Long Center supporters do a funding turnaround by asking the city for $25 million in bond money, another bunch of Lone Stars are being honored by the Texas Cultural Trust Council with Texas Medal of the Arts Awards, and John Walch wins an award from the American Theatre Critics Association.
Long Center Wants City Cash
As noted in last week's Chronicle, Arts Center Stage is pulling an about-face in its drive to develop the Long Center for the Performing Arts. After five years of promises that the center would be built strictly with private funds, the organization is asking the city to kick $25 million into the project, via bond money approved for the flood control tunnel on Waller Creek. The pitch goes like this: With the Waller project now budgeted at twice the $25 million that voters approved in 1998 and no way for the city to build even a scaled-back version anytime soon, the project is dead in the water, so to speak. Meanwhile, Long Center construction needs to start this year to be complete in 2006, when the ballet, symphony, and opera have to be out of UT's Bass Concert Hall. Adding the Waller project's $25 million to the $62 million Arts Center Stage has already raised will give the organization enough money to break ground. It will still be shy $23 million for the full job but will be in a better position to collect donations with construction under way. The tunnel's supporters aren't yet ready to give up on the project -- or the money, but the matter will have to be decided by Austin voters, possibly in the May 3 city election. For Mike Clark-Madison's take on the matter, see this week's Austin@Large.
Texas Arts Honors
Another bunch of Lone Stars are being honored by the Texas Cultural Trust Council with Texas Medal of the Arts Awards. The TCTC inaugurated the awards in 2000 to recognize "distinguished Texas artists and persons or organizations that have encouraged the development of the arts in Texas, through their personal achievements or unfailing support." The sophomore class of recipients are: John Graves (Lifetime Achievement); Marca Lee Bircher (Arts Education); Sandra Cisneros (Literary Arts); Glenna Goodacre (Visual Arts); Enid Holm (Theatre); Lydia Mendoza (Folk Arts); Fess Parker (Media-Film/Television Acting); Charley Pride (Music); Tommy Tune (Dance); the State Capitol Preservation Project, headed by Dealey Herndon (Historic Preservation); Nancy B. Hamon (Individual Arts Patron); Houston Endowment (Foundation Arts Patron); and ExxonMobil (Corporate Arts Patron). The Texas Cultural Trust Awards will be presented Tuesday, March 25 at the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress. Tickets are $150. For information, call 877/677-8995 or visit www.txculturaltrust.org.
Big Win for Walch
The American Theatre Critics Association has chosen John Walch to receive its 2003 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, given each year to an up-and-coming playwright. The association's New Plays Committee selected the former artistic director of Austin Script Works based on the strength of The Dinosaur Within, his Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays winner which the State Theater Company premiered in January 2002. The award, which honors the memory of Elizabeth Osborn, a noted author, script editor, and mentor to playwrights, comes with a $1,000 cash grant and a plaque, which will be presented to Walch on March 8 in a ceremony at Sardi's in New York City. As Walch is currently living in Brooklyn and is an Alfred P. Sloan playwriting fellow with the Manhattan Theatre Club, he won't have to travel far. Austin American-Statesman critic Michael Barnes is the American Theatre Critics Association's current chair and this reporter serves on its executive committee, but neither of us used our power to swing this award for Walch. It's all his.