An architect, an artist, a dancer/dance-maker and a late actor/producer will be inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame during the Austin Critics Table Awards ceremony at 7 p.m. June 3 at Cap City Comedy Club. The informal association of arts journalists —which has been meeting for 30 years — also announced the winners of seven Special Recognition awards which will be handed out during the free, casual event in June.
AUSTIN ARTS HALL OF FAME CLASS of 2019
Billy Harden: An educator, church choir director, actor and producer who co-founded Spectrum Theatre Company, Austin’s leading African-American troupe, Harden was deeply mourned when he passed away in 2018. Many remember his triumphant performances at Zach Theatre, Austin Playhouse and elsewhere, but Harden’s enduring legacy goes straight to the cultural heart of our city.
Toni Bravo: Originally from Mexico, Bravo arrived at the University of Texas in the 1980s already an accomplished dancer and thoughtful dance-maker. Part of a boom in exploratory Austin dance during the 1990s, she continued to create new works and educate the city’s youth for the next decades. A frequent collaborator, she added the movement vocabulary to last year’s big Critics Table winner, the immersive “Performance Park” at Vortex Theatre.
Margo Sawyer: Few Austin artists have become as widely celebrated as Sawyer, whose sculptural installations are collected by museums and found in public spaces all over Texas, indeed the world. Sawyer, who grew up in the U.S., U.K. and Cameroon, has taught at the University of Texas for 30 years and helped found an arts colony in the town of Elgin. A niece of Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas, she has promoted a sense of community far beyond the usual confines of visual arts and recently was honored with a coveted Guggenheim Fellowship. She was voted Artist of the Year by the Critics Table in 2015.
Girard Kinney: Architects are, by nature, public citizens, who take into account every aspect of the physical, social and political worlds around them. Kinney has long been an exemplar of this school of design, while serving on commissions, committees and boards that have helped shape the way our city works. He is also connected to the other arts through projects that take into account a sense of community far beyond the confines of the designed structures. The owner/principal at Kinney & Associates Architecture, the lifelong Austinite has pushed a reasoned approach to urban planning that has included the Great Streets program for downtown sidewalks, the new-urbanist Mueller development, and the East 51st Street Vision.
In addition to Hall of Fame inductees, the arts journalists disclosed today five projects during the past year that merited Special Recognition status, plus two honors that are named for lovingly remembered friends of the Austin Critics Table, critic John Bustin and arts backer Deacon Crain.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS
“Considering Matthew Shepard,” Conspirare live-stream from the National Cathedral
Leonard Bernstein: “Mass,” Merick Strategies
Vincent Valdez: “The City,” Blanton Museum of Art
“Vaudeville!” Ransom Center
Palace Theater, Georgetown
Deacon Crain Award for Student Achievement: Matthew Kennedy and Mariela Denson
John Bustin Award for Conspicuous Versatility: Delanté G. Keys