The Texas Medal of Arts Gala

Rewarding One’s Own

It’s so special that it only happens every two years. That’s right… the 2011 Texas Medal of Arts Awards which supports the Texas Cultural Trust. The gala recognized the finest Texas-tied talent in film, television, literature, journalism, multi-media, corporate, patron, music, theater and visual arts categories. We’ve attended every one since it started in the early 2000’s and it’s quite the soiree that keeps growing. The Gala Dinner and Starlight after party was held at The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas.

The event was chaired by Alice Carrington Foultz and Adair Margo, bringing their own star power to the event.

The Texas Medal of Arts Awards was a full evening of events, kicking off with the dinner where guests will sit alongside Texas arts, business, legislative, and entertainment notables. The dinner was then followed by the Awards Show emceed by 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley to spotlight Texas’ best talents the state has to offer.

The honorable evening, inspired by the National Medal of Arts, has been bestowed upon 59 Texas leaders and luminaries in the arts and entertainment industry for creative excellence and exemplary talents since its inception in 2001. This year medals were presented by Governor Rick Perry and the Awards show that included live performances ranging from high art to high octane before the night came to a memorable end with the Starlight After Party that featured live music by Dale Watson & His Lone Stars and Will Taylor & Strings Attached performing House of Wills: Songs of Willie Nelson in the Style of Bob Wills.

The 2011 Texas Medal of Arts Awards honorees were: Lifetime Achievement – Barbara Smith Conrad: Mezzo-soprano and civil rights icon whose voice has filled renowned opera houses throughout the world (Pittsburgh, TX);
 Film–Actress – Marcia Gay Harden: Oscar ®-winning actress with roles in such films as Pollock, Millers Crossing, The First Wives Club, and Mona Lisa Smile (UT Austin Graduate, Austin, TX);
 Film–Actor – Bill Paxton: Four-time Golden Globe® nominee and star of Tombstone, True Lies, Apollo 13, Twister, Titanic, and hit HBO series Big Love (Ft. Worth, TX);
 Music – ZZ Top: Legendary band that has sold over 50 million albums worldwide with eight Top 40 hits (Houston, TX);  Literary – Robert M. Edsel: Author and founder/president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art which received the 2007 National Humanities Medal (Dallas, TX);
Art Education – Thomas Staley: Educator, author, and Director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of  Texas at Austin (Austin, TX); Visual Arts – James Drake: An internationally acclaimed artist honored with inclusion in the Venice  Biennale and the Whitney Biennial and whose work in the permanent collections of over 30 museums around the world  (Lubbock, TX);
 Theatre – Alley Theatre: Internationally recognized company and recipient of the Tony Award (Houston, TX);
 Corporate – H-E-B: Grocer with 329 stores and 76,000 employees in 155 communities throughout Texas and Mexico; boasting a long history of supporting the arts throughout the state (Kerrville, TX).

For Journalism it was Bob Schieffer: CBS News Anchor of the Weekend Edition and broadcasting hall of famer (Ft. Worth, TX);
 Multi-Media – Ray Benson: Nine-time Grammy™-winning front man of the Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel and co-writer of the play A Ride With Bob based on the life and music of Bob Wills (Austin, TX);
 Individual Patrons – Ernest and Sarah Butler: Major donors to Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Long Center, Ballet Austin, University of Texas School of Music, and the Austin Lyric Opera (Austin, TX); 
 Previous honorees include Willie Nelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Laura W. Bush, Van Cliburn, Robert Rodriguez, Walter Cronkite, Nancy B. Hamon, Sandra Cisneros, Robert Raushcenberg, Clint Black, Nasher Foundation, Lyle Lovett, Austin City Limits, Neiman Marcus and Exxon Mobil. It was a night we will long remember and we can’t wait for the next one in 2013.


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