2022 Governor's Arts & Heritage honorees announced
The Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) recognize individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to Washington’s creative vitality. This year's nine honorees join more than 250 other exemplary individuals and organizations honored with a Governor's Arts or Heritage Award over the past 55 years. This year marks a return to the traditional GAHA award categories after the 2021 GAHA Luminary Awards, which were created in response to the unique challenges posed to the arts and heritage community by the pandemic.
"We are thrilled to announce these nine extraordinary honorees, each an irreplaceable pillar of their community," said ArtsWA Executive Director Karen Hanan. "We have made extraordinary progress as a state and as a society since the darkest days of the pandemic. The 2022 honorees represent the profound integrity, ingenuity, and resilience of Washington's creative spirit."
The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is pleased to announce and congratulate the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards honorees for 2022. Please join us in celebrating:
Individual Artist – Yegizaw (Yeggy) Michael (King County)
Yegizaw (also known as Yeggy) is an arts administrator and a painter who has dedicated his professional life to painting, sculpture, and mosaic art. His work has received national and international awards. Yeggy shares his knowledge, skills, and experience with other artists, especially those of Eritrean descent. He creates as many opportunities as possible for artists, including showcases for local communities. Yeggy's work breaks down barriers in art education and provides disadvantaged youth with tools to create and heal through art.
Organization – One Reel (King County)
One Reel has spent half a century defying expectations. From their start in 1972 as a traveling vaudeville show, they have consistently brought wonder to audiences through non-traditional models and settings. Their mashups of different art forms create experiences, inspire partnerships, and drive audience engagement. One Reel's work has resonated across multiple generations and given paid work—and exposure to new audiences—to tens of thousands of local artists. One Reel fuels Seattle civic pride through signature experiences that foster growth and development in our community and the arts.
Legacy – Robb Hunt (King County)
Robb Hunt’s artistic leadership has profoundly impacted Washington's performing arts landscape. What began with Robb’s vision, shared by a small group of dedicated theatre artists in 1979, has grown from a small community theatre into one of the nation’s leading regional theatre companies. His legacy is now evident throughout Issaquah. He has overseen the construction of four (soon to be five) arts facilities and has expanded Village Theatre's reach beyond King County. Robb was the 2021 recipient of Everett’s Richard & Nancy Wendt Award of Excellence and, in 2022, Issaquah’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
Advocacy – Dow Constantine (King County)
King County Executive Dow Constantine is a lifelong champion of the arts. Dow is also a powerful advocate for working artists and creatives, a fact that was profoundly evident during the pandemic. As government-mandated facility closures rippled across Washington, Dow voiced critical support for an equitable recovery of the arts. He publicly promoted a message that the ‘arts are essential’ while leading the countywide COVID Public Health response, shepherding millions into arts recovery funding.
Community Organization – Music4Veterans (Thurston County)
Founded in 2012, the MusicWorks4Veterans (MW4V) Project creates opportunities for veterans and service members to make music and build relationships as they transition to civilian life. Through in-person events for veteran community members, such as the SoundVetJams, MW4V builds community with underserved military populations through accessibility and recognition. In 2022, MW4V extended their programming to the Orting Veterans Village, a permanent supportive tiny house village for 35 homeless veterans. Their work has a profoundly positive impact on one of Washington’s most overlooked and vulnerable communities.
Individual – Yvonne A.K. Johnson (Spokane County)
Spokane Valley Summer Theatre (SVST) was founded in 2015 by Executive Artistic Director Yvonne A.K. Johnson. As the leader of this professional company, Yvonne successfully negotiated the pandemic and doubled the organization’s annual operating budget. She launched a capital campaign to build a multi-use performing arts center, which will include two performance spaces and a Conservatory for professional theatre education. Yvonne has shown exemplary arts-based community development, service, and placemaking. Her foresight and vision in creating this legacy project will contribute to the region culturally and economically for generations to come.
Individual – Carol Emarthle-Douglas (Snohomish County)
Carol Emarthle-Douglas is a researcher, a storyteller, and advocate for basketry preservation. She is an award-winning master weaver, winning best of show at SWAIA in 2015 for her basket "Cultural Burdens", which highlighted Native motherhood from an intertribal perspective. For years she taught at Weavers Teaching Weavers gatherings to share her knowledge of weaving. She petitioned the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) to ensure that baskets were a separate category from textiles and to recognize its artisans with a separate category. Community care is at her core, and her extensive knowledge and contributions to keeps basketry alive.
Individual – Deepti Agrawal (Snohomish County)
Founder of Deepti Designs Inc, Deepti Agrawal is a world-renowned expert in Madhubani Painting and a passionate educator. She devotes a large portion of her time to non-profit organizations and public associations like Humanities Washington, Friends of Asian Art Association, Seattle Asian Art Museum, King County Library System, and the Northshore Senior Center to raise awareness about traditional visual arts. Deepti is an effective heritage art promoter and influencer who has inspired thousands of people to explore traditional art styles. A celebrated speaker on Humanities Washington Speaker Bureau program, she strives to strengthen the cultural landscape of Washington State.
Organization – Historic Lincoln Theatre (Skagit County)
The Lincoln Theatre is one of the last surviving vaudeville houses north of Seattle, recognized as an historic economic driver and the heart of revitalization efforts for Downtown Mount Vernon. Built in 1926, generations of patrons return to the Lincoln year after year to enjoy movies, live performances, and community events. Originally a center for silent film and vaudeville entertainment, the Lincoln still prides itself on its art house film programming, National Theatre and Metropolitan Opera screenings, and world-renowned artist presentations. The Lincoln Theatre is a resource and meeting place for organizations and artists, promoting cultural heritage to a changing world.