ACNMWA Members Honored as Arkansas Arts Council 2024 Governor's Arts Awards Recipients

The Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, recently announced the 2024 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients which included two board members of the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in Arts. The recipients will be honored at a ceremony on March 8, 2024, in Little Rock.

Since 1991, the annual awards program has recognized individuals, organizations and businesses for their outstanding contributions to the arts in Arkansas. Recipients are nominated by the public, then selected by an independent panel of arts professionals.

“The Governor’s Arts Awards recognizes and honors the supporters, patrons and artists who have helped build and strengthen Arkansas’s thriving arts community,” said Shea Lewis, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “This annual program gives us the opportunity to showcase their contributions to Arkansas’s arts and creative economy, improving the quality of life for all Arkansans.”

Garbo Hearne of Little Rock, Arts Community Development Award

Garbo Hearne is the director of Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing and Hearne Fine Art. She has advocated for the advancement of African American culture through art and literature for over 30 years.

Since 1988, Hearne has welcomed and promoted both local and national artists and authors to her gallery and bookstore, now located in the historic Dunbar Neighborhood of Little Rock. Hearne’s commitment to the promotion of African American art extends beyond Central Arkansas. The El Dorado native has organized and installed museum exhibitions at the Arts and Science Center of Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff and the Delta Cultural Center of Helena-West Helena.

She was appointed to the Arkansas Arts Council advisory board in 1990 by Governor Bill Clinton and reappointed by Governors Jim Guy Tucker, Mike Huckabee and Mike Beebe. She served on the council until 2013, including a tenure as chairperson of the board. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

In 2014, Hearne spearheaded the creation of the statewide arts advocacy organization, Arkansans for the Arts. She is a member of the talent committee for the Six Bridges Book Festival, a board member of the Dunbar Historic Neighborhood Association and has been a key organizer in the Central Arkansas Community Kwanzaa celebration for over 30 years. Hearne is a certified member of the Appraisers Association of America with a specialization in African American fine art.

Virmarie DePoyster of North Little Rock, Arts in Education Award

Virmarie DePoyster, a native of Puerto Rico, is a multidisciplinary artist, educator and community leader whose work fosters creativity, healing and community engagement. DePoyster develops and implements art programs for adults and teens, as well as being a professional exhibiting artist.

Since 2011, she has been instructing students as part of the Arkansas Arts Council's Arts in Education Roster. She created a therapeutic art program for at-risk youth in rural Arkansas that ran from 2012 to 2018. She provided arts instruction to thousands of patients at The BridgeWay, an acute care mental health facility in Little Rock, where she saw firsthand the healing power of artistic expression. She has also facilitated professional development workshops and collaborated on Cornerstone Assessments through an artist-teacher partnership with The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards.

In 2023, DePoyster started Healing Arts, a therapeutic art program for CARTI patients, caregivers and staff. Her dedication to the transformative power of art in both teaching and advocacy makes her an invaluable asset in the field of arts education.

Read more on the Arkansas Arts Council blog.