Jamie Foxx leads all-star cast of honorees at 2015 Texas Medal of Arts
- Music: T Bone Burnett (Fort Worth)
- Film: Jamie Foxx(Terrell)
- Dance: Kilgore Rangerettes (Kilgore)
- Visual Arts: Rick Lowe (Houston)
- Literary Arts: Lawrence Wright(Austin)
- Theatre: Robert Schenkkan (Austin)
- Architecture: Charles Renfro (Houston)
- Television: Dan Rather (Wharton)
- Television: Chandra Wilson (Houston)
- Corporate Arts Patron: Dr Pepper Snapple Group(Plano)
- Individual Arts Patron: Margaret McDermott(Dallas)
- Multimedia: Emilio Nicolas (San Antonio)
- Arts Education: Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (Dallas)
- Standing Ovation Award: Ruth Altshuler(Dallas)
- Lifetime Achievement Award: The Gatlin Brothers(Seminole)
When it was showtime, guests packed into the auditorium and gave a warm welcome to special guest emcees Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, who call NFL games on Fox Sports. Their funny banter ranged from topics as the controversial catch/no catch debate from earlier in the year to Aikman’s Super Bowl trophy to Willie Nelson.
During the presentation, every award recipient received a proper moment of glory. Noteworthy presenters — including Chris Harrison from ABC’s The Bachelor and 2009 Theatre Award recipient Betty Buckley — listed the honorees’ accolades, which were followed by short videos and their acceptance speeches.
Although the night was not lacking in excitement — with performances by the Gatlin Brothers, Steve Miller, and Texas Young Masters Ani Mayo and Amber Pickens — two award recipients from Dallas won the hearts of all audience members with their candid, comedic remarks at the podium.
Terrell native Jamie Foxx invited all of the recipients onstage for a rendition of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say,” with Foxx at the piano and Ray Benson on guitar.
First up was 103-year-old Margaret McDermott, who was escorted onstage by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. The longtime Dallas philanthropist took us through her family history to shed some light on why she became so passionate about the arts — a passion that led to immense support of the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas Health Science Center, the Dallas Public Library System and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, just to name a few.
She kept the crowd roaring with candid stories about her affluent family. She also told me, on the red carpet, that although she has been to some beautiful places in her lifetime to look at amazing art (“Well, London and Paris are pretty nice,” she said), she still thinks that Dallas boasts some of the best. She exited the stage to a standing ovation.
Next up was Ruth Altshuler who was presented her award by her neighbor and dear friend, former first lady Laura Bush. Altshuler had the audience in her hand within seconds and she came out on the arm of Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.
“I just got escorted by Jason Garrett,” she said. “How do you like them apples?”
Altshuler, who has been involved in countless philanthropic efforts — Salvation Army, United Way, AT&T Performing Arts Center, the list goes on — thanked the Texas Cultural Trust for improving access to arts education for all Texas students.
The final trio of recipients carried the most star power: Chandra Wilson, Dan Rather and Jamie Foxx, all of whom accepted their awards to hoots and hollers from the crowd.
Wilson gave big props to Houston for shaping her into the type of woman she is today. Rather got bonus points from all of the ladies in the crowd, because the majority of his speech revolved around his wife, Jean. He praised her not only for her artistic abilities, but also for the knowledge that she bestowed on him throughout the years as he polished his craft.
Foxx ended the awards portion of the evening with a walk-through of some of his most beloved impersonations as a comedian and a touching story about his grandmother, who raised him. This proud Terrell native then invited all of the recipients onstage for a rendition of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say,” with Foxx at the piano and Ray Benson (who says he’s a CultureMap fan) on guitar.
Post awards, recipients and attendees headed to an elaborate tent, which had been transformed by Todd Events into a purple and green botanical wonderland. Todd Fiscus himself was present for this big-deal dinner, along with fellow Dallasites Jerry Jones, Shy Anderson, Jennifer Sampson and Micki Rawlings.
During the feast — beet salad, beef tenderloin with mushroom risotto and chocolate cake — guests heard from the co-chairs one last time. Anderson and Jones thanked everyone who made the night possible, including Texas Cultural Trust chairman Charles Matthews and honorary chairs Gov. Greg Abbott and Cecilia Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Susan Patrick, and Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Julie Straus.
Proceeds from the evening benefit the programs administered by the Texas Cultural Trust, including the Texas Young Masters program. The Texas Medal of Arts Awards are handed out every other year to Texans who exhibit lifelong achievement in their area of expertise.