Chieko Phillips (left) and Barbara Earl Thomas (right) at the 2016 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards. Thomas was an Individual Artist Award honoree. Photo courtesy of Eva Blanchard Photography.
Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards
Chieko Phillips (left) and Barbara Earl Thomas (right) at the 2016 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards. Thomas was an Individual Artist Award honoree. Photo courtesy of Eva Blanchard Photography.

2022 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) – November, 2022

Nominations now open!

The 2022 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) program will be presented in November, 2022. Nominations will be accepted until June 20, 2022.

Why nominate?

Awards are a powerful way to recognize the organizations and individuals who make a difference in your community. Nominations are your way to thank and celebrate your local arts and heritage heroes.

Governor’s Arts Awards – Categories

  • Organization Award
  • Arts Education Award
  • Young Arts Leader Award
  • Arts Legacy Award
  • Arts Advocacy Award
  • Philanthropy Award
  • Community Award

Governor’s Heritage Awards – Categories

  • Individual
  • Organization

Read more about the award categories in the nomination guidelines.

The Selection Process

A selection panel evaluates nominations. Panel recommendations are forwarded to ArtsWA’s board of commissioners. The Commission deliberates and forwards recommendations to the Governor, who has final approval authority. Once approved, all nominators and nominees are notified and award recipients are announced to the public.

For more information or questions contact:
Miguel Guillén | miguel.guillen@arts.wa.gov | 360-252-9970

Support GAHA

Become an Event Sponsor

Sponsorships make this celebrated event possible. Sponsors also provide complimentary seating for student-artists, awardee family members, or others who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.

GAHA is seen by:

  • 200+ in person event attendees
  • 1,000+ online viewers

The promotional campaign for GAHA is seen by ArtsWA’s 12,000 followers on social media.

To learn more about sponsorship, view the sponsorship packet here, or contact Communications Manager Michael Wallenfels at michael.wallenfels@arts.wa.gov.

Livestream Presentation: the 2021 Luminary Awards

The 2021 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Luminary Awards streamed live on Thursday, January 13 at 7:00 p.m. PST on YouTube. We invite everyone to enjoy this free presentation.

2021 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) – Honorees

ArtsWA is thrilled to announce the 2021 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Luminary Award honorees.

Spotlight honoree | The Governor’s Spotlight award is given to an individual chosen by the Governor for their extraordinary use of the arts and humanities to benefit their community during the pandemic. Join us in celebrating:

Governor’s Spotlight | Delbert Richardson

Regional honorees | These exceptional individuals and organizations used the arts and humanities to shine a light for their communities during the darkness of the pandemic. Join us in celebrating:

Southwest Region | Organization – Asia Pacific Cultural Center

Southwest Region | Individual – Douglas Orr

Central Region | Organization – Gallery One

Eastern Region | Organization – Spokane Valley Summer Theatre

Eastern Region | Individual – Jeremy Whittington

Northwest Region | Organization – Path with Art

Northwest Region | Individual – Akuyea Karen Vargas

Thank you to everyone who sent in a nomination. Your stories revealed the amazing arts-based work being done to lift people up across the state. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for more news about these honorees and the announcement of the Governor’s Spotlight Award.

Past Awardees

Congratulations to our 2019 GAHA winners!


Davin Diaz 
Arts Award – Community (Benton County)
Juan Alonso-Rodríguez – Arts Award – Individual Artist (King County) 
Michael Spafford  Arts Award – Legacy (King County) 
The 5th Avenue Theatre Arts Award – Organization (King County)
Anne Banks Arts Award – Education (Thurston County)
Matt Cadman– Arts Award – Advocacy (Chelan County)

Juan Manuel Barco – Heritage Award – Individual Artist/Practitioner (Snohomish County)
Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association – Heritage Award – Organization (King County)

View our playlist of 2019 GAHA awardees

2019 Award Categories

Governor’s Arts Awards

Governor’s Heritage Awards

Special Thanks to Our 2021 Event Sponsors

About the Awards

The Governor’s Arts Awards, established in 1966, recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the arts and cultural development of Washington State.

The Governor’s Heritage Awards, established in 1989, honor outstanding individuals and organizations whose dedication to preserving and promoting traditions and cultural heritage are worthy of state recognition.

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