• 2008 Distinguished Arts Award: Michael Keaton, award winning actor and Pittsburgh-area native;
• 2008 Pennsylvania Creative Community Award: legendary jazz artist Phil Woods and the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts, the annual jazz and arts festival that Woods co-founded in 1978;
• 2008 Artist of the Year: poet, essayist and founding editor of Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, Sascha Feinstein of Williamsport;
• 2008 Outstanding Leadership & Service to Arts Education Award: North Philadelphia’s Taller Puertorriqueño, nationally-recognized arts organization known as the “Cultural Heart of Latino Philadelphia,” whose mission is to preserve, promote and develop Latino arts and culture;
• 2008 Patron Award: Barbara B. Hudock of Williamsport; and
• 2008 Outstanding Leadership & Service to Youth Award: The PAL Center for the Arts Unit of The Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading & Berks County, an arts center and arts mentoring program for high risk students.
The Nov. 12 ceremony is free and open to the public. A ticketed reception will follow.
Holding the state ceremony in a different venue each year enables new regions of the state to share in this celebration of the arts. It also provides the opportunity for the host region to showcase its unique cultural assets to an audience that draws cultural leaders from across the state. Past host cities have included Greensburg, Wilkes-Barre, Reading, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Harrisburg, Altoona, Philadelphia, and Gettysburg.
The Governor’s Awards for the Arts is administered by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The council’s mission is to foster the excellence, diversity and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state. An open call for nominations was issued to arts organizations, artists, arts patrons, elected officials, and members of the public. More than 75 nominations were received.