César Martínez - Visual Arts
San Antonio-based César Martínez was born in 1944 in Laredo, Texas. A major figure in the Chicano Art Movement of the late 1970s and 1980s, Martinez’s portraits are icons of Latino art history.
Martinez’s work has been included in the landmark exhibits La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexican/U.S. Border Experience, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Centro Cultural de la Raza, San Diego; CARA: Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985, organized by the Smithsonian Institute; and Hispanic Art in the United States, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
He has also shown at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago; Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; the San Antonio Museum of Art; and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.
Dr. Carmen TAfolla - Literary Arts
Dr. Carmen Tafolla, San Antonio’s Inaugural Poet Laureate, is an internationally published poet and writer and a native of the city’s West Side barrios. She is the author of more than twenty books, including five books of poetry. Her literary works have appeared in more than 200 journals, anthologies, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, and kindergarten “Big Books.” The tremendous diversity of her writings and her speeches reflect a joyful celebration of community, and an affirmation of individual and cultural strength.
Dr. Tafolla has been involved with a myriad of local arts and cultural organizations as a board member and artist participant and has presented at all of the colleges, universities and school districts in the greater San Antonio region. She is also one of the co-founders of CantoMundo, a national poetry workshop and creative development space for Latino poets. Alex Haley, author of Roots, called Tafolla “a world-class writer”.
Spot Barnett - Music
Vernon “Spot” Barnett was the most important bandleader in San Antonio in the 1950s and 1960s. He was born in 1936 in San Marcos and moved to San Antonio in 1940. At the age of nine, he got his first sax from Sears. He got his start playing blues with Jr. Moore and Big Walter Price. He toured the world with Bobby “Blue” Bland, Ike and Tina Turner, and others as a player and musical director. In addition to recording his own songs, Spot recorded with Jr. Moore, Big Walter Price, Bobby Bland, Ike & Tina Turner, and the Westside Horns to name a few.
Barnett has influenced generations of San Antonio musicians, he and his colleagues have been living witnesses, participants and guiding forces—they were white, black and brown musicians who mingled in ways that were not happening as often anywhere else in Texas. He was a signature influencer on the ‘West Side tone’ with musicians Arturo “Sauce” Gonzalez, bassist Nano “Freddy Hill” Aguilar, singer “Little Roger” Gonzalez and West Side Horns’ legends Louie Bustos and Al Gomez. Barnett was also an influence to up and coming musicians such as Doug Sahm, and Future Texas Tornado Drummer Ernie Durawa.
Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the ARts - Patron / Foundation
Russell Hill Rogers, a San Antonio businessman, philanthropist and patron of the arts, was active for over 40 years active in most of San Antonio’s arts organizations. He served on boards of the San Antonio Symphony Society, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the McNay Art Museum.
Shortly before his untimely death in 1986, Mr. Rogers established the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts for the “support, encouragement, and preservation of the creative and performing arts.” Its specific purpose is to benefit arts organizations and provide arts offerings available to residents of Bexar County. The Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts has supported numerous cultural organizations, including ARTS San Antonio, Blue Star Contemporary Art, Carver Community Cultural Center, Children's Chorus, Gemini Ink, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Jewish Community Center Theater, KLRN-TV, KPAC, Las Casas Foundation/Majestic, McNay Art Museum, San Anto Cultural Arts, San Pedro Playhouse, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Symphony, Southwest School of Art, Witte Museum, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, as well as numerous colleges and universities.
Belinda Menchaca - Dance
Ms. Menchaca is the Education Director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC). She is celebrating her 25th Anniversary with the GCAC and has served in various capacities including Dance Program director, Programs Manager and PR/Marketing Director since beginning at the GCAC in 1992. She created the Guadalupe Dance Academy as a training ground for all ages and continues to teach Flamenco dance for children and adults.
Ms. Menchaca now serves as Education Director overseeing all Academy classes, educational outreach programs, school tours and visits as well as workshops and summer camps. Over the years Menchaca has developed successful outreach programs, which provide educational lecture demonstrations for elementary, middle and high school students. A native of San Antonio, Belinda graduated from Trinity University in 1984 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Journalism.
Paula Owen - Arts Administration
Paula Owen began her tenure as President of the Southwest School of Art in1996. Since then, the school’s size, scope, and influence have grown considerably and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program has been added, enhancing its dedication to facilitating the development of 21st Century skills through art. Owen has served on national and regional boards and panels, including for the Pew Artist Fellowships and the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently serves on the board of Centro San Antonio, on VisitSA's Cultural Task Force, and on the Public Art Committee.
Owen is a published writer and co-authored the book, Objects and Meaning: New Perspectives on Art and Craft, published by Scarecrow Press. She has also been the curator of many exhibitions and written numerous exhibition catalogs. Paula Owen is also a practicing artist and holds an MFA in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has shown her work in numerous group and solo shows throughout the nation.