OKLAHOMA CITY (November 27, 2023) – The Oklahoma Arts Council has announced the names of 14 individuals and four organizations that will be honored for their contributions to the arts during the 45th Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Awards on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
The awards will be presented by Governor J. Kevin Stitt during a special ceremony beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the fourth-floor rotunda at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The ceremony will include a special tribute to former longtime Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Betty Price who passed away in October. A reception will follow in the second-floor rotunda. The event is free and open to the public.
“Throughout history, the power of artistic freedom and expression is evident in every culture of every era,” Governor Stitt said. “In Oklahoma, we value the people who work hard to keep the arts community thriving, and these awards are just one way to show that appreciation.”
Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said, “From passionate volunteers and teachers to visionary nonprofit administrators and state leaders, generous philanthropists, community-centric businesses, and others, this year’s Governor’s Arts Awards honorees reflect a deep level of commitment to the arts seen across our state. Our slate of honorees exemplifies the potential for the arts to impact a broader spectrum of areas and sectors than ever before, increasingly serving the needs of Oklahomans and propelling our state to greater heights in education, economic and workforce development, and quality of life.”
Recipients are selected from submitted nominations by the Governor’s Arts Awards Selection Committee, comprised of members of the Governor-appointed Oklahoma Arts Council board.
The Governor's Award recognizes longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts. The honorees are:
Holbrook Lawson, Tulsa
Ann Barker Ong, Muskogee
The Business in the Arts Award recognizes individuals, businesses and corporations that exhibit outstanding support of the arts in Oklahoma. The honorees are:
American Fidelity, Oklahoma City
LEAP Coffee Roasters, Oklahoma City
The Arts in Education Award recognizes an individual, organization, school, educator, or group for their outstanding leadership and service in the arts benefiting youth and/or arts in education. Honorees are:
Marcelle Sharron Ahtone Harjo, Oklahoma City
Trey Hays, Tishomingo
Penny McGill, Muskogee
Jana Telford, Chandler
DWe Williams, Oklahoma City
The Community Service Award recognizes significant contributions to the arts in specific Oklahoma communities in the areas of leadership and volunteerism. Honorees are:
Suzanne Boles, Grove
Susan E. Brackett, Oklahoma City
Selby Minner, Rentiesville
Darcy Reeves, Marlow
The Media in the Arts Award recognizes members of the media who demonstrate commitment to the arts in Oklahoma documented through public awareness support and fairness, initiative, creativity, and professionalism in reporting. The honoree is:
Ryan LaCroix, Blanchard
The George Nigh Public Service in the Arts Award recognizes Oklahoma government officials for their outstanding support of the arts. Honorees are:
Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Matthews, Tulsa
Oklahoma State Representative Mark McBride, Moore
A Special Recognition Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made unique contributions in support of the arts. The honorees are:
Mid-America Arts Alliance, Statewide
Oklahoma Museums Association, Statewide
For more information, contact Joel Gavin, Oklahoma Arts Council director of marketing and communications, at (405) 521-2037 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Oklahoma Arts Council
The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides hundreds of grants to organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state's arts and cultural industry, and manages the art collections at the Oklahoma state Capitol. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov.