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Gov. Andy Beshear announced today that four Kentuckians and five Kentucky organizations will receive the state’s most prestigious arts award in recognition of their dedication to sharing Kentucky’s rich arts history with the citizens of the commonwealth.

The Governor’s Awards in the Arts are comprised of nine distinct categories that celebrate the extraordinary and significant contributions of Kentuckians and Kentucky organizations to the state’s art heritage.

The Kentucky Arts Council solicits nominations and coordinates award presentations on behalf of the Governor of Kentucky. The 2020 Governor’s Awards in the Arts recipients are:

Milner Award – Michael Johnathon, Fayette County

Artist Award – Silas House, Madison County

Business Award – Tidball’s, Warren County

Community Arts Award – Artists Collaborative Theatre, Pike County

Education Award – Paducah Symphony Orchestra, McCracken County

Folk Heritage Award – Shelly Zegart, Jefferson County

Government Award – City of Somerset, Pulaski County

Media Award – Al Día en América, Jefferson County

National Award – Tom T. Hall, native of Carter County

Each year, the arts council commissions a Kentucky artist to create custom works of art to serve as the awards for recipients. Willie Rascoe of Christian County, a former Governor’s Awards in the Arts recipient, created the 2020 award from driftwood and cherry wood collected from a tree downed by a tornado about 15 years ago.

The Kentucky Arts Council, who recommends honorees to the Governor, accepts nominations for the Governor’s Awards in the Arts annually. Details regarding a virtual awards ceremony to honor the 2020 Governor’s Awards in the Arts recipients will be forthcoming.

For more information, visit the Kentucky Arts Council website at

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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