Arts / Museums

Your Art League Gala Guide — Texas Artist of the Year, Auction Picks and More

This is No Ordinary Art Party

BY // 10.15.20

Always a highlight on the social calendar for the art world, Art League Houston’s annual gala holds a special place in the hearts of many, as it bestows a slew of high honors each year: Texas Artist of the Year, Texas Patrons of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts.

Not one to let the COVID-19 pandemic hinder this long-running art bash – this year is its 72nd installment – Art League Houston has taken its gala virtual. Fittingly dubbed Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, 2020’s Art League Gala shapes up to be both historic and memorable, as they honor a duo of groundbreaking, progressive artists from the Texas art world.

Co-chaired by Dr. Rachel Afi Quinn and Eesha Pandit, Dr. Greg Shannon, and Claudia Solís and Dr. Matthew Wettergreen, this year’s gala will retain its staple trio of  awards, and in addition promises some new virtual surprises.

Rick Lowe, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and founder of the renowned Project Row Houses, will be honored as Texas Artist of the Year. Celia Álvarez Muñoz is the recipient of ALH’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts honor. And Mary and Bernardino Arocha will be honored as 2020 Texas Patrons of the Year. (PaperCity is the media sponsor once again.)

Houston artist Phillip Pyle II – whose clever art blends ideas of high and low culture, as well as incisive political messages – will serve as emcee. New York-based duo The Illustrious Blacks will livestream a kinetic performance of their daring electronica-meets-funk dance tunes.

Throughout its history, the Art League Gala has been one of ALH’s chief fundraising efforts, a major contributor to the nonprofit’s mission of art-focused community outreach, exhibition opportunities for Houston artists, and public art programs and classes. In this current tumultuous COVID-19 pandemic year, support for the arts is perhaps more important than it has ever been. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop looks to buoy Art League Houston’s noble public art mission well into 2021 and into a post-pandemic future.

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The gala’s silent auction – which is already underway – features artists including Margarita Cabrera, Art League Houston’s 2019 Texas Artist of the Year, the Pop-influenced Tyler Deauvea, photographer Sebastien Boncy, Anthony Sonnenberg, Lina Dib, JooYoung Choi, Sharon Engelstein, Ronald Llewellyn Jones and Selven O’Keef Jarmon. To see the full lineup of artists, place a bid or to purchase tickets to view the presentations online, click here.

Scroll through the photo slideshow below to see our insider picks for the best of the auction. Note: Bidding is open to all, gala tickets are not required to bid.

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