Gov. George Deukmejian will recognize nine California artists, arts patrons and community leaders for significant contributions to the arts with the first Governor’s Awards for the Arts, the California Arts Council announced Wednesday. The annual awards, sponsored by the council, will be presented by the governor and Mrs. Deukmejian at a black-tie fund-raiser on Nov. 2.
The artists chosen are painter Richard Diebenkorn, visual artist; musician/producer Quincy Jones, entertainment industry; choreographer Bella Lewitzky, artist, and author Maxine Hong-Kingston, literary artist.
The awards will also honor individuals and organizations involved in arts education and those that have provided financial support to the California arts community. Recipients are: California State University Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds, arts in education (individual); Phyllis Wattis of San Francisco, individual patron; Gordon C. Luce, president of Great American Bank in San Diego, community cultural leader; Times Mirror (Los Angeles headquarters), corporate patron, and the Los Angeles Music Center Education Division, arts in education.
“By honoring these outstanding individuals and organizations,” Deukmejian said in a prepared statement, “we also acknowledge the enormous artistic resources of our state. California is a giant in its creative talent.”
The awards, which consist of a certificate from the governor and an artwork being created by sculptor DeWain Valentine, are the brainchild of Joyce Pollack, member of the California Arts Council and chair of the statewide awards program. Pollack said the official awards are welcome recognition that is long overdue.
“The governor agreed to establish the award at the urging of the California Arts Council,” Pollack said, “the main reason being that California is one of the few states in the Union not to have an official awards program honoring arts people.”
The awards ceremony Nov. 2 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel will benefit the California State Summer School for the Arts Foundation, a five-week program for talented high school students aspiring to careers in the arts.
Gloria Deukmejian will present “The First Lady Award,” to a young artist from the summer-school program.