Catherine “Rusty” Foley, a longtime arts advocate and supporter who served as executive director at Arizona Citizens for the Arts for eight years before her retirement, and Bob Booker, who was executive director at the Arizona Commission on the Arts from 2006 to 2017, will receive Shelley Awards at our 39th annual Governor’s Arts awards celebration.

The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented annually by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, an independent nonprofit citizens advocacy organization, in partnership with the Office of the Governor. Since 1981, more than 200 distinguished artists, individuals, cultural organizations, educators, businesses and philanthropists have received Governor’s Arts Awards. In addition to Foley and Booker, this year’s celebration will also recognize winners of Governor’s Arts Awards from across the state. The event will beheld on March 26 at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa. Tickets are available at

Beginning in 2006, The Shelley Award also has been presented annually to an Arizona individual who has advanced Arizona arts and culture through strategic and innovative work to create or support public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona. The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Foley was named executive director at Arizona Citizens for the Arts in July 2011 after serving on the board of directors beginning in 2003 and as chair. As an arts advocate, she also has served as a board member of Arizona Theatre Company, Childsplay and the Phoenix Art Museum Corporate Council. She was the Phoenix Arts and Business Council’s 2007 Arts Board Member of the Year, received Phoenix Theatre’s “Women Who Care” award and was the Arizona Capitol Times 2012 Leader in Public Policy for Arts and Humanities. Recently, she received the Raymond G. Van Diest Music Advocacy Award from the Arizona Music Educators Association. She also is a member of the Americans for the Arts State Arts Advocacy Network (SAAN) and served two terms on the SAAN Council.

Booker, an artist and arts administrator, came to Arizona following the retirement of Shelley Cohn, for whom the award is named and who served for nearly 30 years as the Commission’s executive director. Booker had been Executive Director at the Minnesota State Arts Board from 1997 to 2005 after serving in several other positions. In Arizona, he served as a Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture commissioner; co-chaired the Arts and Culture Committee of the Arizona Mexico Commission; served on the board and chaired Grantmakers in the Arts; was a trustee at WESTAF from 2007-2013 and on the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. His artwork has been exhibited in several states and is held in collections in Minnesota, Colorado, Canada, California and Arizona.

More information on the Governor’s Arts Awards can be found at