CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts invite the public to attend the 2014 Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony on Thursday, March 13, 2014, to celebrate some of the state’s best artists and arts supporters.

The evening’s festivities begin at 6 p.m. in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. Admission is free.

The award categories include the following: Arts in Education Award to recognize efforts to strengthen arts education in West Virginia public schools and the overall impact on arts education in West Virginia; Distinguished Service to the Arts Award to recognize individuals and/or organizations of exceptional talent and creativity that have contributed to the arts and fostered growth, and influenced trends and aesthetic practices on a state and national level; Leadership in the Arts Award to recognize individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and access to the arts throughout West Virginia; Artist of the Year to recognize an individual artist who has impacted the exposure to the arts in West Virginia through his/her work; and the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement for significant accomplishments in the arts for an individual or organization. Winners will be announced that night.

Previous winners include crooner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. of Logan, Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, the Morgan Arts Council in the Eastern Panhandle, photographer Arnout “Sonny” Hyde of Bluefield and Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg.

Ten members of the West Virginia Legislature also will receive Legislative Leadership awards for their significant accomplishments in the arts.

Special performances will include the Appalachian Children’s Chorus, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, former Miss West Virginia Kari Safford Blankenship, West Virginia’s 2013 Poetry Out Loud runner-up Grace Pritt, Capital High School Dance Company and the Cabell Midland Jazz Knights.

For more information about the Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony and gala, contact Caryn Gresham, deputy commissioner of the division, at (304) 558-0220.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.