NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tri-Cities was represented in Nashville as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee gave the highest state honor for the arts to 12 recipients.

The 2021-2023 Tennessee Governor’s Arts Awards were presented to the recipients Tuesday night. Among the winners were the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol and Kingsport musician Doyle Lawson.

The Governor’s Arts Awards are given to those “who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s cultural life,” a release from the Tennessee Arts Commission states.

The Birthplace of Country Music was honored with one of five Arts Leadership Awards. Leah Ross, executive director of advancement at the Birthplace of Country Music, accepted the award in Nashville.

Lawson was honored with a Distinguished Artist Award. Other Distinguished Artist recipients included Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Jerry Salley accepted the award on Lawson’s behalf.

Lawson was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Known for his skill with the mandolin, Lawson’s hits include songs like “Big Spike Hammer” and “Mary and Tenbrooks.”

Below is a full list of 2021-2023 recipients, provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission:

Arts Leadership Award
Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol
Frank Bluestein, Germantown
Borderless Arts Tennessee, Gallatin
HoLa Hora Latina, Knoxville
Debbie Litch, Memphis

Distinguished Artist Award
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Nashville
Doyle Lawson, Kingsport
Carla Thomas, Memphis

Folklife Heritage Award
Ludie Amos, Clarksville
Dr. Robert (Roby) Cogswell, Nashville
National Rolley Hole Marbles Championship and Festival, Hilham
Richard Turner, Stanton