Brent Funderburk receives Governor’s Arts Award

Brent Funderburk leans over desk and painting in his studio.
William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus Brent Funderburk works at his home. Funderburk is the recipient of a 2024 Governor's Arts Award. (Photo by Megan Bean)

A longtime Mississippi State University professor is being honored with a 2024 Governor’s Arts Award.

William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus Brent Funderburk, who retired in 2018 after teaching art at MSU for 36 years, is the recipient of this year’s Excellence in Visual Arts and Education award. He and other award recipients will be recognized at the 36th Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony at the Two Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson Thursday [Feb. 8] at 6 p.m. A public reception will precede the ceremony, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

“It has been my great privilege to have worked and learned from Brent Funderburk from the time of my hire in 2002 to his retirement in 2018,” said MSU College of Architecture, Art and Design Dean Angi Elsea Bourgeois. “Seeing his dedication to excellence and inspirational mentorship to our students provided a guiding light for me and so many others. Throughout his career, Brent drew the very best out of our students, helping them go farther in their artistic and creative discovery than even they believed they could go. He is a true inspiration and so deeply deserving of this immense recognition.”

Presented annually by the Mississippi Arts Commission in partnership with the Governor’s office, the Governor’s Arts Awards recognize individuals and organizations who have made noteworthy contributions to or achieved artistic excellence in Mississippi. This year’s honorees include Earl Poole Ball, Lifetime Achievement; Cedric Burnside, Excellence in Music; Peter Zapletal, Excellence in Performing Arts; and 100 Men Hall, Arts in Community.

Funderburk—a Charlotte, North Carolina, native who resides in Starkville with his wife Deborah Wyatt Funderburk, also a retired MSU professor—is known for his exuberantly hued water-media paintings and energetic teaching and lectures. He has been recognized with some of the highest academic, teaching and research honors and has presented 34 one-person exhibitions across the U.S. Funderburk has worked in public and private collections and publications worldwide. He has been juried into more than 100 regional, national and international shows, with numerous awards and has given presentations to more than 100 museums, universities and professional organizations.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting and the MAC will partner to record and broadcast the awards ceremony. The event will air on MPB Television at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18 and 2 p.m. Feb. 22. MPB Radio will air the event at 5 p.m. Feb. 25 during “The Mississippi Arts Hour.”

For more about Funderburk and his work, visit

Learn more about the Governor’s Arts Awards at

Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 12:26 pm


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