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[IAC] Arts Commission announces Jim Davis is among Governor's Arts Award recipients
Start Date: 3/2/2016 All Day
End Date: 3/2/2016
Entry Description

Arts Commission announces Jim Davis among Governor’s Arts Awards recipients     

(Indianapolis, Indiana)The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today that cartoonist and entrepreneur Jim Davis is among recipients selected for the Governor’s Arts Awards.

“The Governor’s Arts Awards recognize significant contributions to and achievement in the arts, but this year’s event will have the added notable significance of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Indiana Arts Commission and has been designated a legacy project of the Indiana Bicentennial,” said Governor Mike Pence. “This year’s recipients have contributed greatly to the cultural heritage of our great state through their creative talents and dedication. The First Lady and I look forward to honoring their achievements.”

Davis was born in Marion, Indiana and raised on a Black Angus cow farm with his family and 25 cats. He attended Ball State University where he majored in art, business, and practical jokes. After an unsuccessful attempt to launch a cartoon strip about a gnat, Davis discovered there were no major syndicated cartoons featuring a cat.

Over time he developed Garfield, a fat, lazy, lasagna-loving, cynical cat that was a composite of all the cats he’s known from his childhood. Garfield debuted in 1978 in 41 newspapers. Today, Garfield is read in nearly 2,100 newspapers worldwide.

The success of Garfield also spawned a locally-based production and licensing company, Paws, Inc., to support Garfield’s global business ventures. Like the groundbreaking cartoon it represents, Paws, Inc. has also set new standards in the licensing and merchandising world.  

“It is indeed an honor to be an Indiana Governor’s Arts Award recipient,” Davis said. “This recognition further validates cartooning as a legitimate art form, and, I might add, a uniquely American art form. Joseph Pulitzer first published a comic strip called The Yellow Kid in the New York World in 1895. That’s even before Garfield!”

Davis still resides in Albany, Indiana where he and his staff produce Garfield at Paws, Inc. headquarters, which employs nearly 40 artists and licensing administrators.

Governor Pence, and First Lady Karen Pence, honorary chair of the Governor’s Arts Awards, and the IAC will honor the 2016 recipients during an awards program at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, 2016 at the Schrott Center for the Arts at Butler University.

The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, everyday, for everyone in Indiana.



Contact Information:
Name: Rex A. Van Zant
Phone: 317-232-1273
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Visiting and Playing
  • Agency Name
    Arts Commission, Indiana

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