Montana Arts Council

An Agency of State Government

Governor’s Arts Awards


Every two years, Montana honors those individuals and institutions who've contributed a substantial legacy to the arts in Big Sky Country. Presented in the Governor's name, these awards represent the highest honor Montana bestows on those working in the visual, performing, and literary arts.

Selection Criteria
The Governor's Arts Award honors outstanding citizens and organizations in Montana whose achievements in the arts, or on behalf of the arts, benefit all Montanans.

Awardees demonstrate:

1. Achievement and artistic excellence
2. Dedication to Montana
3. Ongoing contributions to the cultural community
4. Worthiness of recognition

The process for selecting awardees goes through two phases: nomination and finalist review. Candidates must be living at the time of nomination, and previous awardees are not eligible. Montana Arts Council members and staff are not eligible to submit nominations. An individual may make more than one nomination, each with a separate nomination form. By completing a nomination form, the nominator signifies the intent to provide additional information if the candidate advances as a finalist and awardee. Nominations can be submitted online or postmarked through mail before the deadline date.

Nominations are now closed for the current cycle of Governor's Arts Awards.


Information required at the time of nomination includes:

  • Candidate contact information
  • Nominator contact information
  • Narrative responses addressing the candidate's qualifications


Nominees will be vetted to identify finalists, using the following criteria:

  • Not a previous recipient of a Governor's Arts Award
  • Dedication to Montana
  • Contribution to cultural landscape
Notification of the nomination status will be sent by April 2022. Nominations must submit additional information through an online portal by the deadline date to remain in consideration. In the event of a finalist receiving multiple nominations, nominators must collaborate on a single finalist submission.


Finalists information will include:

  • Narrative responses on the finalist's achievements and impact
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Biography, resume, or history
  • Links to support samples such as images, videos, or press articles

Finalists will be reviewed using the following criteria:

  • Achievement and artistic excellence
  • Dedication to Montana
  • Ongoing contributions to the cultural community
  • Worthiness of recognition



Philip Aaberg, 1995

Stephen Ambrose, 1999

Eugene Andrie, 1981

Archie Bray Foundation, 1981

Lela Autio, 2015

Rudy Autio, 1981


Francis Bardanouve, 1995

Joanna Barker, 2001

Uri Barnea, 2003

Rick Bass, 2018

Patty Bergquist, 2020

Bigfork Summer Playhouse, 1997

Judith Blegen, 1983

Dana Boussard, 1987

John Buck and Deborah Butterfield, 2010

James Lee Burke, 2001


Ray Campeau, 1987

Donald Carey, 2001

Russell Chatham, 1997

Corwin Clairmont, 2008

Terry Conrad, 2008

Custer County Art and Heritage Center, 2003


Gennie DeWeese, 1995

Robert DeWeese, 1995

Ivan Doig, 1991

Monte Dolack, 2018


Debra Magpie Earling, 2015

Becky Eiker, 2005

Judy Ericksen, 2003


LaDonna Fehlberg, 1983

Robert Fehlberg, 1983

Arlynn Fishbaugh, 2020

Edith Freeman, 1993

Donna Forbes, 2010

Fort Peck Summer Theater and Fort Peck Fine Arts Council, 1999

Eric Funk, 2001


Jack Gladstone, 2016

A.B. Guthrie, Jr., 1982


James Haughey, 1981

Hawthorne School, 2005

Walter Hook, 1985


Elmer Jakab, 1999

Dorothy Johnson, 1983

Gordon Johnson, 2015

Isabelle Johnson, 1983


Oshanee (Agnes) Kenmille, 2001

William Kittredge, 1985


Ed Lahey, 2008

John Lester, 1986

Neal and Karen Lewing, 2016

Myrna Loy, 1989

Stan Lynde, 1983


Norman Maclean, 1987

Arnie Malina, 1997

Gordon McConnell, 2020

Thomas McGuane, 1989

Wally McRae, 1989

Terry Melton, 1991

Missoula Art Museum, 2015

Missoula Children's Theatre, 1987

Montana Institute of the Arts, 1993

Montana Power Company, 1999

Montana Repertory Theatre, 1983

Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, 1991

Mary E. Moore, 1997

Robert F. Morgan, 2001

Jo-Anne Mussulman, 1999

Dr. Joseph Mussulman, 1999


David Nelson, 1999

Rick Newby, 2016


Christopher Parkening, 1987

Jackie Parsons (Eck Skim Aue Kee), 2018

Myrna Paulus, 2001

Ralph Paulus, 2001

Eewokso - Ernie Pepion, 2005

Lyndon Fayne Pomeroy, 1991

James Poor, 1985



Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, 2018


Amy Ragsdale, 2010

James Kenneth Ralston, 1984

Bernie Rasmusson, 1981

Kevin Red Star, 2018

Kelly Roberti, 2010

Mary Agnes Roberts, 1991


Joseph S. Sample, 1997

Miriam Sample, 1997

Robert Scriver, 1990

Gary Schildt, 1999

Sculpture In the Wild, 2020

Edmund Sedivy, 1993

Frances Senska, 1988

David Shaner, 1989

Kevin Shannon, 1987

Annick Smith, 2018

Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, 2018

Michael Smuin, 1981

Harold Sprague, 1985

Virginia Sprague, 1985

Benjamin Steele, 1992

Shirley Steele, 1992

William Stockton, 2003


John Talbot, 1994

Susan Talbot, 1994


US WEST Foundation, 1989


Agnes Vanderburg, 1983

Allen Vizzutti, 2008

Willem Volkersz, 2020

Peter Voulkos, 1985


Theodore Waddell, 2015

James Welch, 1981

Larry D. William, 2003

M.J. Williams, 2016

Pat Williams, 2010

Jessie Wilber, 1988


Yellowstone Art Museum, 1995

Thomas Yellowtail, 1993



Paul Zarzyski, 2005

Patrick Zentz, 2016



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