OKLAHOMA CITY (October 12, 2021) – United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth will be added to prestigious lists of Oklahoma cultural icons during the 2021 Oklahoma Governor’s Arts Awards at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
During the event, Harjo will be designated as the 14th Oklahoma Cultural Treasure and Chenoweth will be designated as the seventh Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador. Both will be in attendance to receive the designations. The ceremony will take place in the Capitol’s fourth floor rotunda on Tuesday, November 9, 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples said Harjo and Chenoweth represent the unmistakable influence of Oklahomans on the world stage of arts and culture.
“The designations of Oklahoma Cultural Treasure and Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador are reserved for those who have moved the needle in their respective artistic disciplines at national and international scales,” Sharples said. “Joy Harjo is revered throughout the literary world for her extraordinary and widely acclaimed career. Oklahomans can be proud that its first United States Poet Laureate is also the first-ever Native American to serve in the esteemed position. Kristin Chenoweth, with genuine adoration for her home state, is one of the most omnipresent and beloved performers on the stage and screen. It will be an honor to add their names to these exclusive designations of individuals who have garnered Oklahoma positive attention across the world for the excellence our state has produced in the arts.”
“To be called forth in this way by my community is a tremendous honor,” Harjo said. “It’s an honor I accept on behalf of the ancestors and relatives who have walked this earthly trail and inspire us with their artistic, literary, and keeping-it-together talents, who took and take care of the spirit of the people so we can keep going no matter the challenges in the story field. My story winds around the world, inspired by so many, but it begins and ends here in Oklahoma. Mvto.”
Chenoweth said, “I know this award isn't given every year. I know much thought is put into it. It has been very important to me my whole life to make my home state proud. Never would I expect an award for it, but I love being an Okie girl, and I always will.”
About Joy Harjo
Appointed in 2020 to a rare third term as 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee Nation. She is the author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs. Her honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo has produced seven award-winning music albums. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and a current Tulsa Artist Fellow. Her signature project as U.S. Poet Laureate, “Living Nations, Living Words,” features an interactive story map developed in conjunction with the Library of Congress that maps 47 contemporary Native American poets across the country and connects to an online audio collection developed by Harjo and housed in the Library’s American Folklife Center.
About Kristin Chenoweth
Actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth’s career spans film, television, voiceover, and stage. Among her accolades, Chenoweth received a coveted star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015. In 2009, she received an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in “Pushing Daisies.” In 1999, she won a Tony Award for “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” and in 2004 she was nominated for her original role of Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked.” As a recording artist, Chenoweth recently released her album, “For The Girls,” a heartfelt tribute to female singers such as Barbra Streisand, Lesley Gore, Linda Ronstadt, Dinah Washington, Dolly Parton, and more. Her notable television roles have included “Trial & Error,” “The West Wing,” Disney’s “Descendants,” and “The Muppets,” among others. Her film credits include “The Peanuts Movie,” “Four Christmases,” “Bewitched,” “The Pink Panther,” and more. In 2015, Chenoweth launched the annual Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamp in partnership with the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center to provide students with immersive performance training taught by Broadway, film, and stage industry professionals.