Wire*— Valley jazz icon Dennis Rowland and celebrated sculptor Doug Hyde of Prescott were named Artists of the Year in a rare tie for the honor at the 37th annual Governor’s Arts Awards at the Arizona Biltmore Resort on Thursday, March 22.

Rowland, an award-winning vocalist, actor, recording artist and music director, is featured on Count Basie’s Grammy Award-winning record, “On the Road,” in a career filled with appearances with icons Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Joe Williams and Tony Bennett. He is back on stage and in classrooms after suffering a near fatal cerebral hemorrhage in 2013.

Hyde has drawn national and international accolades for his stunning works of art that he has brought to life from materials ranging from bronze to marble to granite. A Native American of Nez Perce, Chippewa and Assiniboine heritage, his work includes pieces in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, high-profile placement on the grounds of the world-renowned Heard Museum and a Phoenix landmark with his significant bronze sculpture honoring the legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers.

Dennis Rowland. Image courtesy of Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

Honorees recognized at the 2018 Governor’s Arts Awards included:

Arts in Education– Individual: Dennis Ott of Sedona. A mentor for those wanting to unlock their creative potential and discover new things through the arts, he is currently director of the Sedona Arts Center Ceramic Department. His entry into the art world was a second career after retiring from a corporate retail career in the 1970s and moving to Sedona where he took his first ceramics class.

Arts in Education– Organization: Foothills Fine Arts Academy of Glendale. Built in 1979-1980, Foothills Fine Arts Academy is a public Pre-K-8th grade, Title I school in the Peoria Unified School District. A PUSD Signature school that has been focused on the arts since 2002, the school’s mission and vision of “Artful Teaching, Artful Learning” is based on its purpose to provide students with a quality public school learning experience that incorporates the arts and an artful mindset with creativity, collaboration, constructive thinking, and effective communication.

Small Business: Changing Hands Bookstore of Tempe. Founded in 1974, Changing Hands Bookstore is a book retailer with branches in Tempe and Phoenix with a focus on books not readily available elsewhere. Recognized both locally and nationally as an important artistic and cultural center and a dynamic independent bookseller, Changing Hands presents a wide range of writers, speakers, programs and diverse artists each year.

Large Business: Vestar of Tucson. A nationally recognized leader in the acquisition, management and development of retail real estate with over 10 million square feet currently under operation and management in Arizona, and a total of over 27 million in the Unites States, Vestar has made one of the single, largest art-based contributions of a business in Arizona through direct arts and cultural programming and individual artist support.

Community: Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg. Opened in 2001, the organization’s mission is to present culturally diverse, live performing arts and educational experiences that inspire audiences and artistically transform the community. Its vision is to make Wickenburg a destination where artists perform, live and create new work in a community that fosters a lifelong relationship with the arts.

Individual: Sam of Phoenix. A Phoenix native, Sam received her undergraduate degree in Education and her MFA in Theatre for Youth from ASU. She has served as the coordinator of the Theatre Arts program at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, as an adjunct instructor of creative drama at Phoenix College and as a certified ASL interpreter for many theater companies including Arizona Theatre Company, Childsplay, the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Gammage.

Sam. Image courtesy of Arizona Citizens for the Arts.


Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Arizona’s inaugural State Poet Laureate and currently Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, officially received the 2018 Shelley Award. Rios is the author of 11 books and chapbooks of poetry, three collections of short stories, a memoir and host of the ground breaking PBS8 original production, Books & Co.

The second annual Philanthropy Award was presented to Judith Hardes of Phoenix for her long-term commitment to arts and culture organizations across Arizona. Among the beneficiaries of Hardes’ support have been Phoenix Theatre, Theater Works in Peoria, Arizona Theatre Company, Nearly Naked Theatre and Prescott Center for the Arts.

Billie Jo and Judd Herberger were the Presenting Sponsors of the 37th annual Governors Arts Awards, which is presented by Arizona Citizens for the Arts in cooperation with the Office of the Governor. Other sponsors were Salt River Project, Evening Production Sponsor.; Arizona Public Service, Nominee Sponsor; Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Arizona, Artist Award Sponsor; and Sneaky Big Studios, Video Production Sponsor.

Since 1981, more than 200 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards.

Featured image courtesy of the Arizona Citizens for the Arts. 

*DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from trusted sources without translation.