The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts

source: New Mexico Tourism & Mark Nohl.

Established in 1974 by Governor Bruce King and First Lady Alice King, the Governor’s Arts Awards celebrate the role that artists, craftspeople, and arts supporters play in the cultural and economic life of New Mexico. The awards are given to living artists and arts supporters who have demonstrated lifetime achievement in their art form or contributions to the arts in New Mexico. During its over forty-year existence, a diverse and prestigious list of painters, weavers, sculptors, dancers, musicians, storyteller, poets, actors, playwrights, potters, and other outstanding individuals and organizations have been honored. Nominations for the awards are invited each year from arts groups and individuals. All nominations are reviewed by a committee of the New Mexico Arts Commission, which sends its recommendations to the full commission and to the governor. The Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts continue to evolve with the ever-changing arts world so that the impact and relevance of the awards persist. This award is produced by New Mexico Arts, the state’s arts agency.


August through March – Nominations sought
June – Public announcement of awardees
November – Award events

For More Information

Click here for information on the nomination process, the public exhibit of recipients at the Governor’s Gallery, or a list of previous winners.

Music Recipients

Here is a list of musicians, music organizations, and music supporters who have received the Governor’s Arts Award:

2021: Dave Grusin

2019: Marc Neikrug

2018: Bruce Dunlap

2017: Bayou Seco

2015: William Clark

2014: Robert Mirabal

2011: Las Cruces International Mariachi Conference

2007: New Mexico Symphony Orchestra

2004: Ralph Berkowitz

2002: Dr. Dale E. Kempter

1999: Roberto Martinez

1997: Marianna Gabbi

1994: Cipriano Vigil

1993: K. Lloyd Higgins; Al Hurricane; Julia Jaramillo

1992: Antonia Apodaca

1991: John Farrer; Ricardo Lucero Valenzeula

1988: Hector Garcia

1986: Cleofes Ortiz

1985: Cleofes Vigil

1982: William Kirschke; David Salazar

1979: Yoshimi Takeda

1977: Dr. Kurt Frederick

1976: John O. Crosby; Dr. J.D. Robb

1974: Grace Thompson Edmister

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