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The Governor's Arts Awards return after decade hiatus

The last Governor's Arts Awards were distributed in 2007, during the Kulongoski administration.

Gov. Kate BrownIn May, after a 10-year hiatus, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown reinstated the state's annual governor's honors for Oregon artists.

The awardees, named this week, include three organizations and two individuals:

• Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts in Pendleton

• Portland Opera

• The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, a Portland arts philanthropy organization

Arvie Smith, a Portland painter

Esther Stutzman, an American Indian storyteller and cultural resource specialist from Yoncalla

The last Governor's Arts Awards were distributed in 2007, during the administration of Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

They were likely halted due to budget issues, says Carrie Kikel, communications manager for the Oregon Arts Commission.

Kulongoski still worked to maintain public funding for the arts in the midst of a severe recession, and in 2010 was honored by Americans For The Arts with an award for State Arts Leadership.

This year's awardees will be honored Oct. 6 at the downtown Portland Hilton. A statewide selection committee made a list of recommended honorees to the governor, who made the final decisions.

The event is part of the Oregon Arts Summit — this year they'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the state arts commission.

The theme of this year's summit also happens to touch on the political: "Creating Impact: Art and Civic Engagement."