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Monday, July 30, 2012 - 1:00am

Arts and Humanities Awards Combined

Updated: 2 years ago.
Eleanor Torrey West was a 2005 Governor's Award for the Humanities recipient for her work in preserving Georgia's past. She gave Ossabaw Island to Georgia, making it the first Heritage Preserve. She is now 99 years old. (photo Ossabaw Foundation)

State officials and a non-profit group are creating a new Governor's Awards for the Arts and Humanities.

The move combines what used to be separate awards and puts a state agency back in the award-giving business.

The state-run Georgia Council for the Arts used to give out awards with the Governor's imprimatur.

But that ended sometime in the 1990's for reasons no one at the council now knows.

The non-profit Georgia Humanities Council never stopped giving out Governor's Awards.

But the two now are teaming up.

The Council for the Arts' Karen Paty says her group and the Humanities Council decided their interests overlapped.

"We had a strong story to tell when we worked collaboratively," Paty says. "It is importantant for us in this state to talk about the strength and the value of the creative industries."

Compared to the President's National Medal of Arts, the Governor's Awards honor individuals and organizations in a wide range of fields.

She says, the creative industries employ more than 200,000 Georgians and bring the state valuable educational and cultural benefits.

"All of those things needed to be acknowledged. We had quite a history of being able to do that in the past," Paty says. "But it had been a while since we at the state level had been able to really shine a light on the great and innovative work of individuals in these sectors and be able to celebrate what they've done."

The nomination deadline for the non-monetary award is August 10th.