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44th Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards Honorees Announced


OKLAHOMA CITY (October 7, 2021) – The Oklahoma Arts Council has announced the names of 15 individuals and three organizations that will be honored for their contributions to the arts during the 44th Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Awards on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

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. A reception will follow in the second floor rotunda. The event is free and open to the public.

"It is an honor to recognize influential organizations and Oklahomans who continue to uphold our state’s esteemed art scene,” said Governor Stitt. “I am particularly proud to present the Governor’s Award to Barbara Smith, whose unwavering commitment to the arts will continue to have a lasting impact in Oklahoma.”

“The efforts of our Governor’s Arts Awards honorees are why the arts continue to inspire hope and resilience for Oklahomans during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said. “Their commitments reflect the investment necessary to ensure the arts endure to meet important needs in our state. We look forward to celebrating their steadfast devotion to their communities through their efforts in the arts.”
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 honoree is:
Barbara Smith (Miami)

The Business in the Arts Award recognizes individuals, businesses and corporations that exhibit outstanding support of the arts in Oklahoma. The honoree is:
Ambler Architects (Bartlesville)

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:

Ashley Wells (The Village)
Bring Back the Music (Spencer)
Hui Cha Poos (Edmond)
Randy Tinker Smith and Jenna Smith LaViolette (Pawhuska)

The Community Service Award recognizes significant contributions to the arts in specific Oklahoma communities in the areas of leadership and volunteerism. Honorees are:

Alberto Rivas (Lawton Fort Sill)
David Hornbeek (Edmond)
Dian Jordan (Broken Bow)
Donald Moore (Okemah)
Red Dirt Relief Fund (Tulsa)
Wallace Owens (Guthrie)

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:

Dennis Spielman (Norman)

The George Nigh Public Service in the Arts Award recognizes Oklahoma government officials for their outstanding support of the arts. Honorees are:

Dr. Bob Blackburn (Oklahoma City)
Lonnie Yearwood (Colony)

A Special Recognition Award recognizes an individual or organization that has made unique contributions in support of the arts. The honoree is:

Harvey Pratt (Guthrie)

The Marilyn Douglass Award is given to a member of the Oklahoma Arts Council board in appreciation of his or her selfless service to our state. The honoree is:

Ann Neal (Miami)

For more information, contact Joel Gavin, Oklahoma Arts Council director of marketing and communications, at (405) 521-2037 or


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, cultivate, and amplify the transformative power of the arts for all Oklahomans and their communities. The Oklahoma Arts Council provides more than 425 grants to nearly 270 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

Media Contact
Joel Gavin
Director of Marketing and Communications
(405) 521-2037

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