Governor Cox and First Lady Cox pay tribute to artists at the Governor of Utah’s Mansion


SALT LAKE CITY (November 17, 2021) – Governor Spencer Cox and First Lady Abby Cox paid tribute to Ta’u Pupu’a, Elsie Holiday and Diane P. Stewart at an awards ceremony on November 10 which was held at the Governor’s Mansion.

Each year, the Governor of Utah honors three visual artists and three performing arts.

Ta’u Pupu’a, who was born in Tonga and raised in Salt Lake City, played football at Weber State and the NFL, is now an opera tenor who lives in New York and performs in venues across the whole world. He recently started a feature film about his life with Disney.

Elsie Holiday, who lives in Monument Valley, is a Navajo master basket maker. She is known for her impeccable work and innovative, sometimes humorous creations.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award this year went to Diane Stewart, benefactor of numerous arts organizations and owner of Modern West Fine Art, which promotes non-traditional art created by artists of various races.

PBS Utah is producing a documentary series on the honored artists; this will be released in spring 2022.

Four other artists will be in the spotlight in the coming months:

  • V. Kim Martinez, muralist, teacher and community activist
  • Jack Ashton, violinist, director of Young Artist Chamber Players, educator
  • Camille and Alicia Washington, founders of the Good Company Theater
  • Fidalis Beuhler, painter, teacher

These artists were selected by the Governor and the First Lady from a group of nominees submitted by the Governor’s Mansion Artist Awards Committee; they want to honor artists from all parts of Utah and a wide range of ethnicities and sensibilities.

The awards ceremonies also raise funds to preserve and furnish the Governor’s Mansion, a beautiful historic home on South Temple in Salt Lake City that was donated to the state by the Kearns family.

Download this press release here.


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