Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Tapestry by Ramona SakiestewaEstablished 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.

The 2019 Governor's Arts Awards reception and ceremony will take place at the New Mexico Museum of Art on September 20, 2019. Please join us in the courtyard for the public reception at 4:30pm and for the award ceremony in the St. Francis Auditorium at 5:30 pm.

On September 20th, please also visit the Governor’s Gallery from 2 to 4 pm on the 4th floor of the State Capitol for an open house hosted by the Women’s Board of The Museum of New Mexico. The exhibition will continue through February 20, 2020. The gallery is open between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday.


January–March Nominations sought
April Deadline for nominations
June Public announcement of awardees
September Award events


To nominate an individual artist or a major contributor to the arts, select the nomination formPDF File or fillable nomination formPDF File.  For more information on the nomination process, the public exhibit of recipients at the Governor's Gallery, and a list of this year's award winners, visit the Governor's Arts Awards website.  See the complete list of all past recipients.

To re-nominate an individual artist or a major contributor to the arts, simply download and fill out a current nomination form, submit updates with a new nomination letter or addendum. Please contact New Mexico Arts to check if nomination materials are still on file before submitting. It is not unusual for a nominee to be nominated several times before being awarded a Governor's Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts. However, not every individual nominated will receive an award.