The 2017 honorees for the biennial Texas Medal of Arts Awards have been announced, and it's a pretty starry list. Recognizing "amazing Texans who have made powerful contributions to the arts here at home and around the world," the awards are given by the Texas Cultural Trust and will be held in Austin February 21-22.
This year's winners are a diverse bunch of actors, musicians, dancers, artists, writers, architects, reporters, and philanthropists. They will all be celebrated at the state's most prestigious arts gala, held for the first time at Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. The slated events include a Stars of Texas brunch at the governor’s mansion, an awards show with special musical performances, and a gala dinner.
Notable Dallas winners include architect Frank Welch, whose Texas Modern style is found throughout the city, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre for its educational initiatives.
And though Leo Villareal is linked to El Paso, where he partially grew up, the artist is famously represented in Dallas with the Buckyball lighted sculpture that holds court in NorthPark Center's CenterPark Garden.
Other recognizable names include musicians Kris Kristofferson and Kenny Rogers; Rhodes Scholar writer John Phillip Santos; and musical theater actress Renée Elise Goldsberry, who won a 2016 Tony Award for her role in Hamilton.
"People from all over Texas and from all artistic disciplines are honored and celebrated as we raise awareness about how vital the arts are to our state’s economy and our children’s education," says Texas Cultural Trust executive director Jennifer Ransom Rice in a release. "We hope for continuing and expanding support for the arts for future generations to appreciate, embrace, and enjoy."
The complete list is as follows:
Corporate Patron: John Paul & Eloise DeJoria, Paul Mitchell/Patrón Tequila, Austin
Multimedia: Kris Kristofferson, Brownsville
Individual Arts Patron: Lynn Wyatt, Houston
Dance: Lauren Anderson, Houston
Music: Yolanda Adams, Houston
Arts Education: Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas
Theater: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Houston
Foundation Patron: The Tobin Endowment, San Antonio
Visual Art: Leo Villareal, El Paso
Architecture: Frank Welch, Dallas
Literary: John Phillip Santos, San Antonio
Journalism: Scott Pelley, San Antonio
Lifetime Achievement: Kenny Rogers, Houston
To date, the Texas Medal of Arts Awards has presented 99 medals to 105 Texas legends and luminaries who have achieved greatness through their creative talents, as well as those whose generosity has opened doors to artistic opportunity for Texans of all ages. Past honorees have included Jamie Foxx, Eva Longoria, ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, Dan Rather, Neiman Marcus, Margaret McDermott, Tommy Lee Jones, Debbie Allen, Walter Cronkite, Lake Flato Architects, the Nasher Foundation, Sandra Cisneros, Clint Black, and Lyle Lovett, among others.