South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Governor’s Awards

The South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts

To recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina, the Arts Commission annually presents the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, the highest honor the state gives in the arts.

These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. In 1980, the awards took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”

A diverse committee, appointed by the S.C. Arts Commission Board and made up of members of the South Carolina community at large, reviews all nominations and makes recommendations to the Board for final approval.

An iconic statue

The symbol of the awards is a hand-crafted bronze statue (above) designed by Columbia-based artist Jean McWhorter and presented to each recipient. The South Carolina Arts Foundation supports the awards program by sponsoring the annual creation and procurement of these iconic statues.

Congratulations to the 2022 Governor’s Awards recipients

About the Governor's Awards

Nominations for the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts are not currently being accepted. The 2023 cycle is expected to open in August 2022.

The nine appointed commissioners of the South Carolina Arts Commission may choose not to present an award in a particular category in a given year. In addition to the categories below, the S.C. Arts Commission may choose to give Special Awards for achievements falling outside the defined categories.

  • Commissioners and staff of the S.C. Arts Commission and members of their immediate families are not eligible for nomination;
  • Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination;
  • Past recipients of the Governor’s Awards are not eligible for nomination for 10 years following their award. Recipients who received a Governor’s Award prior to 2012 are eligible to be nominated for the 2022 awards.



Open to S.C. individuals and institutions whose primary function is arts education. May include: arts educators (teachers, consultants, principals, administrators), schools, school districts, college/university arts departments, etc.


Open to S.C. organizations who contribute to the advancement and/or support of the arts. May include: arts discipline organizations, arts councils, arts advocacy groups, guilds, arts departments of organizations, educational institutions, etc.


Open to agencies and institutions generally described as units of state, county or municipal governments that have served their communities in outstanding ways through the arts, OR elected or appointed officials who, in their official capacities, have demonstrated notable support for the arts through leadership and public policy.


Open to S.C. individuals, or companies and foundations whose participation, support, and/or contributions have benefited the maintenance and growth of the arts.


Open to S.C. individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and statewide impact through their leadership, support, and advancement of the arts. May include: arts professionals such as managers, administrators; arts supporters such as patrons, promoters, donors, etc.


Open to S.C. artists of exceptional talent and creativity, in any discipline, whose contribution to the arts has helped guide and influence directions, trends and aesthetic practices across the state or to national or international levels.

The S.C. Arts Commission annually releases a call for the South Carolina Governor’s Awards for the Arts nominations. The nomination guidelines are posted on the agency’s website and are also available in print upon request. The Board of Commissioners of the S.C. Arts Commission appoints a diverse selection committee to review the nominations and make recommendations to the board for final approval. Members of the selection committee may include artists, arts professionals, educators, members of the business community, state or local government, citizens at large and others. The composition of the selection committee changes each year.

Round One

Copies of the nomination letters are sent to each member of the selection committee for their review in advance of the committee’s meeting. After initial review of all the nominations received, the selection committee will narrow the selections in each category.

Round Two

The committee will request additional information and/or materials in support of the nominations in each category advanced to round two. Types of additional materials may include resumes, letters of support, work samples, media materials, publications or images. These materials should only be submitted if requested by the committee. The committee will meet again to review support materials and make final selections to recommend to the Board of the Commissioners of the S.C. Arts Commission, which has final approval. Notification of award recipients and those not selected should take place by March.

The online nomination is an easy process. Clicking the “Submit Nomination” button below will open the Submittable application where you will begin a nomination for the Governor’s Awards for the Arts. Create a user name and password, enter the requested information, and upload a nomination letter. Once you begin your online nomination, you may save it and access it by logging in with your user name and password.

Nomination Steps
  1. Click the Submit Nomination button below
  2. Create your account
  3. Check the nomination category
  4. Provide information about the nominee and the nominator
  5. Upload a letter of nomination
  6. Submit
Letter of Nomination

The nomination letter should describe the nominee’s exemplary contributions to the arts in South Carolina. It should be no more than three typed pages, using 12-point type, and should address any characteristics included in the Category Descriptions. It should include specific examples and relevant data wherever possible. The letter should be structured to answer the following questions:

  • What makes the nominee superior or extraordinary?
  • How has the nominee demonstrated leadership in the arts?
  • What exceptional achievements or contributions has the nominee made, and what has been their impact on the community, state or beyond?
  • What other information about the nominee is important to know as they are considered for the state’s highest award in the arts?




Governor's Award Recipients

WATCH: the 2022 Governor’s Awards recipients revealed!

Artist | Columbia

Individual | Columbia

Arts in Education | Aiken

Organization | Columbia

View additional past recipients here.


  • Tom Flowers – Lifetime Achievement
  • Marjory Wentworth – Special Award
  • Charlton Singleton – Artist
  • Jennifer Clark Evins – Individual
  • Dr. Tayloe Harding – Arts in Education
  • Colonial Life – Business/Foundation
  • ColaJazz Foundation – Organization


  • Dr. Philip Mullen – Lifetime Achievement
  • Glenis Redmond – Artist
  • Mary Inabinett Mack – Individual
  • Cindy Riddle – Arts in Education
  • United Community Bank – Business/Foundation
  • Charleston Gaillard Center – Organization


  • Cecil Williams – Lifetime Achievement
  • Town Theatre – Special Award
  • Tyrone Geter – Artist
  • Kathleen P. Bateson – Individual
  • Simeon A. Warren – Arts in Education (Individual)
  • S.C. African American Heritage Commission – Arts in Education (Organization)
  • Hampton III Gallery – Business
  • Florence County Museum – Government
  • Gibbes Museum of Art – Organization

For additional information and advisement, please contact Jason Rapp ( | 803.734.8899).