We are pleased to announce the 2020 Art Spark Texas Artist of the Year Awards. Thank you to our nominators and to the artists for giving of their talent to the world.
Haven Street-Allen Artist of the Year Award
The 2020 Haven Street-Allen Artist of the Year Award is offered in memory of former Art Spark Texas Board member Forrest Haven Street-Allen, and honors an artist with a disability in Texas who, through a one-time creative act or a substantial record of achievement, embodies the vision of Art Spark Texas. This Award honors Haven’s commitment to creating greater access to, and support for, the full inclusion of all people society through the arts. Robert Kelley epitomizes Austin’s status as the Live Music Capitol of the World. He leads the band Blue Mist in service to artistic and musical excellence. By remaining true to his artistic values, and communicating these high standards through his years of leadership of Blue Mist, Robert Kelley is the 2020 Haven Street-Allen Artist of the Year award winner.
Mobile Art Award
The inaugural 2020 Mobile Art Award is given to an artist age 65 or older, who exemplifies the creative aging philosophy of Art Spark Texas. Mobile Art was started by Theresa Zelazny, as a tribute to her mother and fellow artist, Gloria Hall Bond. Mobile Art brings art experiences to older adults where they live, helping to defeat isolation and depression. Gary Flemmons was born in the plains of West Texas, and from there he traveled the seas with the Navy. He incorporates his compassion for mankind into each work of art he creates, and is recognized by his peers for using his artwork as a fierce promotion of social change. All of his artwork tells a story, and for this reason Gary Flemmons is the 2020 Mobile Art award winner.
The 2020 SPARK Award is given to one artist with a disability living in Texas who embodies the spirit and purpose of Art Spark Texas. As a young, relatively self-taught artist, Joshua Pflueger challenges perceptions of how people contribute through his life-like pencil and charcoal artwork. Born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he doesn’t let anything limit him in experiencing high school life. He serves as a student assistant football coach and, in 2019-2020, he advanced to the prestigious Texas Arts Educators Association Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) state competition for his drawing of his goat. For his can do, contagious, and joyous attitude, partnered with his artistic spirit-these are the reasons Joshua Pflueger is the 2020 SPARK award winner.
Lynn Marie Johnson Media Arts Award
The 2020 Lynn Marie Johnson Media Arts Award is given to an artist with a disability in Texas who displays passion and commitment to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities through the use of media arts, i.e., video, filmmaking, photography, etc. Lynn was a beloved, longtime staff member of Art Spark Texas, and a strong advocate for representation of people with disabilities in the media. This Award recognizes Lynn’s unwavering dedication to, and powerful impact on, the lives of artists and patrons with disabilities. Through his photography, Tom Olin captures the spirit of people with disabilities, and celebrates their resolve, tenacity and courage to challenge seemingly insurmountable legal and physical barriers. For his historic documentation of the fight for civil rights by people with disabilities, Tom Olin is the 2020 Lynn Marie Johnson Media Arts award winner.
The 2020 Director’s Commendation is given to an artist with a disability living in Texas who, through their tireless advocacy, represents the inclusive world that Art Spark Texas works to create every day. Adam Farris, through his volunteer work with the Tourette Association of America, works everyday to create awareness of this misunderstood condition. Wanting to do something to raise awareness of Tourette and other disabilities, Adam founded Younique Abilities to market 90% handmade merchandise by artists with disabilities, through his online portal. For his dedication to highlight and promote the accomplishments and creativity of individuals who have unique abilities, Adam Farris is awarded the 2020 Director’s Commendation.
About Art Spark
Art Spark Texas challenges perceptions of how people contribute by creating inclusive, arts-inspired communities of individuals with diverse abilities. The Art Spark Texas Artist of the Year Awards were created in 2017 to celebrate the achievements of artists with disabilities from all artistic disciplines in Texas. For more information about the award winners, and to receive information about the award celebration, contact [email protected]