Established in 1982, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize artists, arts organizations and patrons who have displayed excellence in the arts and outstanding service to the arts in Wyoming. These awards were first made possible by an endowment from the Union Pacific Foundation in honor of Mrs. John U. Loomis, a life-long patron of the arts. Over the years, individuals and organizations from more than 21 Wyoming communities and state-wide organizations have been honored for their dedication to the arts in Wyoming.

Each year, the Wyoming Arts Council has a public nomination process with nominations due in early October. The Award Ceremony takes place in Cheyenne in February, and is a gala event with a number of elected officials attending each year. The Governor gives a State of the Arts speech, awardees are honored, and there is some kind of entertainment, usually by an awardee.

Any Wyoming citizen, organization, business or community may be nominated for a Governor’s Art Awards. Noted accomplishments reflect substantial contributions, made in Wyoming, that exemplify a long-term commitment to the arts. Special consideration is given to nominees whose arts service is statewide.

During a career of more than 30 years, Chris Navarro has become the foremost bronze monument sculptor in Wyoming. His work can be seen in the “Essence of Rex” statue at Casper College and the impressive Columbian mammoth bronze that beckons travelers to the Washakie Museum and Heritage Center in Worland. Through his art, he’s raised funds for a variety of good causes, including the Casper Boys and Girls Club, Nicolaysen Art Museum and the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo.

“Not much happens in the art world in central Wyoming without the involvement of Brian Scott Gamroth.” That’s how Rachel Bailey, executive director of the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, sums up the contributions of Gamroth of Casper. Well-known as the morning announcer for KTWO Radio, Gamroth also has served on the boards of Casper College Theatre Program, Casper Children’s Theatre, Nicolaysen Art Museum and the Wyoming Symphony. He also is “the voice” for fund-raisers throughout Casper and Wyoming.

Cedric D. Reverand II, or Ric as he’s known around the University of Wyoming campus, retired in 2013, leaving as a legacy a rich legacy of arts and cultural events. Reverand headed up UW Cultural Programs for almost 25 years, sharing his university time with teaching duties in the English department. He brought such performers to Laramie as Wynton Marsalis, Pinchas Zukerman, Marilyn Horne, McCoy Tyner, Allen Toussaint, Bela Fleck and the Martha Graham Dance Company, often before they became stars.

Musician and storyteller Paul Taylor, a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist, has performed for 140,000 people in Wyoming during almost 2,000 performances. At some of his K-12 school residencies, he works with students to create magnificent murals using vivid colors applied in the traditional Australian Aboriginal dot painting and x-ray style. Taylor travels widely around the U.S. and annually returns to his native land to work with his mentor Bill Harney in his Wardaman homeland.

Watercolorist Sarah Rogers is best known for her “tropical western wildlife art” which has been showcased in a variety of magazines, including Southwest Art, Western Art Collector and Wildlife Art. It’s been a hit with art buyers and galleries from Kalispell, Mont., to Sedona, Ariz. A founding member of Artists of the Black Hills, she’s been an inspiration to many young artists. She teaches art and is known as the “Bingo Queen” at the Crook County Long-Term Care Center.

The Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation (HSGLF), founded in 2003, envisions the Wyoming Big Horn Basin Nature & Discovery Center. It’s designed to be an interpretive center for Hot Springs State Park, a folk arts center and the state’s only folk arts school. While dreaming big, the HSGLF and director Sue Blakey, also is a catalyst for local cultural events, including the ArtStroll and the inaugural Big Horn Basin Folk Festival. It helped launch the “Art of the Hunt” exhibit, a multi-year project that culminated in the successful “Art of the Hunt” show at the State Museum.

Tickets to the gala are $55 each and $1,000 for a table of eight. Reservations are required, for table sponsorship opportunities and other ways to contribute, contact Sara Needles at 777-2416 or Michael Lange at 777-7723. For more information, call the Wyoming Arts Council at 777-7742.