2018 Governor’s Awards for the Arts
Aug 8 @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Event seating is general admission, first-come, first-served. There is a strict limit of four (4) tickets per household. Event is held in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Theatre of the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple. The seating chart reflects the general layout of seating, though specific locations are subject to change.

An awards ceremony wherein the governor presents the Commonwealth’s highest recognition for achievement and service in the arts.

Governor’s Awards for the Arts represent a Pennsylvania tradition begun in 1980 by Governor Dick Thornburgh. Presented annually in Harrisburg at the State Capitol, these awards honored artists in each of the following categories: painting, sculpture, photography, music, literature, dance, theatre, crafts, and media arts. An award was also made for “service to the arts.” The awards, which recognized Pennsylvanians who contributed their creative talents to their communities, were named the Hazlett Memorial Awards for Excellence in the Arts, after the late Theodore L. Hazlett Jr. of Pittsburgh, the first chairman of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The awards were administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A Distinguished Pennsylvania Artist Award was also established to be chosen by the Governor. [Note: No standard policy was established for this category, but it was generally agreed that the recipient would be a native Pennsylvanian and an artist of world renown.]

Following the 1982 awards, the Hazlett awards were presented in no more than six disciplines, in alternating years, and architecture was added as a category.

The awards were suspended in 1987 in the first year of Governor Robert P. Casey’s administration. In 1988, through his cultural advisor’s office, Governor Casey established “a comprehensive Governor’s awards program” with the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences “to honor outstanding individual creativity and achievement, to focus attention upon the critical importance of the arts, humanities, and sciences in the life of an enlightened democratic society, and to pay tribute to Pennsylvania’s rich cultural and intellectual traditions.” A single award was presented in each area.

In 1996, oversight and administration of the Governor’s Awards returned to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Four new award categories were established by Governor Tom Ridge to recognize not only the contributions of Pennsylvania’s individual artists and patrons of the arts, but also the outstanding arts organizations which make the Commonwealth a leader in the cultural life of the nation. For the first time, a category was established which recognizes the significant contributions to the arts made by corporations and foundations (the Patron Award).

Please note that the Governor’s Awards for the Arts did not take place in 2015 or 2016. It is customary for a new gubernatorial administration to use the first year in office to consider changes to the event that will reflect the administration’s interests and priorities, including but not limited to award categories. For this reason, the Governor’s Awards for the Arts also did not occur in 1987, 1995, 2003, or 2011.

Currently, the Governor’s Office has developed five award categories:

The Distinguished Arts Award recognizes a Pennsylvania artist of international fame, leadership or renown whose creations or contributions enrich the state.

The Patron Award recognizes an individual, corporation, or foundation patron’s significant contributions to the vitality and availability of the arts in Pennsylvania.

The Arts Leadership & Service/Arts Innovation Award recognizes an organization or individual(s) for outstanding leadership and service or innovation in the arts.

The Artist of the Year Award (The Hazlett Memorial Award) recognizes an individual artist for their creations and contributions to the excellence of the arts in Pennsylvania.