On October 19, 2023, Arizona Citizens for the Arts presented their annual celebration of the arts. This year’s Creative Excellence Awards (formerly known as the Governor’s Arts Awards) included a new category, The Governor’s Award. Governor Katie Hobbs took the stage to personally present the award to Hopitutuqaiki, The Hopi School.
Per their mission statement, Hopitutuqaiki endeavors to “create opportunities, through a supportive learning environment, where people share unique talents using the strengths of Hopi language, values, and culture. Students will attain personal goals and life skills to use within and outside of their Hopi homeland.”
Founded in Kykotsmovi in 2002, Hopitutuqaiki uses Hopi language and culture as a means to teach skills that will enable Hopi youth to succeed and support themselves and their families, on or off-reservation. Students sign-up for in various traditional and non-traditional art and craft forms. Hopi language and culture are infused throughout the classes as motivation and encouragement.
The Arts Champion Award
Governor Hobbs also presented the Arts Champion Awards, honoring two state legislators who have demonstrated a strong commitment to arts and culture advocacy: Representatives Marcelino Quiñonez and Justin Wilmeth, both of Phoenix.
The Oonagh Award
The inaugural Oonagh Award was presented to Judy Phillips, a Yuma-based artist, educator, and founder of Yuma’s Art Walk. The Oonagh Award honors individuals and organizations pursuing innovative collaboration in the community. The award is named for the late Oonagh Boppart, who catalyzed creativity and collaboration as a philanthropist and arts and culture leader. Oonagh was also a posthumous recipient of the inaugural Award, received on her behalf by members of the family.
The Shelley Award
Finally, Cindy Ornstein, recently retired Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Mesa and Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center, received the Shelley Award. Named for former Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Shelley Cohn, who also presented this year’s award, the Shelley Award recognizes long service and dedication to the community and outstanding advocacy for arts and culture.
Congratulations to all!