The Texas Cultural Trust’s Texas Medal of Arts Award is touted as the state’s most respected arts recognition. Held February 26-27, 2019, the 10th biennial awards honored 11 Texas luminaries and organizations, including three Austin recipients, for their contributions to the arts. This year’s honorees included Matthew McConaughey for film, Brandon Maxwell for design, Mark Seliger for multimedia, Jennifer Holliday for theater, Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar of Snohetta for architecture, Boz Scaggs for music, the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications & Fine Arts for Arts Education and more.
Co-chaired by Leslie Blanton and Leslie Ward, the celebration kicked off with an Arts Alive! cocktail reception at the Blanton Museum of Art on the evening of February 26, followed by a Rise with the Arts Brunch at the Texas Governor’s Mansion the morning of February 27, where Governor Greg Abbott presented medals to each honoree. The festivities wrapped up with a glamorous red carpet reception at the Long Center for the Performing Arts followed by the awards show and gala dinner. The awards were attended by more than 1,000 people and raised nearly $1.8 million for increased access to the arts and arts education in Texas.
This star-studded night kicked off with an exclusive red carpet reception, where honorees walked the red carpet behind a stunning step and repeat made up of over 25,000 silk rose petals. Matthew McConaughey walked the red carpet and enjoyed the awards with his wife, Camila Alves, mother, Mary Kathlene McCabe, and three children, Levi, Vida and Livingston.
At age 34, Brandon Maxwell became the award’s youngest recipient and the first to be recognized for fashion design. Glamorous Texan Lynn Wyatt, Brandon’s “forever muse” and the voice behind his latest ad campaign, presented the award to Brandon. Fresh off a whirlwind weekend at the Oscars, where he dressed Lady Gaga in her Oscar-winning ballgown, Brandon expressed gratitude to his family and educators for providing him with access to arts education, stating “I believe that my life would never have taken me to the places it has if it were not for art programs.”
He also said, “I never dreamed of being able to make anything of my life. Really, I just wanted to work everyday to do something that I thought mattered and that could also make people feel good, so I’m very honored to be recognized with this award.”
Brandon shared the stage with fellow honoree Mark Seliger, who was recognized for photography. Like Brandon, Mark had just wrapped up his work at the 2019 Academy Awards, where he shot over 90 portraits inside Vanity Fair’s Oscar Portrait Studio.
During the awards show, each honoree was recognized for their contributions to the arts in between legendary performances by 2019 honorees Grammy award-winning Boz Scaggs, Tony award-winning Jennifer Holliday, Grammy award-winning Ray Benson and Van Cliburn International Piano Competition medalist Kenny Broberg. The gala dinner took place on the H-E-B Terrace and featured a stunning 111-foot art installation by contemporary artist Susan Scafati Shahan.
To view the full list of 2019 Texas Medal of Arts honorees and their bios, please visit here.