It takes an eclectic group of talents to foster an active cultural scene.
As patrons, educators, place-makers and organizers, the people named this year to the Austin Arts Hall of Fame have made significant and sustained contributions to our cultural life, dedicating their energies, their careers or their philanthropy to keeping Austin art-filled.
Honored this year are philanthropists Gail and Jeff Kodosky, music educator Margaret Perry, the late architect Hal Box and community theater supporter Linalice Carey.
On June 4, at a free public ceremony, the inductees will be honored at the Austin Critics' Table Awards at Cap City Comedy Club.
In its 21st year, the Critics' Table is an informal group of arts critics from the Austin American-Statesman and the Austin Chronicle that annually recognizes outstanding achievement in the arts.
Gail and Jeff Kodosky
It seems there's nary a donors' list in a local performing arts program that doesn't include the names Gail and Jeff Kodosky up top.
Just last month, the couple donated $1 million to Grammy-nominated choir Conspirare, the largest private gift the group has ever received.
Indeed, the Kodoskys' breadth as major arts philanthropists is notable: Ballet Austin, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Symphony, Conspirare, Austin Chamber Music Center, Austin Classical Guitar Society, Festival Institute at Round Top, the University of Texas' Butler School of Music, Austin Theatre Alliance and many other smaller organizations have benefited from their long-time largesse.
At the Long Center for the Performing Arts, the architecturally sleek mezzanine level lounge is named for the Kodoskys in recognition of their support. And since the 1990s, Jeff has served on the opera's board.
The couple moved here from New York just after they were married in 1970 so that Jeff could attend graduate school at UT. In 1976, Jeff co-founded the leading tech firm National Instruments, where he continues to work in a senior position. They raised two daughters and now have five grandchildren.
"Like so many others who came here, we fell in love with Austin and made it our home," said Jeff Kodosky. "We have always felt it is everyone's shared responsibility to create the kind of community we want to live in, and we are proud to do our part by supporting the performing arts as well as science education in Austin."
Have you been to a concert and learned something fun about the lives of classical composers or opera history?
Chances are, Margaret Perry gave the pre-concert talk.
Perry has been a music educator for 38 years, giving hundreds of lively lectures and teaching music in schools in the U.S. and Europe, as well as privately.
For 20 years, Perry was director of education for Austin Lyric Opera, serving as founding director of the Armstrong Community Music School, the first music school in the world to be established by an opera company. This year, Perry led as the Armstrong school became an independent nonprofit.
Trained originally as a harpsichordist, Perry first performed with Baroque music groups around Texas and even served for several years as the pianist for the Houston Ballet. In 2003, the State of Texas declared a day in Perry's honor for her 30 years of arts advocacy and education.
For the late Hal Box, architecture was fundamentally about people, life and cultural legacy.
Architecture could also be about Popsicles, Box believed.
An early advocate of New Urbanism, Box, who passed away last year at age 81, coined what became known as the "five-minute Popsicle rule'' — that an ideal urban neighborhood is one in which a child can go to the store to buy a Popsicle and get back home within five minutes.
Box led the University of Texas' School of Architecture from 1976 to 1992, advocating that the under-funded department deserved as much support as UT's engineering and business programs. His clear, logical voice for the importance of architecture still resonates today through his books, such as "Think Like an Architect."
Born in Commerce, Texas, Box also studied and documented the 16th-century open-air churches of Mexico, bringing needed attention to an important piece of architecture history. After his retirement from UT, Box and his wife, Eden, divided their time between Austin and a home in San Miguel de Allende in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.
Finally, Linalice Carey might be characterized as an Austin initiator.
In the mid-1970s, she helped kick-start the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, a community theater group still going strong today. In fact, the first Gilbert & Sullivan Society show was at Carey's tiny Creek Theatre, a long-gone venue that was perched over Waller Creek on East Sixth Street.
A longtime resident of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, in the 1980s Carey transformed the former local post office into a venue now known as Hyde Park Theatre.
Without these individuals, Austin just wouldn't be as artistic.