Governor's Arts Awards

Since 1979, the Nebraska Arts Council, in partnership with the Governor of Nebraska, has recognized Nebraska arts organizations, arts professionals, people and businesses that support the arts in Nebraska. The gala is held biennially and hosted with Nebraskans for The Arts and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

The Governor's Arts Awards are determined by a nomination and selection process. The award categories include:

  • Emerging Leader

    An individual artist, arts administrator or patron who has made a significant impact on the arts in Nebraska in a short period of time.

  • Excellence in Arts Education

    An individual who has made a long term outstanding contribution to arts education in Nebraska.

  • Heritage Arts

    An individual who, or organization that, exemplifies authenticity and excellence within a cultural tradition.

  • Leonard Thiessen

    The Leonard Thiessen Award is named for the founder of the Nebraska Arts Council and is awarded to an individual who, or organization that, typifies the highest degree of commitment to the arts in Nebraska. This is a special recognition presented by the Nebraska Arts Council.

  • Organizational Achievement

    An arts organization that demonstrates achievements at a consistently high level of excellence in programming and outreach.

  • Outstanding Artist

    An individual artist practicing in any discipline whose work or career has made a significant contribution to their art form and to the state of Nebraska.

  • Thomas C. Woods III Partner in the Arts

    An individual, business, school district or community organization that has shown outstanding commitment by its continued support of the arts through time, energy, expertise and/or financial support.



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