On Wednesday, Jan 22, the Artist Foundation of San Antonio
held the 2013 Awards Reception for grant winners at the Plaza Club. Founded by Bettie Ward and Patricia Pratchett (pictured, from left to right) in 2006, the non-profit organization has supported local artists and the presence of their work in San Antonio for nearly a decade. In addition to awarding generous grants, the Artist Foundation focuses on increasing the exposure of artists in the community with events like the annual Moveable Art Party, held during Contemporary Art Month. Awarding grants and holding events such as this further the primary goals of the Artist Foundation: to support artists, stimulate the art market of San Antonio and Bexar County, and encourage a heightened awareness of the arts in everyday life.
Since its inception, the Artist Foundation has awarded $512,000 to 92 artists across a wide spectrum of creative disciplines. Each year, the organization reaches out to local artists for project proposals that will generate new, original works. Judging of these proposals occurs online, involving a panel of jurors across the nation and abroad. This method of evaluation is meant to diversify and further the professionalism of the process. The four major categories of awards given annually include the Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Media Arts and Performing Arts. Each grant is worth $5,000. The Artist Foundation of San Antonio also considers the winners of the aforementioned grants for an additional award: the prestigious Robert L.B. Tobin Grand Prize for Artistic Excellence, worth $7,500.
On the 21st floor of the Frost Bank Tower, the Plaza Club presented ceremony attendees with a dazzling view of the evening city skyline; an open bar, warm lighting and live music by Rich and Katch Duo further ensured a cozy atmosphere. Paula Owen, current President of the Southwest School of Art, directed the ceremony, but different members of the San Antonio arts community presented each prize. The award recipients themselves proved to be a diverse bunch, including men, women, emerging artists, established artists and people of several different ethnic backgrounds. However, Linda Hardberger, who presented the Tobin Theatre Arts Award in Costume, argued that the winners shared two fundamental characteristics: “This is a room full of the overachieving and the underrepresented.” According to Owen, a total of 135 local artists completed grant applications to the Artist Foundation in 2013. Julia Langenberg, the young recipient of the Alan Beckstead Award for Original Production, was also awarded the Robert Tobin Grand Prize for Artistic Excellence.
Before introducing each winner, Owen read an excerpt from the Artist Foundation Survey, which anonymously records previous grant recipients’ thoughts. These comments unilaterally rang with gratitude, but perhaps the most eloquent insight was this: “The award was a spark that motivated the creation of a project that might not otherwise have had the opportunity to germinate.”
On March 8, the Artist Foundation will hold their annual Moveable Art Party event from 6-11 p.m. at the Blue Star Arts Complex.
A list of the winners in each category:
Literary Arts – Laurie Ann Guerrero
Visual Arts – Döerte Weber
Media Arts – Scott Martin
Music Composition – Francisco "YiYi" Orozco
Choreography – Amber Ortega-Perez
Original Production – Julia Langenberg
Classical Singing – Dana Beth Miller
Tobin Theatre Arts Award for Set Design – Karen Arredondo
Tobin Theatre Arts Award for Costume Design – Catherine Cisneros
Robert L.B. Tobin Grand Prize for Artistic Excellence – Julia Langenberg