Arthouse Texas Prize: Big Winner Eileen Maxson!
A glittering crowd gathered in the Driskill Hotel on Friday, Nov. 4, to watch Eileen Maxson of Houston take home the first Arthouse Texas Prize
Texas Excess was the name of the party to announce the first winner of the Arthouse Texas Prize, the new regional art award with a $30,000 honorarium attached. A glittering crowd gathered in the Driskill Hotel's grand hallway on Friday, Nov. 4, to watch Eileen Maxson of Houston take home the goods. Visual artists are not known for their speechifying, and Eileen was thrilled beyond words as she accepted the award from former Gov. Ann Richards. Richards mentioned the frontier heritage of Texans and said the award acknowledged the role of visual artists as cultural leaders.
The four finalists Ludwig Schwarz of Dallas and Houston artists Robyn O'Neil, Robert A. Pruitt, and Maxson were all present and enjoying the limelight. Arts professionals, artists, and business leaders from across the country rubbed shoulders and showed their support. Before the announcement, jury member James Elaine, curator from the UCLA Hammer Museum, said there was quite a bit of disagreement while narrowing the field of 129 nominations down to the four finalists but that this last round of voting was nearly unanimous and went quickly. According to Sue Graze, director of Arthouse, "The jury enthusiastically embraced the merit of her work and her authentic artistic voice. They are thrilled to participate in launching her career." Arthouse achieved Mission Success with this memorable event, creating a benchmark for fun downtown parties in Austin and setting a significant standard for supporting visual arts across Texas. Congratulations to Eileen Maxson, and here's wishing that all of the finalists have an outstanding 2006.