Deal recognizes contributors to arts and humanities

October 3, 2017

Governor Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal today announced the recipients of the sixth annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities. The awards were presented in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities.

“The First Lady and I are longtime supporters of the arts, humanities and expressions of creativity,” said Deal. “These awards recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to Georgia’s economic, civic and cultural vitality. Our state’s creative industries provide some 200,000 jobs for Georgians and generate $62.5 billion in economic impact. I congratulate the individuals and institutions being honored today and am grateful for their contributions to communities throughout Georgia.”

Twelve members of Georgia’s arts and humanities communities were selected following nominations from around the state. The recipients represent a diverse group of individuals and organizations that have supported the growth of Georgia’s creative industry through community involvement, pioneering programs and long-term financial commitment.

The recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities are:

Karen Berman, Milledgeville

Valerie Boyd, Athens

William Eiland, Athens

Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association, Elijay

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Art Program, Atlanta

Virginia Hepner, Atlanta

Kenny Leon, Atlanta

The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, Valdosta

Dr. Pearl McHaney, Decatur

National Infantry Museum Foundation, Columbus

Janisse Ray, Reidsville

Lois Reitzes, Atlanta

Detailed information about the recipients is available at

About the 2017 Award
The 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities were handcrafted by 12 Georgia potters and acquired through Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation. Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational is the longest running all-pottery event in the state. Each year the award-winning event showcases the works of 50 respected Georgia potters and is the largest show of its kind in the south, featuring approximately 7,500 pieces of contemporary, functional and decorative pottery for sale.

About the Award Partners
The Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) is a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development that works to cultivate the growth of vibrant, thriving Georgia communities through the arts. GCA provides grant funding and statewide programs and services that support the vital arts industry, preserve the state’s cultural heritage, increase tourism and nurture strong communities. Funding for GCA is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit

Georgia Humanities promotes and preserves the stories and cultural legacies of the state’s people — from the past to the present and into the future — to enrich their lives and strengthen their communities. An informed and educated Georgia understands historical and cultural trends, respects the life of the mind, utilizes critical thinking in decision-making, and promotes mutual respect and civility. Funding for Georgia Humanities is provided by the Georgia General Assembly, the National Endowment for the Humanities, foundations, donors and partners. For more information, visit