Governor’s Arts Awards to broadcast Feb. 15 on MPB Television and MPB Think Radio
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Governor’s Arts Awards to broadcast
Feb. 15 on MPB Television and MPB Think Radio


JACKSON, Miss. – The 30th annual Governor’s Arts Awards will air on MPB Television and MPB Think Radio at 8 p.m. Feb. 15. An encore television broadcast will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 18.

Each year the awards are presented to outstanding individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to or achieved excellence in Mississippi arts. Established in 1988, the awards event is presented by the Mississippi Arts Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office.

The five recipients of this year’s awards are as follows:

  • Steve Azar, Governor’s Choice Award – Azar, a native of Greenville, Mississippi, is the official Music and Cultural Ambassador of Mississippi as well as a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer and philanthropist. He is founder of the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, the Delta Soul Celebrity Golf Tournament and the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation, a charitable corporation.
  • David Keary, Leadership in Performing Arts Award – Keary was the first male dancer hired for the Jackson Ballet by Thalia Mara. After many years dancing with the New York City Ballet, Keary returned to Jackson, named artistic director of Ballet Mississippi in 1994 and has since led the growth of the program from 25 to more than 300 students.
  • Joe Overstreet, Excellence in Visual Art Award – Overstreet is a painter, arts promoter and activist with an accomplished career spanning more than 60 years. Born in rural Conehatta, Mississippi, Overstreet has spent much of his life and career in New York and California. He is most recognized for his 1960s protest paintings such as “Strange Fruit” and “The New Aunt Jemima,” a piece which has been referred to as a national icon of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • V.A. Bookhart Patterson, Community Arts Leader Award – Patterson is a Jackson, Mississippi, native and was the first curator for the Manship House Museum, former executive director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and former executive director of Very Special Arts Mississippi. She worked for years in the museum field and spent her entire career promoting the arts in Mississippi.
  • Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Arts in the Community Award – The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council has enriched the Oxford and Lafayette county community with arts events and programming for more than four decades. The council offers 320 days of arts programming annually, reaching 90,000 people each year.