By Rob Giardinelli
Photography by Jim Debth and Jennifer Gonzales
THE SCENE: The Bass Concert Hall in Austin was the setting for a highly entertaining evening that showcased iconic Texas legends and their contributions to the arts. The ninth biennial Texas Cultural Trust’s Texas Medal of Arts Awards honored individuals whose impact on the arts has been felt the world over – and fortunately we get to claim them as Texans.
THE VIBE: The evening began as honorees and other VIPs strolled the red carpet for a quick snap before entering the Bass Concert Hall foyer where the event co-chairs Guillermo Nicholas and Peter Holt and Texas Cultural Trust Executive Director Jennifer Ransom Rice personally welcomed guests at the main entrance. Partygoers were treated to a lively cocktail hour where the crowd mingled in anticipation of the line-up ahead – and what a line-up it was.
When the thousand guests who were on hand to celebrate this special evening took their seats, the high energy was palpable as Debbie Allen effortlessly emceed an evening that showcased the incredible spectrum of individuals who have left their impact on the arts— not only in Texas, but also throughout the world. Honorees included internationally known figures including John Paul and Eloise DeJoria who received the Corporate Patron Award, music legend Kris Kristofferson, Tony-Award winner Renee Elise Goldsberry, CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, the original Texas Jet-Setter Lynn Wyatt who received the Individual Arts Patron Award, and Bruce Bugg who accepted for The Tobin Endowment. The presentation concluded with all the honorees joining Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Kenny Rogers along with Texas music legends including The Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson, Charlie Sexton, Dale Watson and Vikki Carr as they serenaded Rogers with their rendition of Ruby, The Gambler and Me and Bobby McGee.
After the performance, the fun continued as the artistically inclined attendees gathered in the exquisitely decorated tent on the Bass Concert Hall foyer for music, conversation and a delicious meal catered by The RK Group. The good times continued well into the night as the honorees seamlessly mingled with admirers for a once-in-a-lifetime experience those of us were fortunate enough to attend will not soon forget.
THE CAUSE: The event raised $1.88 million dollars for the Texas Cultural Trust, an organization devoted to promoting the importance of the arts to both children’s education and the Texas economy.