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Meet the 2018 Winners of the Idaho Governor's Awards in the Arts


Every other year since 1970, the governor of Idaho has bestowed the Governor's Awards in the Arts on artists, artisans and educators of merit. This year's award ceremony will take place on the second floor of the Idaho State Capitol rotunda on Thursday, Nov. 8. It will be the last time Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter will be in office to receive the winners, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts hopes to go big with this year's celebration.

"We're really hoping to get [the Caldwell-based Mariachi Sol de Acapulco ensemble] to perform because that would be really spectacular," said Jocelyn Robertson, public information officer for ICA.

GAA-winners are first nominated by members of their community, and those nominations are vetted by ICA's commissioners. Finally, they forward their list to the governor's office for his final decisions. Silver medallions designed by Idaho artist Elizabeth Wolf will be presented to the recipients at the award ceremony.

Winners this year come from across the state, from Coeur d'Alene and Salmon to Idaho Falls and Caldwell, and Robertson said she personally is impressed with the geographic representation in this year's awards.

"We are really excited at how it fell out geographically," she said. "We have the arts thriving throughout the state."

So without any further ado, here are the winners:

Excellence in the Arts:
Mark Neiwirth, pianist and educator, Pocatello
Diane Raptosh, writer and educator, Boise

Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts:
Mariachi Sol de Acapulco, ensemble, Caldwell
Jeff Minor, rawhide braider, silver engraver, saddlemaker, Salmon

Support of the Arts:
Surel’s Place, arts organization, Garden City

Support of Arts Education:
David Groth, retired fifth-grade teacher, Coeur d’Alene
Alexa Stanger, museum educator, Idaho Falls

Excellence in Arts Administration:
Kristin Poole, arts administrator, Ketchum
Carolyn White, arts administrator, Twin Falls

Special Commendations:
Boise Music Week, arts organization, Boise
Dan Looney, visual artist, Meridian