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City of San Antonio Celebrates Achievements in Arts and Culture with Third Annual Distinction in the Arts

Posted 2 years 149 days ago ago by Javier Flores (WHO)


Contact: Javier A. Flores, Department of Arts & Culture


City of San Antonio Celebrates Achievements in Arts and Culture with Third Annual Distinction in the Arts

2017 Honorees Include: Vernon Spot Barnett, Cesar Martinez, Belinda Menchaca, Paula Owen, Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts, and Carmen Tafolla

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 27, 2017) – Five renowned San Antonio creatives and one San Antonio-based arts organization will be the spotlight of the 2017 Distinction in the Arts. This third-annual event celebrating achievements in arts and culture will take place Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. 

This year’s event - celebrating achievements in the fields of music, dance, literary arts, visual arts, arts patronage, and arts administration – is being presented by the San Antonio Arts Commission, District 1 Councilman Roberto C. Treviño, and the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture. 

“The arts in San Antonio show the world who we are as a community. They create a legacy that generations will remember and celebrate,” Councilman Treviño said. “It is important that we honor those who devote their lives to continuing that legacy, so that our stories do not go untold or forgotten.” 

The 2017 Distinction in the Arts honorees are: 

Music: Vernon Spot Barnett was the most important bandleader in San Antonio in the 1950s and 1960s. He began playing blues with Jr. Moore and Big Walter Price. In addition to recording his own songs, Barnett has recorded with Ike & Tina Turner, Bobby Bland, and the Westside Horns, to name a few. Today, Barnett continues to influence generations of San Antonio musicians.

Visual Arts: Cesar Martinez is a major figure in the Chicano Art Movement of the late 1970s and 1980s, and whose portraits have become icons of Latino art history. Martinez’s work has been included in landmark exhibits including “La Frontera/The Border: Art About the Mexican/U.S. Border Experience,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego; and “CARA: Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation 1965-1985,” organized by the Smithsonian Institute, to name a few.

Dance: Belinda Menchaca is the Education Director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, where she has served the organization in various capacities for 25 years. She created the Guadalupe Dance Academy as a training ground for all ages and continues to teach Flamenco dance for children and adults. Over the years Menchaca has developed successful outreach programs, which provide educational lecture demonstrations for elementary, middle and high school students.

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 is a published writer, practicing artist, and has been the curator of many exhibitions.

Arts Patron/Foundation: Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts was established by Russell Hill Rogers in 1986, shortly before his untimely death. Rogers, a San Antonio businessman, philanthropist and patron of the arts, was active for more than 40 years in most of San Antonio’s arts organizations. The fund benefits arts organizations and provides arts offerings available to residents of Bexar County. It has supported numerous arts organizations including: Gemini Ink, Blue Star Contemporary, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio and many others.

Literary Arts: Carmen Tafolla, Ph.D., San Antonio’s inaugural Poet Laureate, is an internationally-published poet and writer. She is the author of more than 20 books, including five books of poetry. 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 also served as Texas State Poet Laureate for 2015.

This yearly program, initiated by Councilman Treviño, honors those who have worked to advance and maintain the cultural vibrancy of San Antonio. Honorees were selected by a committee of San Antonio arts community members including: Rene Barilleaux, Henry Brun, Freda Facey, Valeria Hernandez, and Faith Radle. 

The community is invited to attend the awards reception on October 17. The event will take place at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts from 6-9 p.m., and is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. RSVPs can be made through Eventbrite (keyword: Distinction in the Arts 2017 Celebration). 



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Sunday, February 23, 2020