This year, two Charleston individuals and one business will receive the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award, the highest arts honor presented by the state. Among the eight recipients, artist Mary Whyte, philanthropist John Zeigler Jr., and Fox Music House will represent Charleston.

Whyte, a nationally recognized watercolor artist and teacher from Johns Island, will receive the individual artist award. Zeigler, an acclaimed author and poet who has been published in Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times, will receive the lifetime achievement award at the ripe age of 101 years. Charles Fox of Fox Music House will receive the business arts award as recognition for his lifetime of dedication to arts programs in local Charleston schools. Perhaps Fox’s greatest contribution has been founding the Charleston Marathon as a sustainable funding source for arts programs in Charleston public schools.

The S.C. Arts Commission will present the awards at a Statehouse ceremony tentatively scheduled for May 2. “It’s very moving to watch the ceremony and realize that many of the recipients have dedicated their personal or professional lives to the arts,” says the Arts Commission’s communication director Milly Hough. “These recipients have impacted the arts in ways that benefit others currently and for years to come.”

Find out about the other winners here.

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