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Brief History of the Governor's Awards in the Arts


The Governor's Awards in the Arts was initiated in 1970 by the Idaho Commission on the Arts to stimulate awareness of the arts in the state. Idaho was among the first in the nation to establish such a program. Today, however, nearly all of the states bestow similar awards.

Given every two years the awards recognize and encourage excellence in the arts in Idaho and encourage and support the arts throughout the state. (click here for nomination form)

Award categories include Excellence in the Arts, Excellence in Folk & Traditional Arts, Support of the Arts, Support of Arts Education, and Excellence in Arts Administration. Nominees should be Idaho residents, businesses based in Idaho, organizations or communities that have, through creative accomplishments or distinguished service, made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Idaho and to the arts.

Awards are given in even years; information and nomination forms are available from the Commission in the early spring of the award year. The Commissioners review the nominations and make their recommendations to the Governor, who, at his or her discretion, then determines the recipients.

In 2004 the medallion was redesigned by Elizabeth Wolf of Boise and they were cast by The Sunshine Minting, Inc. and presented for the first time to recipients in October of that year. The back is engraved with the name of the recipient, the category, the date, and the name of the governor.

In 1970, Nelson Curtis, a retired University of Idaho art professor and former Commission chair, designed the original silver medallion that was presented to recipients in the various categories for over 30 years. Coeur, the Precious Metal Company has generously donated the silver for the past several years.

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Phone: 208/334-2119 or 800/278-3863 Fax: 208/334-2488
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