The Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio is a statewide program that showcases and celebrates Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and business support of the arts. The public is invited to nominate individuals and organizations in seven awards categories. A selection committee, made up of Ohio Arts Council board members and three individuals selected by Ohio Citizens for the Arts, chooses the winners. The program is presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. Award winners are presented with an original work of art by an Ohio artist at a luncheon ceremony. 

Award Categories

ARTS ADMINISTRATION | Individual who has shown sustained, impactful, and visionary leadership of an arts organization. 

ARTS EDUCATION | Individual or organization that has made significant contributions through leadership and creativity to advance arts education in Ohio's schools and community organizations. 

ARTS PATRON | Individual, or individual or family foundation, that, over time, has sustained and enhanced the arts in their community or the state of Ohio through contributions of their time, effort, or financial resources. 

BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS (Large and Small) | Private or nonprofit business, government, or media that has, over time, provided extraordinary support to the arts locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally through a contribution of personnel, financial, or other resources. Nominations will be considered in both a small and large category.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND PARTICIPATION | Individual or organization that works to create or strengthen interactive arts participation among diverse community members while increasing public awareness about the role of the arts in community life. 

INDIVIDUAL ARTIST | Ohio artist whose work has made a significant impact on his or her discipline locally, statewide, regionally, or nationally.

IRMA LAZARUS AWARDThe Irma Lazarus Award goes to individuals or organizations who have helped shape public support for the arts through their work as advocates and have brought national and international recognition to Ohio through sustained dedication to artistic excellence. 

2016 governor's awards photos

2016 Governor's Awards for the Arts

The 2016 Arts Day & Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio Luncheon took place on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at the Columbus Athenaeum in downtown Columbus. View and download event photos through Dropbox. Photo credit: Terry Gilliam. Watch the 2016 Governor's Awards program broadcast and individual winner tribute videos. Brought to you by the Ohio Channel.


GARY HANSON | Arts Administration 
JOE DEER | Arts Education
FIRST-KNOX NATIONAL BANK | Business Support (Small)
PREMIER HEALTH | Business Support (Large)
HARMONY PROJECT | Community Development & Participation
JANICE LESSMAN-MOSS | Individual Artist
JOHN SCALZI | Individual Artist
JAMES CONLON | Irma Lazarus

Award Artist: PAULA KRAUS
Image: Dogwood 3, Platinum/Palladium Print 


HANNAH BROKENSHIRE | Communications Strategist



The online nomination process was open September 12 - October 24, 2016. Winners will be announced in January 2017.


Since its beginning in 1971, the Governor's Awards has recognized individuals and organizations who have been vital to the growth and development of Ohio's cultural resources. The Arts Day & Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio Luncheon evolved from the Ohio Arts Council's Governor's Awards for the Arts ceremony and Ohio Arts Day, coordinated by Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, a nonprofit arts advocacy organization.

The Ohio Arts Council is proud to partner with Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation to present Arts Day & the Governor's Awards for the Arts each year in May.

OCA Foundation logo

Rhodes State Office Tower | 30 E. Broad Street, 33rd Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414
Phone: 614-466-2613
Fax: 614-466-4494