As one of the inaugural Texas Medal of Arts honorees, it was fitting that Emmy Award-winning choreographer and actress Debbie Allen returned to hometown Houston on Tuesday to join the Texas Cultural Trust in announcing its 2013 honorees.
Taking a break from her role in Grey's Anatomy, for which she directed this season's third episode, Allen told the gathering at Houston Ballet Center for Dance that with these awards, "Texas is acknowledging and claiming the diaspora of great talent that has gone out of Texas and is making a difference in the world."
Saluting the impact of arts worldwide, Allen said, "The most powerful diplomacy we have is cultural diplomacy."
Setting for announcement of the awards, which will be presented at a two-day event in Austin in March, could not have been more appropriate as Houston Ballet was named Dance Award honoree. Ballet executive director Jim Nelson welcomed the gathering of local and statewide cultural leaders.
"The most powerful diplomacy we have is cultural diplomacy."
In addition to Houston Ballet, award recipients are Dallas' Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson honored with the Individual Arts Patron Award, the Kimball Arts Foundation with the Foundation Arts Patron Award, Texas Monthly with the Corporate Arts Patron award, Big Thought/Gigi Antoni with the Arts Education Award, James Surls with the Visual Arts Award, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams of Greater Tuna fame with the Theatre Award, Steve Miller with the Music Award and Desperate Housewives' Ricardo Chavira with the Television/Film Award.
Kelli Blanton and Marita Fairbanks, chairs of the March festivities, joined Patricia Dewhurst, Awards honorary chair and Texas Cultural Trust board member, in the program.
Notables in the luncheon gathering included the Alley Theater's Gregory Boyd and Dean Gladden, artist Jesus Moroles, The Art Guys, Houston Arts Alliance CEO Jonathon Glus, HoustonPBS' Ernie Manouse, the Mayor's assistant for cultural affairs Minnette Boesel, Eddy Blanton, Merrill and Joe Hafner, Phoebe Tudor, Philamena Baird, Isabel David, Jennifer Roosth, Patsy Chapman and Philamena Baird.