 performances and events with 10,581 attendees, and paid $360,000 to local teaching/visual artists and performers. Additionally, VCA offered 144 arts and dance classes with an enrollment of over 1,400 students, with over $75,000 in scholarships awarded to ensure that the arts are accessible to everyone regardless of their financial situation.

Heritage Award - Individual
Oscar Galvan
 was born in Eagle Pass, Texas and now resides in Sunnyside, Washington. During the 1950s and 1960s, he and his family migrated from Texas to Idaho and Washington State, eventually settling in Toppenish, Washington. At the age of 13, Oscar started playing Conjunto and Orquestra Tejano music with local groups in the Yakima area. He plays several musical instruments including bass, drums, keys, trombone, trumpet and his main instrument which is the Saxophone (Tenor and Alto).

Heritage Award - Organization
Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC)
 - Founded in 1996 in Tacoma, APCC's mission is to bridge communities and generations through art, culture, education, and business. APCC's programs promote the folk art and cultural traditions of Asia and the Pacific Islands and represent 47 countries of the Pacific Rim. A hub of local and regional activity, APCC served more than 98,000 people through its cultural programs and activities in 2015.

Young Arts Leader Award
Dr. Quinton Morris
of Seattle enjoys a multifaceted career as a concert violinist, chamber musician, educator and entrepreneur. Among his many accomplishments, Quinton has taught violin and chamber music master classes throughout the state of Washington and performs solo concerts/recitals and chamber music and presents lectures all over the world: the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. 


The 2016 Awards Dinner

The 2016 Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards Dinner was held at Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle on November 3, 2016. The guest performers included State Poet Laureate Dr. Tod Marshall, Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Angel Gardner, Seattle Youth Poet Ambassadors Joseph Hairston and Emrys Foster. Also featured was Dr. Quinton Morris (2016 Young Arts Leader Honoree), accompanied by Dr. Erin Chung on piano and DJ Topspin (aka Blendiana Jones). Other entermainment was provided by Teatro ZinZanni. Our guest speaker was Lt. Governor Brad Owen.

See the program for more details.


Honoring excellence, creativity, and achievement

The Awards were established in 1966 to recognize individuals and artists for their significant contributions to the creative vitality of Washington State. Since inception of the program, 150 individuals and organizations have received Arts Awards, and 51 individuals and organizations have been honored with a Heritage Award. To be eligible for either Arts or Heritage Awards, individuals or organizations must be current Washington residents or have resided in the state during the time the contributions were made, and not be a previous recipient of a Governor's Arts Award or Heritage Award.


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