The Hon. Lois Hole created the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards to recognize individual Albertans for outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts in Alberta. The programs are administered by a standalone foundation.

Since its inception, the foundation has expanded its offering to include Distinguished and Emerging Artists programs and worked with host communities across the province to strengthen arts programing.

The program was first announced in November 2002. As part of the November 29, 2002 announcement of the program, Lieutenant Governor Hole said, "Alberta has one of the strongest arts communities in Canada. This awards program is designed to recognize that fact and to further encourage Alberta artists.” 

In a speech in 2003, Hon Hole said, “It is only through education and art — through music, through books, through theatre — that we will find the wisdom to trade hate for compassion, to trade competition for co-operation. Education and the fine arts engage the human mind, forcing us to think in new ways, forcing us to use our most powerful tool for progress: our imagination.”