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Musicians Kelly Clarkson and Gary Clark, Jr., Cheech Marin collection artist Gaspar Enriquez,  among eight Texas artists to be appointed by State Legislature 

AUSTIN – May 30, 2023 – The Texas State Legislature made appointments on Monday, May 29 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 2023 and 2024 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 2023 and 2024 appointees were formally announced through the adoption of House Resolutions at the Capitol. The 2023 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate ire’ne lara silva of Austin, Texas State Musician Gary Clark, Jr., of Austin, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Gaspar Enriquez of San Elizario, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist James Watkins of Lubbock. The 2024 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate Amanda Johnston of Austin, Texas State Musician Kelly Clarkson of Fort Worth, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Michael Ray Charles of Houston, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Diana Kersey of San Antonio. Biographical information on each of the artists is available on the TCA website at www.arts.texas.gov/stateartist.

“The great talents of the 2023-2024 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 Trent Ashby, Chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, & Tourism. “It is important that we celebrate the distinguished career achievements of these artists which have enhanced the lives of so many.”

 

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.

 

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 2024.

 

“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.”

 

About the Texas Commission on the Arts

The mission of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is to advance our state economically and culturally by investing in a creative Texas. TCA supports a diverse and innovative arts community in Texas, throughout the nation and internationally by providing resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives. For more information on TCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.texas.gov.

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