Awards

Each year the Arts Council recognizes outstanding individual and organizational contributions to the arts in Vermont with a variety of awards. These are presented at public ceremonies and provide an opportunity for the recipient to be honored by colleagues, friends, family and members of the communities where they live and work.

The Awards

Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts

This award represents the most distinguished recognition bestowed by the State of Vermont. Accordingly, it is reserved for Vermont artists who have had a profound impact on their field within the state of Vermont and beyond. The Governor selects the recipient from a list of nominations compiled from across the state and vetted by the Arts Council.

The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts is awarded to a person (or persons) "of distinction" in the arts as evidenced by one or more of the following criteria:

  • Is a resident of the State of Vermont

  • Has a regional (New England), national, or international reputation in their chosen field as evidenced by 3rd party acclaim or reviews from independent sources

  • Has a significant public following as well as peer recognition/acclaim in Vermont

  • Has a significant body of work revealing his/her talent and skill available for review by the Council

  • Shows evidence of having a strong commitment to Vermont and the role that the arts plays in its quality of life

  • Is nominated by three or more individuals, only one of whom may be a member of the nominee’s immediate family

Walter Cerf Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts

The Walter Cerf Medal is presented to individuals who have made a sustained contribution to the arts and had an impact on Vermont's cultural life. The award is named in honor of the late philanthropist Walter Cerf whose generous gifts, exceeding $5 million, have benefited numerous Vermont institutions including the Arts Council. Mr. Cerf was instrumental in establishing the Arts Endowment at the Vermont Community Foundation, and his contributions have created a $1 million fund to assist Vermont's artists and arts organizations.

Selected by the Council, Cerf Medals may be awarded to artists of renown, or to those in a closely related field, such as philanthropy, administration, production, education, advocacy, or mentoring according to the following criteria:

  • Are residents of the State of Vermont

  • Has a statewide, regional (New England), national, or international reputation in their chosen field as evidenced by 3rd party acclaim or reviews from independent sources

  • Has significant recognition in their chosen field by their peers in Vermont

  • Has a significant body of work and/or record of service available for review by the Council

  • Is nominated by at least one non-Arts Council staff or board-member

Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service (formerly the Citation of Merit Award)

The award is named after the Council’s founding executive director. In addition to his critical work at the Arts Council, Williams’ long career included public school teaching, serving in the Vermont Legislature and chairing the effort to restore the Vermont State House. The award is given to those who mirror his selfless public service and devotion to artistic excellence as one vital ingredient in a robust community as well as his desire to see the arts thrive.

Selected by the Staff and Board of the Vermont Arts Council, this award is given to a person or organization for meritorious service to the arts in Vermont, according to the following criteria:

  • Has a local or statewide reputation in their chosen field as evidenced by 3rd party acclaim or reviews from independent sources

  • Has significant standing in a Vermont community.

  • Is nominated by at least one non-Arts Council staff or board-member

Submit a nomination for an Arts Council award

To nominate a Vermont artist or cultural organization for an award or to nominate a potential trustee:

  • Submit a nomination online

  • Send a letter of recommendation to 136 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633 OR

  • Send an email to the Council with "award nomination" in the subject line, including your name and contact information, why you feel the candidate is deserving of recognition, and, if known, the name of anyone else who is nominating or has nominated the candidate.

Occasionally, people or companies worthy of recognition by the Council do not fit comfortably into one of these three categories. Parties interested in nominating such an individual or business should still use the form and make the case for recognition.