2019 Award Winners
The 2019 Haven Allen Artist of the Year Award is given to one 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. Randy Sounders challenges perceptions of how people contribute through his long and distinguished career as an artist, and by leading the way as a community catalyst for change. Since 1990, the Disney company has commissioned Randy to create paintings featuring their world famous landmarks and characters, and he was the first commissioned artist to create the limited edition poster for the Official Disneyana Convention. Randy also served on the VSA International Board of Directors for fourteen years, and traveled the country and the world speaking, giving press briefings and advocating for people with disabilities. There was even a period in the mid-nineties when he was President of the Art Spark Texas board. During this time, he helped to establish “Follow The Dream,” an annual celebration of student artists with disabilities in Tarrant County. This celebration continues today as a program of Fort Worth ISD Fine Arts Department. By remaining true to his artistic values and communicating these high standards through his commitment to the advancement of fellow artists, Randy Souders is the 2019 Haven Allen Artist of the Year award winner.
The 2019 SPARK Award is given to one artist with a disability living in Texas who embodies the spirit and purpose of Art Spark Texas. Brandon Lack challenges perceptions of how people contribute through his interpretation of nature and architecture. A tipping point occurred in 2015 when Brandon was diagnosed for a second time with cancer and since then he has channeled challenge ramifications into creativity. An impressive quantity of sophisticated, complex and interesting artistic forms have replaced his signature meditative circles, and the forms have evolved into more precisely executed and refined representations. His unique vision and use of light, added to his emotional connection to color, makes each painting a multi-dimensional view into a world of his own making. His dedication to life-long learning, and his courage in the face of adversity, are the reasons Brandon Lack is the 2019 Art Spark Texas SPARK award winner.
The inaugural 2019 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. The Gene and Dave Show, conceived and produced by Gene Rodgers and David Dauber, has been promoting the value of an active lifestyle and creative pursuits for over 10 years. Based in Austin, Texas, their show can be seen on local cable access television, as well as worldwide through their website, TheGeneandDaveShow.com. For its willingness to tackle difficult subjects with insight and biting humor, The Gene and Dave Show is the 2019 Art Spark Texas Lynn Marie Johnson Media Arts award winner.
The 2019 Director’s Commendation is given to an artist with a disability living in Texas who, through her tireless advocacy, represents the inclusive world that Art Spark Texas works to create every day. Susan Beattie is the founder and producer of the Mental Illness Awareness Week art exhibition, held annually in San Antonio. Wanting to do something that would celebrate artists who struggle with mental illness, Susan used her own money to launch an event that has changed the stigma to highlighting the accomplishments and creativity of individuals who have or have had mental illness. Susan devotes her time year round to single-handedly bring this important exhibition to the public. For this reason, Susan Beattie is awarded the 2019 Art Spark Texas Director’s Commendation.
About the Haven Allen Award
The Haven Allen Artist of the Year Award is offered in memory of Art Spark Texas former board member Forrest Haven Street-Allen. The award honors an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the arts.
Each year, the Artist of the Year Award is given to one artist with a disability in Texas who, through a one-time creative act or a substantial record of achievement, embodies the spirit and vision of Art Spark Texas. This individual challenges perceptions of how people contribute by demonstrating artistic excellence or leading the way as a community catalyst for change.
In addition to a plaque commemorating artistic achievement, each award also consists of an honorarium of $500, recognition as a featured artist on the Art Spark Texas website, and an invitation to attend our annual event as the guest of honor to be publicly recognized for individual artistic achievements.
Nominations are open to any artist with a disability over the age of 16 years in any discipline including visual art, dance, music, performance, craft, and writing. Self-nominations are allowed as well as multiple nominations for an individual. Nominations will be juried by a panel of judges and the results will be announced in May 2019. All nominations must be in by February 28th, 2019 to be considered for the award.