Today, May 18, the Texas State Legislature will make appointments of State Poet Laureate, State Musician, State Two-Dimensional Artist and State Three-Dimensional Artist. The list of appointees, who will be recognized in a ceremony by a House Resolution later this month, includes names familiar to Texans and the rest of the nation. Laureates are selected by a legislative-appointed committee “for the exceptional quality of their work and for their outstanding commitment to the arts in Texas.”
The positions are one-year appointments. The 2021 and 2022 appointees will be formally announced through Senate Resolutions at the Capitol today.
The 2021 appointees are as follows: Texas Poet Laureate Cyrus Cassells of Austin; Texas State Musician Leon Bridges of Fort Worth; Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Annette Lawrence of Denton; and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk of San Antonio. The 2022 appointees are Texas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez of Houston; Texas State Musician Eva Ybarra of San Antonio; Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Celia Álvarez Muñoz of Arlington; and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Jesse Lott of Houston.
“It’s an honor to be appointed the 2021 Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist and be recognized alongside artists, musicians, and poets I deeply admire,” writes Datchuk in an email to Glasstire. “In the 50 year history of this appointment, I am only a handful of women sculptors who have received this acknowledgement so this feels very personal and momentous. Thank you to the nominators and legislative committees who made this possible and I look forward to representing San Antonio and the state of Texas with this distinction. ”
“The great talents of the 2021-2022 State Artists, along with all of those who were nominated, help contribute to a distinctive cultural identity that makes Texas a great place to live, work and visit,” says State Representative Ken King, Chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, & Tourism. “It is important that we celebrate the distinguished career achievements of these artists which have enhanced the lives of so many.”
Glasstire reached out to Lawrence, who writes: “I’m honored to be named the 2021 Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist. My life in art has been supported by the Texas arts community from the beginning of my professional career in 1990. Much of what I have accomplished was made possible by museums, non-profit organizations, and galleries in Texas. I’m moved by the recognition of my peers and by this state’s acknowledgement of my contribution to the arts. This award is beautifully timed as I am embarking on a new part of my journey and experiencing Texas from a distance.”
The 2019 and 2020 recipients in the visual arts were Mary McCleary, Rick Lowe, Earlie Hudnall, Jr.and Gabriel Dawe. Past State Two- and Three-Dimensional Artists include Dixie Friend Gay (2003), James Surls (2006), Julie Speed (2014), Vincent Valdez (2015), Dario Robleto (2016), Sedrick Huckaby (2018) and Beili Liu (2018).
“These artists have made a huge impact in the arts and in the lives of Texans,” says Senator Kel Seliger. “Their works inspire others and enhance the creative spirit in us all. Texas heritage stands out because of our unique and exceptional artists who encourage dialogue, add beauty to humanity, and build bridges throughout communities.”
“In honoring these individuals, we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas’ cultural landscape,” says Gary Gibbs, Executive Director for the Texas Commission on the Arts. “These Texas State Artists are the best of the best. Their work defines our character of place and reflects the distinctive qualities that make Texas unique.”
For more information about the Texas Laureates and State Artists, please go here.
Nominees must be native Texans or have resided in the state for at least five years. They must have attained the highest levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines and earned a statewide, regional or national reputation for their high caliber work.
Any Texas citizen was able to nominate an artist in any of the four categories and self-nominations were encouraged. TCA reviewed all nominations and developed a list of finalists for submission to the Texas Poet Laureate, State Musician and State Artist Committee. The committee, composed of members appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, made the final selections. The next call for nominations will take place in the fall of 2022.