The Oklahoma Arts Council honored 17 individuals and two organizations at the 38th annual Governor's Arts Awards ceremony Wednesday at the state Capitol.
Gov. Mary Fallin, Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples and Arts Council chairman James Pickel presented the medals and praised the recipients for making a difference in communities.
“Our honorees have done so much to further the arts,” Fallin said. “I am a big supporter of the arts in Oklahoma because ... it helps us preserve our history, it helps us talk about our wonderful culture, it certainly enhances our quality of life. It helps us attract and retain businesses in our state. And it also, I think, helps our children get their creative juices flowing, which is very, very important so that when they become adults they can become innovative and creative.”
Dr. G. Barry Epperley, of Tulsa, and Chuck Tweed, of Midwest City, received the Governor's Award, recognizing longtime leadership and significant contributions to the arts.
The Tulsa-based George Kaiser Family Foundation garnered the Business in the Arts Award.
The Media in Arts Award went to Carlos Ortiz, chief editor of the Hispanic weekly newspaper El Nacional de Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, and Kimberly Powell, assistant director of programming for KCSC Radio in Edmond.
Dr. Brad Benson, Norman; Jeanine Berrong, Weatherford; Tyler Bridges, Shawnee; M. Teresa Valero, Tulsa; and the Tulsa Youth Symphony Orchestra earned the Arts in Education Award.
The Community Service Award honorees were Marjorie Bontemps, Tulsa; Russell Crosby, Sapulpa; Thamazin Harrison, Alva; Anita Caldwell Jackson, McAlester; Mary Blankenship Pointer, Oklahoma City; and Dwane Taylor, Yukon.