Kristin Atwell Ford, Black Theatre Troupe, Young Arts Arizona Win 40th Annual Governor's Arts Awards
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Kristin Atwell Ford, Black Theatre Troupe, Young Arts Arizona Win 40th Annual Governor’s Arts Awards


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  • Joseph Benesh   |   Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Valley Youth Theatre

Winners were announced in six categories during the hybrid 40th annual Governor’s Arts Awards Friday, March 26, that included pre-event celebrations at 10 restaurants across the state.

Winners were chosen by an independent committee from 24 finalists from 10 Arizona communities. 

Presented by Billie Jo and Judd Herberger, the 2021 Governor’s Arts Awards winners are:

• Artist: Kristin Atwell Ford, Scottsdale

• Arts Educator: John Contreras, Tucson

• Large Arts Organization: Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix

• Small Arts Organization: Young Arts Arizona, Phoenix

• Large Business: Art in Medicine/UofA, Phoenix

• Small Business: Emancipation Arts, Phoenix

• Philanthropy: Molly DeFillipis, Phoenix

Kristin Atwell Ford, Black Theatre Troupe, Young Arts Arizona Win 40th Annual Governor's Arts Awards VYT-Staff-Bobb-Cooper-2-1024x683
Valley Youth Theatre Artistic Director Bobb Cooper

Also during the event, Valley Youth Theatre Artistic Director Bobb Cooper received a Lifetime Achievement Award and Maribel Alvarez of Tucson, an anthropologist, folklorist, writer and curator, received the 2021 Shelley Award.

Kristin Atwell Ford, Black Theatre Troupe, Young Arts Arizona Win 40th Annual Governor's Arts Awards Maribel-Photo-3-768x1024
Maribel Alvarez received the 2021 Shelley Award.

40th annual Governor’s Arts Awards finalists were:

Artist Award: Kristen Atwell Ford, Scottsdale; Stella Pope Duarte, Phoenix; James Garcia, Phoenix; Sareya Taylor, Maricopa. 

Arts Educator: John Contreras, Tucson; Lisa Falk, Tucson; Katherine Fizz, Black Canyon City; Andre Licardi, Peoria. 

Small Arts Organization: Dancing in the Streets, Tucson;Sounds Academy, Phoenix; Young Arts Arizona LTD, Phoenix; Yuma Orchestra Association, Yuma.

Large Arts Organization: Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix; The Nash Jazz Club and Education Center, Phoenix; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson.

Small Business: Emancipation Arts, Phoenix; Davisson Entertainment, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler.

Large Business: Art in Medicine, Phoenix; Cosanti Originals, Paradise Valley; Foothills Elementary, Glendale. 

Philanthropy: Priscilla Baldwin, Tucson; Molly DeFilippis, Phoenix; Eric Yungermann, Phoenix. 

A commemorative Governor’s Arts Award Program includes recipes of one meal from each restaurant chef and photos with models from local fashion designers.

Since 1981, more than 250 distinguished artists, individuals, cultural organizations, educators, businesses and philanthropists have received Governor’s Arts Awards.

For more information, visit www.azcitizensforthearts.org. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Arizona Citizens for the Arts at (602) 842-1584 or info@azcitizensforthearts.org.