Texas Medal of Arts
A night full of Lone Star stars
After a decade of handing out Texas Medal of Arts Awards to the state's cultural stalwarts, you might think that the nonprofit Texas Cultural Trust would be running low on distinguished Lone Star artists, institutions, and patrons to recognize. What, in a state as big as this one? All it takes is a look at the sixth class of recipients to understand that Texas boasts more stars than you can see from McDonald Observatory, and the trust won't be lacking for worthy recipients for many years to come.
This year's awardees will be honored, fittingly enough, on the eve of Texas Independence Day, and what an illustrious crew: operatic legend Barbara Smith Conrad, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement award; accomplished actors Marcia Gay Harden and Bill Paxton (Film); that little ol' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band from Texas, ZZ Top (Music); Emmy-winning CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer (Journalism); art detective Robert M. Edsel (Literary); Houston's Tony-winning playhouse, the Alley Theatre (Theatre); dynamic visual artist James Drake (Visual Arts); Ransom Center Director Tom Staley (Arts Education); Asleep at the Wheel frontman and country swing king Ray Benson (Multi-Media); Austin philanthropists Sarah and Ernest Butler (Individual Patrons); and Texas grocery giant H-E-B (Corporate arts patron). After a gala dinner at the Long Center, the awards ceremony will be emceed by CBS News chief correspondent and 60 Minutes contributor Scott Pelley and feature performances by 2011 medal recipients Barbara Smith Conrad, the Alley Theatre, and Ray Benson with friends, plus Mariachi Damas de Jalisco, Texas Young Master Damian Green, and the University of Texas Longhorn Band. The celebration will be capped off by the Starlight After Party, at which Will Taylor and Strings Attached will perform numbers from their new CD, House of Wills: Songs of Willie Nelson in the Style of Bob Wills, and Dale Watson & His Lone Stars will perform. For more information, call 478-5289 or visit www.txculturaltrust.org.