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

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, 255 Washington State artists and organizations have been honored with a GAHA award.

View our playlist of 2019 GAHA awardees

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.

Awards may be presented in the following categories:

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

Arts Awards Criteria & Definitions

A selection panel judges all nominations for these awards using two common criteria. Each individual category may have additional, specific criteria.

Common Criteria

  • Contributions to arts and cultural development of Washington State, or to a specific community within the state.
  • Impact on a Washington State community/region over time, as demonstrated by level of community engagement and/or community recognition.

Categories, Definitions and Specific Criteria

  • Individual Award: defined as an outstanding generative individual artist and/or arts leader.
    Additionally evaluated on the quality of the artworks produced and/or impact of significant projects or initiatives that advance the arts.
  • Organization Award: defined as arts presenters or supporters.
    Additionally evaluated on the quality and impact of significant projects or initiatives that advance the arts.
  • Arts Education: defined as an individual or an organization that demonstrates leadership, dedication, and accomplishment in arts education for youth in grades K-12. This includes work during the regular school day as part of basic education, as well as work in community settings.
    Additionally evaluated on the impact on the students, schools, and communities they serve.
  • Young Arts Leader Award: defined as an individual artist, arts administrator, or advocate between the ages of 18 and 40 as of the deadline date (June 3, 2019).
    Additionally evaluated on the quality and impact of significant projects or initiatives that advance the arts.
  • Arts Legacy Award: defined as individuals who have made a substantial and lasting contribution as artists, arts leaders and/or arts supporters to advancing the arts in Washington State. Nominations for posthumous awards accepted.
    Additionally evaluated on specific accomplishments and/or years of service and/or impact of career.
  • Arts Advocacy Award: defined as individuals, organizations, institutions whose arts advocacy efforts have raised awareness of and advanced the public value of the arts.
    Additionally evaluated on specific accomplishments.
  • Philanthropy Award: defined as individuals with a demonstrable history of philanthropy, investment, generosity, and altruism in the arts.
    Additionally evaluated on reach to diverse and underserved populations, culturally diverse organizations and institutions, and diverse geographic locations including under-resourced regions.
  • Community Award: awarded to an individual or an organization for exemplary arts based community development, service, and placemaking.
    Additionally evaluated on specific accomplishments, reach to diverse and underserved populations, culturally diverse organizations and institutions, diverse geographic locations including under resourced regions

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.

Awards may be presented in the following categories:
Individual
Organization

Heritage Awards Criteria & Definitions

A selection panel evaluates all nominations for the Governor’s Heritage Awards using the criteria below.

  • Contributions to the heritage of Washington State, or to a specific community within the state.
  • Active participation in the artist’s community as a master traditional artist, community scholar, or traditional community historian.
  • Nominee’s work is representative of significant folk art or cultural traditions, and/or tradition bearers within the nominee’s community and recognized as such by the community.
  • Significant record of accomplishments.

Categories and Definitions

  • Individual: Outstanding Individual Artist/Practitioner.
  • Organization: An organization that provides outstanding support for heritage and culture.

There are many deserving artists, tradition bearers, cultural institutions, arts & heritage advocates, community leaders, organizations, and educators doing exemplary work in their local communities around the state. We’d like to recognize the best of them. Your nominations make that happen.

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 | 360-586-0424

Support the GAHA program

There are many ways to support the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards:

Nominate an individual or organization for an award.

Nominations are currently closed. Check back here in May 2020 or sign up for our email news (see bottom of home page) for updates about next year’s GAHA nomination period.

Place an ad in the GAHA Program Brochure
Placing an ad in the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Award program brochure is a great way to celebrate the honorees. Show your support of arts and heritage in Washington State! Advertising space and prices are as follows:

  • $100 for full page color ad (5.5″ X 8.5″)
  • $50 for a half page color ad (5.5″ X 4.25″)
  • Deadline to purchase GAHA program ads is October 30, 2019
  • For more information contact:
    Glenda Carino | glenda. carino@arts.wa.gov | 360-586-8093

 

*See ArtsWA advertising policy

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