Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards
Dr. Quinton Morris, an educator and performer, received the Governor's Young Arts Leader Award in 2016. Photo by Eva Blanchard Photography.

Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) – Cancelled

The 2020 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) program has been canceled. Cancellation is a direct result of the COVID-19 virus, low nominations at deadline, and the uncertainties in general that the pandemic has brought. GAHA will return in 2021.

The Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) recognize individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to Washington’s creative vitality.

To be eligible for a GAHA, individuals or organizations must be:

  • Current Washington residents; or
  • Based in Washington during the time the contributions were made

As of 2018, 263 Washington State artists and organizations have been honored with a GAHA award.

Support GAHA

Become an Event Sponsor or Place an Ad in Our Program
GAHA sponsor packet cover

Sponsorships make this prestigious event possible. More than 250 Washingtonians attend the annual GAHA event. They represent elected officials, artists, arts organizations, culture bearers, students and patrons of the arts and heritage. Each year, the event is hosted in a different community. This gives people from across the state access to ArtsWA’s program, and allows those communities to highlight and share their artistic and cultural resources with their fellow Washingtonians. Sponsors also provide complimentary seating for student-artists, awardee family members, or others who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.

Become a Sponsor – Download Our Sponsor Packet

Award Categories

Governor’s Arts Awards

About the Governor's Arts Awards

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

Award categories:

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

Governor’s Heritage Awards

About the Governor's Heritage Awards

The Governor’s Heritage Awards were established in 1989. They recognize and honor individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to preserving traditions and cultural heritage in Washington State.

Award categories:


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 | | 360-586-0424

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