“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.”
The Texas State Legislature began making appointments on May 18 to the positions of state poet laureate, state musician, state two-dimensional artist, and state three-dimensional artist. The positions, created by SB 1043 of the 77th Legislature, are filled for one-year terms. The eight appointees for 2021 and 2022 were selected by a legislative-appointed committee for the exceptional quality of their work and for their outstanding commitment to the arts in Texas.
The 2021 appointees include 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 include 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. Detailed biographical information on each of the artists is available on the TCA website at www.arts.texas.gov/stateartist.
“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,” said State Representative Ken King, chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. “It is important that we celebrate the distinguished career achievements of these artists which have enhanced the lives of so many.”
“These artists have made a huge impact in the arts and in the lives of Texans,” Senator Kel Seliger said. “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.”
Each State Artist reflects the state’s diversity and high-quality artistic offerings. 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.
“In honoring these individuals, we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas’ cultural landscape,” said 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.”
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.