ALH ANNOUNCES TOP HONORS FOR
2023 ANNUAL AWARDS
2023 TEXAS ARTIST OF THE YEAR AWARD
2023 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD IN ARTS LEADERSHIP
2023 TEXAS PATRON OF THE YEAR AWARD
CECILY E. HORTON
For almost four decades, Art League Houston (ALH) has honored the brightest lights in the arts in Texas. This year, ALH proudly announces the selection of Vincent Valdez as the 2023 Texas Artist of the Year, Wendy Watriss as the recipient of the biennial 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts Leadership, and Cecily E. Horton as the 2023 Texas Patron of the Year.
“ALH has a long history of supporting visionary artists and ground-breaking artistic leaders in our state” states Jennie Ash, Art League Houston Director. “As we celebrate ALH’s 75th anniversary, we are proud to honor the incredible Texas painter Vincent Valdez; internationally known photographer, curator, writer, and FotoFest co-founder Wendy Watriss, as well as beloved long-time arts advocate and philanthropic leader, Cecily E. Horton. All three honorees exemplify the highest level of artistic vision, leadership, and advocacy within the Texas region, and stand apart as leading figures and visionary talents.”
“I’m honored to have served on the selection panel for the 2023 Texas Artist of the Year,” says Anna Walker, Executive Director, Lawndale Art Center, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “It’s an incredible award and Vincent Valdez is well deserving of this recognition. I still remember one of my first experiences of Valdez’s work, a charcoal drawing of a boxer laid out, lifeless on a table. His careful draftsmanship of each wrinkle in the cloth and the haunting depths of charcoal around the figure stay with me. I’m so excited to see him receive an award that honors his artistic practice and the important contributions he has made to contemporary art in Texas.”
“I’ve followed Vincent’s work since his exhibition ‘Without End’ at the University of Texas at Arlington in 2008,” says Christopher Blay, Writer and Chief Curator at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in Houston, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “I had the privilege of meeting him at a reception afterwards and shared my enthusiasm for the grit and nuances in his practice. That practice has developed over the years since and has become an important contribution to contemporary art in Texas. We are fortunate to have Vincent as part of the Texas art landscape and no one is more deserving of this honor at such a pivotal moment in their practice. I join my colleagues in expressing sincere congratulations to Vincent as the 2023 Texas Artist of the Year.”
“Vincent Valdez is one of the most recognizable artists in the state, who continuously uses his work to activate audiences to think more critically and deeply,” says Vivian Li, the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “His insistence to understand our collective history—and all its ghoulish pathos and beauty—seeks to replace it with humanity and dignity.”
“In a city where the arts are supported by a strong group of patrons, professionals, and dedicated volunteers, Wendy Watriss remains at the forefront of all efforts to create a unique profile for the city of Houston as a place that truly celebrates our creative communities,” says Dr. Alvia J. Wardlaw, Art Historian, Director, and Curator, Texas Southern University Museum, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “Her creation of and continuous development of FotoFest has made Houston a place of special support for those throughout the world for whom photography is a passion and a calling. As she continues her work without her partner Fred Baldwin, her heart, her ideas, and her vision continue to impact all of us.“
“Through her work at FotoFest, Wendy Watriss, along with her husband Fred Baldwin, made Houston a center and a force for photography that is recognized the world over,” says Jon Evans, Chief of Libraries and Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “As the oldest photography festival of its kind in the United States, FotoFest set the standard for how these events could and should foster artists and impact a city’s culture. This was carried out through their rich exhibitions, programming, and educational offerings, not to mention the critical engagement with photographers as part of the portfolio review experience. We all owe Wendy a debt of gratitude for making FotoFest a vital part of our Houston DNA that helps to illuminate our city.”
“As an award-winning photographer, through the vision of Wendy Watriss and Fred Baldwin and their efforts for FotoFest, my fine arts career found a worldwide stage,” says Earlie Hudnall, Jr., artist and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “Wendy has been a beacon of light not just for myself but for photographers everywhere.”
Wendy Watriss is one of the most accomplished women I have ever known,” says Betty Moody, Founder and Director, Moody Gallery, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “She is internationally known as an American photographer, teacher, curator, journalist, writer and FotoFest co-founder. Her achievements in and contributions to photography are stunning. She has enriched the world of photography in Houston and beyond, and certainly is most deserving of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations Wendy!”
