By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

Every two years, Arts South Dakota and the state arts agency join together with the current South Dakota governor to honor our home state’s outstanding contributors to the arts. The Governor’s Award in the Arts is South Dakota’s highest honor for individuals, businesses and organizations who have shaped our cultural climate throughout the decades. Nominations are now open for the 2023 Awards—and we want to hear from you!

The classifications for these lifetime achievement awards are:

Distinction in Creative Achievement, given to individual artists who have made significant contributions in any of the various arts disciplines.

Outstanding Service in Arts Education, for individuals who have made significant contributions to arts education as a teacher, mentor or catalyst.

Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Individual, presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in supporting and encouraging the arts with their time, talent or funding.

Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Organization or Business, the award for an organization, business or corporation that has demonstrated leadership in supporting and encouraging the arts through time, talent and funding, or by funding and presenting projects by South Dakota artists for public education and enjoyment.

Outstanding Support of the Arts to Native Nations with Lands in South Dakota, given to an individual, organization or business from South Dakota that has made significant contributions through the arts to Native nations with lands in South Dakota. The recipient will have demonstrated strong arts traditions and revitalization in Native communities by promoting social justice and cultural understanding.

The 26th Biennial Governor’s Awards in the Arts will be presented in Pierre February 15, 2023. Recipients must be present to accept the award. Nominations may be made by an organization, institution or individual and must be submitted no later than November 15, 2022. 

The awards honor those who have made a huge impact in communities throughout South Dakota. Your voice is important in choosing the best of the state’s artists and arts advocates! For complete nominating directions, deadline and forms, go to the Arts South Dakota website at