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The Governor’s Arts Awards were established in 1971 to recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the arts or cultural life of Tennessee. These biennial awards are Tennessee’s highest honor in the arts, celebrating the outstanding contributions of artists, arts organizations, volunteers, schools, educators, local governments, legislators and corporate citizens on the state or national level.

The application deadline for 2017 nominations was July 22, 2016.


Award Categories

Folklife Heritage Award

Presented to folk artists or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to Tennessee’s traditional arts. The award honors significant achievements within art forms that are rooted in the traditional or ethnic cultures of Tennessee.

Arts Leadership Award

Presented to individuals or organizations who have demonstrated significant contributions which have impacted or advanced the value of the arts in Tennessee. Examples of recipients include: arts organizations, businesses, educators, patrons, arts administrators, corporations and volunteers.

Distinguished Artist Award

Presented to Tennessee artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline whose work has significant and lasting impact on a state or national level.

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