Texas Women For The Arts Honors Annual Champion Of The Arts Award

By Jonathan Spindel
Photography by Ralph Duke

THE SCENE: Recently over 150 women from across the state experienced why Amarillo is the perfect place to get a big taste of Texas mixed with a small town charm. The 11th Annual Meeting of Texas Women for the Arts, themed The Romance of the Texas Panhandle – An Affair to Remember, featured many of the city’s unique arts and culture amenities. The ruggedly beautiful landscape provided a stunning background for the events, while Amarillo’s renowned arts scene and the city’s colorful history provided an unforgettable cultural experience.

THE VIBE: The yearly gathering culminated in the 2016 Champion of the Arts Award, which recognizes a Texas Women for the Arts member who has made significant contributions to the arts statewide, and whose work has embodied the mission and vision of the organization. This year’s honoree is Amarillo resident, cultural icon, and civic leader, Sandra Gilliland. A life-long patron of the arts, Sandra was instrumental in building the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, raising $33 million and creating a children’s education center that today works with schools in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. She continues her support of the arts with scholarships, sponsorships, donations, events, creative ideas, leadership, and volunteerism with a passion that shows. The Champion of the Arts Award was was created by Texas Monthly, generous sponsor of the Texas Cultural Trust and Texas Women for the Arts. This year’s award was also sponsored by Ron Boyd of Duncan & Boyd Jewelers.

THE CAUSE: Program co-chairs and Amarillo residents Sharon Oeschger and Charlotte Rhodes, along with their host committee, organized the event, which honored its impactful membership while disbursing much-needed funds to arts initiatives to awaken and nurture the artist in every Texas child. 

Texas Women for the Arts, a giving circle of the Texas Cultural Trust, is an alliance of Texas women funding initiatives for the arts and arts education programs throughout the state. Since its inception in 2005, Texas Women for the Arts has awarded nearly $1.6 million in grants to 99 arts organizations, impacting more than a million children across the state. The Texas Cultural Trust promotes the importance of the arts in educating our children and sustaining our vibrant Texas economy, through awareness, outreach, economic research, and arts education for public school students.

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