Arts

World Class Houston Arts Collector Opens Up His Stunning West U Home For the Texas Artist of the Year

Lester Marks and Trenton Doyle Hancock Step Up For the Community Artists' Collective

BY Caitlin Hsu and Yasmine Danial // 06.16.22
photography Johnny Than

“Celebrating the Art of Collecting,” an art reception and silent auction evening, was held at the one-of-a-kind West University home of esteemed Houston art collector Lester Marks and his wife Dr. Penelope Gonzalez Marks. The event benefited the Community Artists’ Collective, a nonprofit organization aiming to increase accessibility in the arts for African-American communities in Houston. This year, the Collective is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Headlining the event was two-time Whitney Biennial talent Trenton Doyle Hancock (2017 Art League Houston Texas Artist of the Year), who occupies a large presence in Marks’ collection. In fact, Marks is among the first collectors of Hancock’s artwork in the United States. Representing PaperCity magazine, Catherine D. Anspon moderated a live interview between the artist and the mega collector.

Guests spent the evening viewing Marks’ striking home gallery of contemporary art, particularly his selection of African-American art, which his collection now focuses on exclusively. 

Houston artists Erika Alonso, Mark Francis and LaMonté French donated artwork for the silent auction. Justice Meg Poissant placed the winning bid on Alonso’s painting, a selection from her “Houston Summer” series. For Mark Francis’ Bubble Gum & Mint, Melanie Lawson and John Guess Jr. emerged as the highest bidders. Annette and Arthur Bracey acquired French’s untitled mixed media piece. 

Marc Shindler, Melanie Lawson, LaMonte French, host Lester Marks, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Catherine Anspon (Photo by Johnny Than)
Marc Shindler, Melanie Lawson, LaMonté French, host Lester Marks, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Catherine D. Anspon (Photo by Johnny Than)

The evening was illuminated with music by jazz drummer Reggie Quinerly and Company. Quinerly, an HSPVA grad, holds a master’s in jazz studies from the Juilliard School and plays in New York and on the West Coast

Cuvee’s Culinary Creations served hors d’oeuvres — apple smoked pork belly bites, mini mac and cheese bites, and campechana bites and light beverages. Chef Ivory “Cuvee” Watkins, an esteemed culinary artist, previously won the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Uncorked Competition Chairman Award for his Texas barbecue dishes. 

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PC Seen: Collective co-founders Michelle Barnes and Dr. Sarah Trotty, board president Barry Barnes and board member Susan Bynam; honorary chairs Cheryl and Percy Creuzot; the night’s honorees, Carole A. Pinkett receiving the Beverly P. Harmon Service Award, Lee Ann Carrier named as Artist-in-Action; Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell; Houston Arts Alliance’s John Abodeely, and Ahshia Berry.

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