By Jim Speirs, Executive Director, Arts South Dakota

On February 15, Governor Noem will present the biennial Governor’s Awards in the Arts, sponsored by the South Dakota Arts Council and Arts South Dakota. You can read about the 2023 recipients and their outstanding contributions to the arts in our state at Each is an inspiring example for all of us, many demonstrating a lifetime of commitment to creativity, cultural enhancement and sharing the arts with students, audiences and fellow citizens. 

Arts South Dakota and the South Dakota Arts Council have made it a priority to honor arts community leaders. For over a half-century, 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 Governor’s Awards recipients are often a history of the growth of our state’s cultural heritage and a reminder that dedicated arts supporters can positively impact 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:  Brian Bonde (Sioux Falls), Cory Knedler (Vermillion), S.D. Nelson (Arizona), Warrior’s Work & Ben West Gallery (Hill City), Dallas Chief Eagle (Martin), and Stephen & Catherine Thurman (Sioux Falls). Congratulate them if you have the opportunity—each has truly made a difference for our state.