Texas Medal of Arts Showcases Texas Big Heart and Artistic Talents

By Rob Giardinelli
Photography By Chris Caselli

What do a former Miss Corpus Christi, the owners of America’s team and a “Tuna” have in common? That would be Eva Longoria, the Jones family who own the Dallas Cowboys and Greater Tuna who were among the well-deserving recipients of this year’s biannual Texas Medal of the Arts awards, recently held in a dazzling ceremony and performance at Austin’s Long Center for the Performing Arts.

This year’s event co-chairs Marita Fairbanks and Kelli Blanton of Houston, deserve praise for providing a cavalcade of honorees who showcase Texas’ diverse and enormous contributions to the arts, not just in Texas, but around the world. This year’s A-List honorees included multimedia award recipients, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria for her contributions to television, art and philanthropy, the uber-chic Gene Jones, who along with her daughter Charlotte Jones-Anderson were presented with the Invididual Arts patron award presented to them by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, husband of Gene and father of Charlotte. The Theatre Award recipients, Jose Sears and Jatson Williams, whose Greater Tuna theatrical play series has gained legendary status around the world. Other well-deserving individual award nominees include Music Award recipient Steve Miller (of the Steve Miller Band), Visual Arts recipient James Surls, Arts Education Award recipient Big Thought’s Gigi Antoni. The Houston Ballet was also honored with the Dance Award while the Kimbell Art Foundation was the recipient of the esteemed Foundation Arts patron award.

The evening began with the red carpet arrivals and cocktail party where old friends were reacquainted and new friends were made, followed by the main event of heart-warming tributes to the honorees, and concluded with the Starlite after party, where recipients mingled and celebrated the night away, capping off the perfect way to honor those who have given so much to Texas and the beyond.


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