Governor and First Lady Lee Announce Recipients of the 2021 Governor’s Arts Awards


Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee announced Monday the recipients of the Tennessee Governor’s Arts Awards. The awards are Tennessee’s highest honor in the arts. Since 1971, the Governor’s Arts Awards have celebrated those who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s cultural life.

The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented in three different categories — Distinguished Artist, Arts Leadership and Folklife Heritage.

The Folklife Heritage Award is presented to folk artists or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to Tennessee’s traditional arts. The award honors significant achievements within art forms that are rooted in the traditional or ethnic cultures of Tennessee. This year’s recipients of the Folklife Heritage Award include Ludie Amos (Clarksville), Dr. Robert “Roby” Cogswell (Nashville), National Rolley Hole Marbles Championship and Festival (Hilham), and Richard Turner (Stanton).

The Arts Leadership Award is presented to individuals or organizations who have demonstrated significant contributions that have impacted or advanced the value of the arts in Tennessee. Examples of recipients include educators, arts organizations, businesses, patrons, arts administrators, corporations, and volunteers. This year’s recipients of the Arts Leadership Award include Birthplace of Country Music (Bristol), Frank Bluestein (Germantown), Borderless Arts (Gallatin), Hola Hora Latina (Knoxville), and Debbie Litch (Memphis).

Finally, the Distinguished Artist Award is presented to Tennessee artists of exceptional talent and creativity in any discipline whose work has a significant and lasting impact on a state or national level. This year’s recipients of the Distinguished Artists Award include Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood (Nashville), Doyle Lawson (Kingsport), and Carla Thomas (Memphis).

“Tennessee has a rich artistic heritage, and we are proud of these outstanding recipients who are leaders in the arts across our state,” said Governor Lee. “Maria and I congratulate each of them, and we are proud of their accomplishments.”

“The arts help build stronger communities by enhancing the quality of life and the distinctive character of Tennessee places,” said Anne B. Pope, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “The 2021 recipients of the Governor’s Arts Award have each contributed significantly in defining who we are as a state.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]




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2 Thoughts to “Governor and First Lady Lee Announce Recipients of the 2021 Governor’s Arts Awards”

  1. Ms Independent

    Vote them out..

  2. Kevin

    Hey I didn’t see any recognition for the latest forms of artistic expression popularly referred to as burned and defaced buildings, aka the result of “mostly peaceful protests”. Or whatever happened to the category called “unauthorized traffic markings” aka, BLM street painting?

    Perhaps these awards are buried within one of the other above mentioned nebulous categories, but it sure would be easier for us to follow if the Governor just lumped them into one category, called the Nero Awards!