The Governor’s Arts Awards are a longstanding tradition recognizing Iowans who have made an outstanding contribution to the vitality of the arts in Iowa.

The first Governor’s Arts Awards were presented between 1971-74 by Governor Robert Ray, soon after the Iowa Arts Council was established. 

Over the decades, the awards have been presented to leading Iowa artists, arts organizations, educators, volunteers, and patrons of the arts. 

The 2023 Governor's Arts Awards were presented in a ceremony at the State Historical Building in Des Moines on March 1.  Read about this year’s honorees. 

2023 Award Categories

Arts Service Award
Highlight an arts service organization that has made a significant impact on the vitality of the arts in their community/region over the award period (July 1, 2020, to November 1, 2022).

Arts Learning Award
Highlight an individual or organization that has increased access to arts learning experiences or enhanced arts learning outcomes for K-12 students in a significant or unique way over the award period (July 1, 2020, to November 1, 2022).

Emerging Arts Leader Award
Showcase an emerging arts leader who has made meaningful contributions to advance the arts in Iowa within the first ten years of their professional arts career.

Arts Legacy Award
Recognizes an individual, nonprofit organization or community that has had a particularly significant impact on the arts in Iowa over time. Note: posthumous nominations are eligible.

Arts Champion Award
Highlight an individual, team or organization that has taken an active role in building a sustainable and thriving ecosystem for the arts in Iowa over the award period (July 1, 2020, to November 1, 2022).

Nominations are reviewed by a panel of Iowa arts and culture professionals, who recommend awards. The Iowa Arts Council will present the awards in spring 2023.

How to Nominate

The nomination form for the 2023 Governor's Arts Awards has now closed.

Past Award Recipients

Click to view previous recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards.