Once every two years, the Texas Cultural Trust puts on one of the most star-studded shows in the Lone Star State. Luminaries from El Paso to Texarkana make a point to attend the crown jewel of Trust fundraisers, the Texas Medal of Arts Awards. Think of it like Texas’ own version of the Kennedy Center Honors and you get the gist.
Throw in a dose of Dallas glamor courtesy of 2015 event chairs Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson and you can just imagine how high the fashion factor was last week at the Long Center. Even the Trust’s Executive Director Jennifer Ransom Rice pulled out all the stops in a gold jumpsuit…designed by a Texan, naturally.
Local event maven Autumn Rich partnered up with Dallas and Houston go-to creative Todd Fiscus to pull off a Hollywood-worthy red carpet event, which included a cocktail reception, a quick-paced, yet respectful awards presentation and gala dinner. Speaking of the dinner, the last time we remember seeing such a gathering of Texas glitterati was perhaps the opening of the Long Center itself. What a lovely place the city terrace continues to be to dine while overlooking the city.
The 2015 honorees came from all corners of the state and include the legendary Kilgore College Rangerettes, journalist and network stalwart Dan Rather, actor, singer and entertainer Jamie Foxx, architect Charles Renfro, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright, TONY Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan and actress Chandra Wilson. Among the other individuals and corporate entities honored were music producer T. Bone Burnett, 70s television and music superstars The Gatlin Brothers, plus two amazing philanthropists from Dallas, the arts fundraising force Ruth Altshuler and the indomitable (and 103-year old) Margaret McDermott, the latter of which gave one of the most rousing speeches of the evening.
Spotted in the crowd were a legion of the who’s who from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and beyond. A small sampling of the smart set included father and husband of the event chairs Jerry Jones, plus Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, JoAnne Christian, Ray Benson, Betty Buckley, Troy Aikman, Laura Bush, Trust Chair Charles Matthews, Linda Ball and Forrest Preece, Lynn Meredith, Rebecca Campbell and way, way too many others to name.