By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

This month Governor Noem, along with the South Dakota Arts Council and Arts South Dakota, presented the biennial Governor’s Awards in the Arts. You can read about the recipients and their outstanding contributions at Each is an inspiring example for all of us, often demonstrating a lifetime of commitment to creativity, cultural enhancement and sharing the arts with students, audiences and other citizens throughout South Dakota. 

This year’s presentation of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts, all hosted safely online, is the 25th showcase of those who have shown outstanding support for our state’s creative environment. The South Dakota Arts Council, who along with Arts South Dakota sponsors the awards, made honoring arts community leaders one of its first tasks shortly after its creation over a half century ago. The biennial award presentations have given our governors the opportunity to acknowledge the value and vitality of the arts in South Dakota. The stories of the recipients are often a history of the growth of our state’s cultural heritage and a reminder that dedicated arts supporters can change the world around them.

Most importantly, the Governor’s Awards in the Arts shine an inspirational spotlight on the actions of our fellow South Dakotans. From honoring individual artists to our arts organizations, the vital efforts that build, enhance and share our state’s vibrant arts community are recognized. The people and organizations chosen for these honors are our neighbors, friends, teachers and fellow artists. Each biennial award has myriad nominations—a wealth of worthy recipients—each of whom has made our state stronger and richer. The recipients show us what we can achieve through our own contributions to the arts in South Dakota.

Please visit and read the stories of this year’s Governor’s Awards in the Arts recipients—and congratulate them if you have the opportunity. Each of them has truly made a difference for our state.