Finalists for the 2018 Governor's Arts Awards were announced on Tuesday, February 6, during an event at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.
The awards are presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy organization, in partnership with the Office of the Governor. Winners in most categories will be announced on Thursday, March 22, during the Governor's Arts Awards at the Arizona Biltmore.
However, two individuals have already been singled out for their accomplishments.
Alberto Ríos, the inaugural Arizona Poet Laureate, will receive the 2018 Shelley Award, named for arts advocate Shelley Cohn. The award recognizes strategic and innovative work that helps create or support public policy benefiting the arts. Previous recipients include Jim Ballinger and David Saar.
Judith Hardes will receive the 2018 Philanthropy Award. She's a longtime supporter of several arts organizations, including Phoenix Theatre, where a theater bears her name. Mary Way received the first-ever Philanthropy Award in 2017.
Another 20 people and organizations are up for 2018 Governor's Arts Awards.
More than a dozen finalists, including choreographer Liliana Gomez and musician Dennis Rowland, are based in metro Phoenix. Both are finalists in the Artist category, along with Prescott-based sculptor Doug Hyde.
Previous Artist Award winners include Ib Andersen, Will Bruder, Annie Lopez, Beth Ames Swartz, and James Turrell.
Individual Arts in Education finalists are Karen Rolston of Mesa, Julian Ackerley of Tucson, and Dennis Ott of Sedona. Arts in Education organization finalists are Young Arts Arizona of Phoenix, Foothills Fine Arts Academy of Glendale, and Hilltop Gallery & Arts Education Center of Nogales.
Small business finalists are Phoenix-based Manley Films and Media, Tempe-based Changing Hands Bookstore, and Wickenburg-based Benner-Nawman. Large business finalists are Phoenix-based Alliance Bank of Arizona and Tucson-based Vestar.
Community finalists are Phoenix-based PSA Art Awakenings, Phoenix Center for the Arts, and the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg.
Individual finalists include Vincent VanVleet and Sam of Phoenix, as well as Hope Ozer of Paradise Valley. Sam, who goes by just her first name, is founding artistic director for Detour Company Theatre. VanVleet is managing director for Phoenix Theatre, and Hope Ozer was founding board chair for Valley Youth Theatre.
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More than 70 individuals and organizations were nominated for the 2018 Governor's Arts Awards, following a call for nominations issued in October 2017. Nominations were reviewed by volunteer selection panels comprising arts, community, and business leaders across Arizona.
Recipients will be chosen using several criteria — including the nominee's achievements, contributions, and commitment to the arts, as well as the range of individuals and groups impacted by the nominee's work.
Winners will receive original works created by Arizona artists.
The 37th Annual Governor's Arts Awards Dinner and Celebration takes place Thursday, March 22, 2018, at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. Individual tickets, which are available through Arizona Citizens for the Arts, are $250.