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Texas Cultural Trust releases first wave of Texas Medal of Arts winners

Michael Barnes
Austin author Stephen Harrigan is among the 2019 Texas Medal of Arts honorees. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The first wave of announced 2019 Texas Medal of Arts honorees includes an accomplished writer, an innovative fashion designer, two influential architects and a South Texas high school for the arts.

The Texas Cultural Trust, an advocacy group that gives out the awards every two years in a gala ceremony, is releasing the names of the 2019 winners in batches, in the manner South by Southwest or the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The group will hand out the biennial honors Feb. 26-27, 2019 during nested events.

The figure in the first wave most recognizable to Austin audiences is author, journalist and screenwriter Stephen Harrigan, whose much-awaited history of Texas is expected out in the next months. Harrigan is perhaps best known for “The Gates of the Alamo.” His friend and previous medal winner, Lawrence Wright, engages with Harrigan’s insights about the state in his recent bestseller, “God Save Texas.”

RELATED: Austin learns a lot from Larry Wright, Evan Smith and Amy Mills.

The honoree in the design category is Brandon Maxwell, who grew up in East Texas and has made a name as a stylist, director, photographer and fashion designer of luxury women’s wear. Maxwell attended St. Edward’s University. In 2016, the New Yorker entertained audiences at a Women’s Symphony League fashion luncheon.

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“I am honored to receive an award from an organization whose focus is to advocate for equitable access to arts education for students across the state,” Maxwell said this week. “I hope my work and the work that they do continue to make a difference in the lives of young people everywhere.”

Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar, who head the New York offices of Snøhetta, will be lionized for architecture. The group, also based in Olso, Norway, has been hired by the Blanton Museum of Art to redesign its exterior spaces.

RELATED: Simone Wicha takes the Blanton Museum of Art onto the global stage.

The Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts, a high school in Laredo, has been selected for arts education.