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2019 Governor's Arts Awards to recognize Oklahomans' valuable application of creative skill

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Governor's Arts Awards

The 43rd Governor's Arts Awards will be held April 16.

Eighteen recipients will be honored for their contributions to the arts at the 43rd Governor’s Arts Awards on April 16 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The Governor’s Arts Awards honor those from Oklahoma who have shown exemplary commitment to helping lives in communities and schools through the arts, according to a press release.

Those selected for the awards are chosen by the Governor’s Arts Awards selection committee, a group of members appointed by the governor to the Oklahoma Arts Council Board. The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for developing the arts, providing around 400 grants to nearly 225 organizations statewide each year.

“I am pleased to congratulate the 2019 Governor’s Arts Award honorees who come from all across our great state,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a press release. “I look forward to celebrating our honorees’ contributions to the arts in Oklahoma and recognizing their role in fostering a robust and impactful arts industry in our state.”

Many recipients honored Oklahoma through the arts in their work outside of the state, whether by being an internationally acclaimed opera star or serving as a manager for a Grammy-winning band. However, other recipients have supported the arts at home by establishing music schools, planning Latino festivals and directing community theatre, among other ways.

Two awards will be presented to recipients from Norman: Jo Rowan, dance chair at Oklahoma City University, and Wilmari and Robert Ruiz, the forces behind Oklahoma’s growing Latino community.

“These honorees are important to the overall fabric of the state’s arts and cultural industry,” said Joel Gavin, director of marketing and communications for the Oklahoma Arts Council. “Every year, their stories are always different – the things that lead them to where they are – but the common thread between them is they are all passionate about making a difference in the arts.”

The selection committee nominated the following recipients:

The Governor’s Award for longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts –

Barbara McAlister from Muskogee

Jo Rowan from Norman

The Business in the Arts Award for individuals, businesses and corporations that exhibit outstanding support for the arts in Oklahoma –

Wonder City Coffee in Locust Grove

The Arts in Education Award for outstanding leadership and service in the arts benefiting youth and/or arts in education from an individual, organization, school, educator or group –

Jay Ferguson from Edmond

Scott Booker from Oklahoma City

Chris Ramsay from Stillwater

Pamela Catt from Fairland

Roselle Tyner from Tulsa

The Community Service Award for significant contributions to the arts in specific Oklahoma communities through leadership and volunteerism –

Daniel Worcester from Lone Grove

Deborah McAuliffe Senner from Edmond

James Loftis from Oklahoma City

Juanita Pahdopony from Lawton

Mary Ann Hawkins from Woodward

Bob Sober from Tulsa

Wilmari and Robert Ruiz from Norman

The George Nigh Public Service in the Arts Awards for outstanding support of the arts from Oklahoma government officials –

Ann and Burns Hargis from Stillwater

The 43rd Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony, presented by Stitt, will be at 4 p.m. on April 16 in the fourth floor rotunda at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The reception following will be in the first floor rotunda outside the Betty Price Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Alma Cienski is a modern dance performance and public relations junior and a culture reporter for The Daily.

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