“For the past 30+ years, Cecily E. Horton has been a devoted supporter of artists and organizations in Houston; she has been generous with her time, intellect and funds,” says Kerry Inman, Founder and Director, Inman Gallery, and 2023 Award Selection Committee Member. “Honestly, it is hard to imagine our ecosystem without her. She prefers to be ‘behind the scenes’, but it is time for her to step up and take a bow! The selection committee was thrilled to unanimously vote for Cecily as ALH’s 2023 Patron of the Year and we look forward to celebrating with her.”
“Cecily Horton has been a steadfast supporter of the arts in Houston over three decades,” says Cindi Strauss, Sara and Bill Morgan Curator of Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. “Non-profit art organizations large and small as well as an untold number of artists have benefited from her generosity. Her support, enthusiasm, dedication of time, and wise counsel have helped us all enormously and have resulted in lasting friendships across the community. Without Cecily, experiencing art in Houston would not be what it is today. I cannot think of a more deserving honoree.”
“Cecily Horton’s consistent impact on art and culture is unrivaled,” says John Guess, Jr, Chief Executive Officer at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in Houston, Texas, and recipient of the 2022 Texas Patron of the Year award. “Her support for art and culture has always been inclusive and wide ranging. She makes Texas, and the country, a better place.”
“It is a joy to witness a longtime friend Cecily Horton be celebrated, especially as it is not something she would pursue,” says Eleanor L Williams, Private Art Dealer and former Lawndale Executive Director (1994-2000). “She is an understated, intelligent, curious “thingest”. For the record she is often an anonymous, behind the scenes community supporter.”
The ALH Annual Award honorees are selected by a distinguished committee of artists and arts professionals. The selection committee for the 2023 Texas Artist of the Year consisted of the following: Christopher Blay, Writer and Chief Curator at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in Houston, Texas; Letitia Huckaby, Texas Artist of the Year Award recipient in 2022 (Fort Worth, TX); Vivian Li, the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas, TX); (Houston, TX) and Anna Walker, Executive Director, Lawndale Art Center (Houston, TX). The selection committee for the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts Leadership consisted of the following: Jon Evans, Chief of Libraries and Archives, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX); Camilo Gonzalez, Education, and Technical Director, Aurora Picture Show (Houston, TX); Earlie Hudnall, Jr., Artist (Houston, TX); Betty Moody, Founder and Director, Moody Gallery, (Houston, TX); Dr. Alvia J. Wardlaw (Art Historian, Director, and Curator, Texas Southern University Museum). The selection committee for the 2023 Texas Patron of the Year consisted of the following: John Bradshaw, Non-Profit Consultant (Houston, TX); Kerry Inman, Founder and Director, Inman Gallery (Houston, TX); and Seba Raquel Suber, Deputy Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (Houston, TX)
A solo exhibition celebrating the work of Vincent Valdez will be presented from September 15 – December 2, 2023, accompanied by its own published, limited edition artist catalog. All three awardees will be celebrated at ALH’s annual gala, which will be held in their honor on Friday, October 13, 2023, at Hotel ZAZA. For more information about sponsorship and tickets, contact Jennie Ash at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-523-9530 ext.1006.
2023 Texas Patron of the Year Award
CECILY E. HORTON
Cecily E. Horton is a devoted and beloved arts professional and philanthropist who has made a sustained and transformational impact in the Texas community through her support of the arts. From her first days, at Hiram Butler Gallery, Cecily has promoted artists and their work for thirty-five years in Houston. Her patronage also extends to local arts and culture organizations, helping the city’s arts eco-system flourish.
Her dedicated pursuit of advancing the arts is evident in the many professional roles she has assumed throughout her career which include: Partner and Director (Appraisals), MKG Art Management, Houston; Print Specialist, Moody Gallery, Houston; Director, Hiram Butler Gallery, Houston; and Assistant to the Executive Director, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, Boston.
Cecily continues to be an active and valued member of the art community and currently sits on boards at the Menil Collection, participating on the Collections Committee (2020-present); Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, serving as chair of the Decorative Arts Subcommittee, and current member of the Collections Committee, and Conservation, Library and Arts of Europe Subcommittees (1999-2022); and Glassell School of Art, serving as former chair and current member of the Core Committee (1990-present). Previously, she has served as a trustee at Artadia (2010-2022), and Lawndale Art Center (1989-1999), and participated on advisory boards at the Blaffer Museum, University of Houston; Davis Museum, Wellesley College; and Gulf Coast (Artlies).