Every two years, Idaho recognizes excellence in the arts by artists, educators, administrators and arts supporters. Since 1970, each sitting governor has decided this award and presented it to more than 180 of Idaho’s most creative citizens.
Each round the Idaho Commission on the Arts receives dozens of nominations from the public. The commission reviews them and then presents finalists to the governor and first lady.
This edition honors a wide diversity of talent from across the state.
Gov. C.L. Butch Otter and first lady Lori Otter will hand out the silver medallions at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, on the second floor of the Idaho Capitol Rotunda. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
The 2018 Governor’s Awards in the Arts winners
Excellence in the Arts
- Classical pianist, composer, arranger and educator Mark Neiwirth led the Piano Department at the Sun Valley School of Music for seven years. For the last 13 years, he has been an adjunct professor of piano at Idaho State University in Pocatello and the artistic director for the ISU Summer Institute for Piano and Strings. He’s played at concert halls across the country, including Carnegie Hall in New York City.
- Poet Diane Raptosh is a professor of literature and creative writing at the College of Idaho. She is a former Idaho Writer in Residence and served as Boise City’s Poet Laureate during the year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration. Her book “American Amnesiac” was long-listed for the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry. Her latest book, “Human Directional” was published by Etruscan Press.
Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts
- Mariachi Sol de Acapulco, ensemble, Caldwell.
- Jeff Minor, leather worker, silver engraver, saddlemaker, Salmon.
Support of the Arts
- Surel’s Place, an artist residency in Garden City’s “Live-Work-Create” district.
Support of Arts Education
- David Groth, retired 5th grade teacher, Coeur d’Alene.
- Alexa Stanger, museum educator at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls.
Excellence in Arts Administration
- Kristin Poole, artistic director at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum.
- Carolyn White, executive director of the Magic Valley Arts Council in Twin Falls.
- Boise Music Week is a community-run theater and music organization that organizes free performances during two weeks each May, including a full musical at the Morrison Center.
- Painter Dan Looney of Meridian, who is known for colorful landscapes and whimsical cityscapes of Treasure Valley cities.