Governor Kate Brown announces 2020 Governor’s Arts Awards


In celebration of the uplifting power of art, Governor Kate Brown called for nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Arts Awards.

SALEM – A partnership between the Office of the Governor and the Arts Commission, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts in Oregon. Established in 1977, the awards are held periodically as funding allows.

A call for 2020 nominations is now posted on the Arts Commission website with a brand new category. The virtual arts engagement award is a special category in recognition of community response during COVID-19 health crisis, which has inspired many Oregon artists to produce art to be viewed, consumed, and shared online.

“Art is a fundamental ingredient of any thriving and vibrant community,” Governor Brown said. “Art sparks connections between people, movements, and new ideas. To put it simply, art makes life better. I am thrilled to celebrate Oregon’s best artists and art supporters through the Governor’s Arts Awards.”

The 2020 Governor’s Arts Awards are funded in part by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation with generous event support from the Chehalem Cultural Center.

The Governor’s Arts Awards are open to any individual, organization or community that currently resides in or has a significant presence in Oregon and has made outstanding contributions to the arts in the state. The 148 past recipients of a Governor’s Arts Award are not eligible (see past recipients).

“The Governor’s Arts Award is the most prestigious honor an Oregon artist can receive,” said Arts Commission Chair Anne Taylor. “We are extremely grateful to Governor Brown for her commitment to formally recognizing the contribution of Oregon artists and arts supporters to our collective quality of life.”

Nominations will be reviewed by a committee composed of a representative from the Governor’s Office, an Arts Commissioner and three to five arts leaders from across the state. They will recommend three to five awards based on the nominee’s regional, national or international recognition for his/her/their contributions; role in improving the quality of arts experiences and appreciation for the arts in Oregon; contributions to advancing the arts’ positive impact on Oregonians’ quality of life; and length of service to the arts in Oregon. Governor Brown will have final approval of award recipients.

Nomination Categories

The following types of individuals and organizations will be considered.

  • Individuals
  • Artists
  • Performers
  • Arts organizations
  • Communities
  • Corporations/businesses
  • Philanthropists
  • Arts Advocates
  • Arts Educators/scholars
  • Arts Administrators
  • Arts Volunteers/leaders in the arts
  • Virtual arts engagement

Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26. Recipients will be notified by July 13 and must be available to participate in the Sept. 12 award ceremony (in person or virtually). The ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The last Governor’s Arts Awards were held in 2017 as part of the celebration of the Arts Commission’s 50th Anniversary.

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The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of the Oregon Business Development Department in 1993 in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities.

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature, federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust.

The Chehalem Cultural Center celebrates the arts, community, education, and heritage. The Center is housed in a historic brick building that began its life in 1935 as Central School—a Depression era Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The building is currently owned by the Chehalem Park and Recreation District. Chehalem Cultural Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

About Author

Carrie Kikel is the Communications Manager for Oregon’s Arts Department, which includes the Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. The Oregon Arts Commission provides statewide grant funding to artists, arts organizations and arts programs. The Cultural Trust raises public and private awareness and investment in arts, heritage, history, humanities and preservation.

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