By: San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture
Photography: Jason Roberts
On October 11, 2016, the City of San Antonio honored five San Antonians for their outstanding achievements and contributions to arts and culture at the second annual Distinction in the Arts Awards, hosted by San Antonio City Councilman Roberto C. Treviño and organized by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture. The awards presentation and reception, held at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, recognized Jim Cullum, Maria Lopez De Leon, Aaronetta Hamilton Pierce, Jesse Treviño and Tomas Ybarra-Frausto to a crowd of almost 300 attendees. The community event included a video tribute for the honorees, special guest speakers and presenters, musical performances, and a spoken word performance.
The 2016 Distinction in the Arts honorees are:
• Jim Cullum is an American jazz musician noted for his contributions to the Dixieland jazz tradition, who has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Austin City Limits and venues around the world.
• Maria López De León is the Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) and a well-respected cultural organizer and practitioner dedicated to strengthening communities through the arts.
• Aaronetta Hamilton Pierce is a distinguished civic leader and tireless volunteer who has spent more than 40 years as an advocate for art and cultural achievements of African Americans and for a myriad of social, cultural, and political affairs.
• Jesse Treviño is an internationally renowned artist known for his large-scale murals and sculptures found throughout San Antonio and in private collections around the country, and part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection.
• Tomas Ybarra-Frausto, Ph.D. is an independent scholar of Latin American and U.S. Latino arts and culture, who formerly served as the associate director of creativity and culture at the Rockefeller Foundation.
The DIA award is presented to an Artist, Organization or Individual who has provided enduring and effective cultural leadership, displayed exceptional artistic accomplishments and/or has made a significant contribution and impact to the San Antonio arts community.
Honorees are nominated, reviewed and selected by the DIA Committee comprised of a diverse group of six local representatives, each serving a two-year term. This year’s DIA Committee includes Suhail Arastu (San Antonio Arts Commission), Kathy Armstrong (Luminaria), Marisela Barrera, Adrian Flores, Felix Padron and Mark Richter.