Governors Award

TEF Executive & Artistic Director Rick Ivey (center) accepts the Governors Award for the Arts & Humanities from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp.

Thomasville Entertainment Foundation was recently honored at the Georgia State Capitol with the 2022 Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities.

In partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and Georgia Humanities, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp presented Governor’s Awards to four organizations and six individuals statewide who “have made significant contributions to Georgia” and “are an important part of our state’s cultural fabric,” according to the announcement from the Governor’s Office. 

“We are so pleased for Thomasville Entertainment Foundation to be recognized for its positive impact on the community as a rich, robust arts organization,” said TEF President Linda Tarver. “While this award recognizes TEF and our strong commitment to our live performance and educational outreach mission, it also pays tribute to an 85-year legacy of bringing great arts to the community and the artistic leaders and dedicated volunteers, trustees and supporters who came before us.”

Georgia artist James Downey of Valdosta designed and created handmade blown-glass sculptures for the individual awards, which were presented on March 2.

Following a competitive nominations process, 10 members of the arts and humanities communities from across Georgia were awarded with this year’s honor. The recipients represent a diverse group of individuals and organizations that have contributed to, and supported the growth of, Georgia’s thriving creative industries through community involvement, pioneering programs and long-term financial commitment.

Thomasville Entertainment Foundation was nominated for the honor by Bonnie Hayes of the City of Thomasville’s Office of Downtown and Tourism Development, with support from South Georgia Ballet Artistic Director Melissa June; Heather Stanley, managing director of the Rylander Theatre in Americus and president of Georgia Presenters; and District 173 Rep. Darlene Taylor.

“I want to congratulate all those who earned this year’s Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities and thank them for their contributions to our state,” said Governor Kemp. “Talented Georgians have a meaningful impact on both our communities and our economy… and we appreciate what they do to enrich the lives of others.”

“It’s an honor to celebrate these gifted recipients and all they have done to make Georgia a vibrant place to live,” added Mrs. Kemp. “The arts and humanities are essential to our children’s education and provide a needed outlet for Georgians of all ages.”

Founded in 1937, TEF is marking its milestone 85th performance season during the 2022-23 year, and the award noted the organization’s long legacy in bringing nationally and internationally-renown performing artists and events to rural southwest Georgia. TEF also leverages private support to keep costs of programming low and to offer workshops, master classes, artists in the schools, and scholarships to keep the performing arts accessible to all members of the community.  

Thomasville Entertainment Foundation’s nominators said the nonprofit presenter has created and fostered a culture of appreciation and support for the arts and humanities that extends across the community and beyond.

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