Governor’s Awards for the Arts


Governor Russell W. Peterson began the tradition of honoring Delaware artists in 1970. Since then, Delaware has paid tribute to 40 distinguished individuals and organizations that have had a profound and lasting impact on the state’s artistic and cultural life.

Delaware’s Governor’s Awards for the Arts recognize the contributions of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions and a lasting and profound impact on the artistic and cultural life of Delaware.

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the Delaware Division of the Arts is pleased to be facilitating the 2019 Governor’s Awards for the Arts, on behalf of Governor John C. Carney. Nominations are now being accepted for this prestigious honor.

Award Categories

Arts Administration – Individual who has shown sustained, impactful, and visionary executive leadership of an arts organization.

Arts Education – Individual or organization that has made significant contributions through leadership and creativity to advance arts education in Delaware’s schools and communities, or in community organizations.

Arts Patron – Individual, foundation or entity that, over time, has sustained and enhanced the arts in their community or the state of Delaware through contributions of their time, effort, or financial resources.

Community Engagement – Individual or organization that works to create or strengthen interactive arts participation among diverse community members while increasing the public awareness about the role of the arts in community life.

Government – An elected or appointed official whose work has resulted in significant support for the arts through local or state government action.

Nomination Process

Nominees should be individuals with legal residence in Delaware or an organization or business based in Delaware. Division staff, Arts Council members, members of their families and previous recipients are not eligible for nomination. Posthumous nominations will not be accepted. It is possible that awards may not be given in all categories.

A late afternoon reception and awards ceremony will be held on October 28, 2019, in conjunction with the Delaware Arts Summit. Awardees will be selected by the Governor’s Award Selection Panel, comprised of arts professionals from across the state.

Nominees will be judged on information included in a narrative, two letters of support, and optional support materials.

The deadline for the submission of the nomination packets was June 28, 2019.


Mid-May: Nomination Guidelines and Form available

June 28, 2019: Nominations due

July 2019: Selection Panel selects awardees

September 3, 2019: Awardees announced on website

October 28, 2019: Arts Summit & Governor’s Awards for the Arts

Past Honorees

  • David Amado, leader, Individual Category
  • Sharon Baker, independent filmmaker, Individual Category
  • Xiang Gao, innovator, Individual Category
  • Eunice LaFate, advocate, Individual Category
  • Evelyn Swensson, lifetime achievement, Individual Category
  • Billie Travalini, educator, Individual Category
  • Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, presenting, Organization Category
  • VSA Delaware, inclusion, Organization Category
  • The Music School of Delaware, Organization Category
  • William M. Shea, Individual Category
  • University of Delaware Art Conservation Department and Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Collaboration Category
  • Michael Kalmbach, Peggy Amsterdam Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Charles Allmond, Sculptor and former attorney
  • Donald Parks, Painter and professor of art at Delaware State University
  • Reuben Salters, Director, Inner-City Cultural League; youth educator; and founder, Sankofa African Dancers and Drummers
  • Marie Swajeski, Founder, Delaware Children’s Theatre
  • Cab Calloway School of the Arts, Wilmington
  • Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington
  • Stephen Bruni, Special “Ambassador for the Arts” Award

  • Congressman Michael N. Castle, Arts Advocate
  • Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education, Arts Organization
  • Longwood Foundation, Inc., Funding Support for the Arts
  • Gonzalo Martinez, Esq., Arts Advocate
  • Lynn Herrick Sharp, Patron and Advocate of the Arts
  • Stephen Tanis, Visual Artist
  • Christina Cultural Arts Center, Inc., Arts Organization
  • DuPont, Corporate Patron of the Arts
  • E. Jean Lanyon, Artist
  • C. Lawler Rogers, Sr., Arts Educator
  • Howard Schroeder, Artist Legacy Award
  • The Brandywiners, Ltd., Arts Organization
  • Philip Corrozi, Former Legislator and Arts Advocate
  • Hercules Incorporated, Corporate Sponsor of the Arts
  • Edward L. Loper, Sr., Visual Artist
  • Cleveland Morris, Founder, Delaware Theatre Company
  • Mrs. Helen Farr Sloan, Visual Artist and Patron of the Arts
  • Pamela C. Copeland, Patron of the Arts
  • Delaware Art Museum
  • Mildred Thornhill McGowan, Musician and Arts Educator
  • Delaware Symphony
  • William Winder “Chick” Laird, Patron of the Arts
  • Eugenia Eckford Rhoads, Visual Artist and Patron of the Arts
  • Beatrice “Bebe” Coker, Playwright and Poet
  • Jack Lewis, Visual Artist
  • Wilmington Opera Society (now OperaDelaware)
  • Charles Parks, Gold Medal for Exemplary Contributions to the Arts
  • Louise Chambers Corkan, Governor’s Award for Merit in the Arts

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