State Artists for 2013 & 2014

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is pleased to announce the Texas State Legislature’s 2013 and 2014 appointments to the positions of state poet laureate, state musician, state two-dimensional artist and state three-dimensional artist.




photograph by Karen Sachar

Renowned as one of today’s most influential voices in choral conducting, Austin-based Craig Hella Johnson brings unparalleled depth of knowledge, artistic sensitivity, and rich imagination to his programs. As founder and artistic director of Conspirare, Johnson assembles some of the finest singers in the country to form a world-class, award-winning ensemble committed to creating dynamic choral art. Under his direction, Conspirare was awarded the Edison Prize, an international award of distinction equivalent to a Grammy®.  Johnson is also artistic director of the Victoria Bach Festival and was recently appointed music director of the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble. He was previously artistic director of Chanticleer (1998-1999) and Houston Masterworks Chorus (2001-2005), and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas at Austin (1990-2001).  He has conducted the San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony, and others in the U.S. and abroad.  Johnson became the first Artist in Residence at the Texas State University School of Music in fall 2012.

Johnson is a Grammy-nominated conductor and has been honored with numerous awards, including 2008 induction into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame, Chorus America’s 2009 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal, and the 2011 Citation of Merit from professional music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon, the organization’s highest honor for a non-member. In addition to his conducting work, Johnson is an active composer, arranger, pianist and singer-songwriter.  A Minnesota native, he studied at St. Olaf College, the Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois, and earned his doctorate at Yale University. As the recipient of a National Arts Fellowship, Johnson studied with Helmuth Rilling at the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.



ROSEMARY CATACALOS photograph by Michael Mehl, Fotoseptiembre

photograph by Michael Mehl, Fotoseptiembre

San Antonio native Rosemary Catacalos’ poems are widely published in high school and college textbooks, among other venues. Her work has twice been collected in the annual Best American Poetry anthology and has earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stegner Fellowship Program at Stanford University, and the Paisano Fellowship of the Texas Institute of Letters/University of Texas at Austin. One of her poems is included in Caroline Kennedy’s anthology, She Walks In Beauty, A Woman’s Journey Through Poems. Ms. Catacalos’ first full-length collection, Again for the First Time received the 1985 Texas Institute of Letters poetry prize.  Again for the First Time will be reissued in spring 2013 in time for its thirtieth anniversary.  She is a former board member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. In San Antonio, she was the literature program director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center from 1986 to 1989, where she created the San Antonio Inter-American Bookfair, bringing writers such as Carlos Fuentes, Isabel Allende, and Maya Angelou to the city. A former executive director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives in San Francisco from 1991 to 1996, she was an Affiliated Scholar in Poetry at Stanford’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender for eight years. From 2003 to2012, Ms. Catacalos served as executive/artistic director of Gemini Ink, a community-focused literary center in San Antonio. She is a member of SA100, a multidisciplinary organization of women community leaders.




photograph by Walter Nelson

Born in Waco, Jim Woodson’s professional career as a painter spans over five decades.  With his high desert landscapes, he calls attention to the act of painting as well as to how one understands visual conventions by combining and juxtaposing self-referential marks and forms with more traditional rendering. Mr. Woodson’s work has been the subject of numerous solo shows across Texas and beyond, and has been included extensively in group shows, including the Florence Biennale.

He holds a Master of Fine Arts in painting from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where he taught for over 25 years. His paintings are held in many private and public collections, including the Amarillo Art Center, Belo Corporation, the El Paso Museum of Art, Frito Lay, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the San Antonio Museum of Art.




photograph by Will Michaels

Joseph Havel first came to Houston in 1991 to join the staff of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School of Art, where he has served as director since 1996. Mr. Havel’s sculptures and drawings have been exhibited extensively in Europe and in the United States, including at the Whitney Biennial 2000. One of his signature works from that period is Curtain, two large bronze panels commissioned by the MFAH to frame the doorway to the Audrey Jones Beck Building. “Joseph Havel sees art in everyday items that most of us rarely give a second thought,” said Peter C. Marzio in 2006. “In his hands, shirts, bed sheets, and drapes mutate from the ordinary into something otherworldly.”

A Minneapolis native, Mr. Havel has a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota and an MFA from Penn State University. His sculptures and drawings have been exhibited extensively, including recent exhibitions at Galerie Gabrielle Maubrie in Paris; Yvon Lambert Gallery in New York; the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Kiev; the Huntington Beach Art Center in California; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery in Houston. He has received numerous awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship in 1987, a Tiffany Fellowship in 1995, and a 1998 Purchase Award from the French Ministry of Culture. His work is included in the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Dallas Museum of Art.





Accordion player Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez has led the way in expanding conjunto music from his community in San Antonio, to new audiences both in the United States and worldwide. Born into a famed family of conjunto musicians, by age seven he was already performing with his father, Santiago Jiménez, Sr.

“What B.B. King is to the blues, or George Jones is to traditional country, Grammy-winning accordionist Flaco Jimenez is to the world of Tex-Mex conjunto,” says music critic Ramino Burr in The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Mexican Music. Mr. Jiménez has performed with Douglas Sahm, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, and Ry Cooder, among others, and has spread the language of conjunto through national and international tours. With Sahm, Freddy Fender, and Augie Meyers, Mr. Jimenez formed the Texas Tornados in the 1990s; he also recorded with the “Mexican super group” Los Super Seven, earning a Grammy for his work with each group.  His solo work has netted him three additional Grammys, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine, and a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship.  He has been inducted into the National Hispanic Hall of Fame and the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in New York City.





Recognized nationally as one of the most energetic, influential poets writing today, Dean Young holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas-Austin. To date, Mr. Young has published 12 books of poetry and one volume of prose on the aesthetics of poetry.  Strongly influenced by the New York School poets, and Surrealists such as Andre Breton, Dean Young’s poetry is full of wild leaps of illogic, extravagant imagery, and mercurial shifts in tone. Using surrealist techniques like collage, Mr. Young’s poems often blur the boundaries between reality and imagination, creating a poetry that is enormously, almost disruptively, inclusive and engaging.

Mr. Young has received numerous awards and honors for his poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Levinson Prize, the Colorado Poetry Prize, a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems are regularly selected for the Best American Poetry annual series. Mr. Young holds a BA in English and an MFA in creative writing, both from Indiana University.



Julie Speed

photograph by Rino Pizzi

Marfa resident Julie Speed was born in Chicago and raised mostly on the East Coast. Ms. Speed dropped out of art school early and, upon her arrival in Texas in 1978, devoted herself full time to working in her studio and teaching herself to paint. The art historian Elizabeth Ferrer, who has written extensively about Ms. Speed, notes that “Speed’s combination of figurative subject matter, stylized sense of realism, and emphasis on oblique narrative is unique.”

Since 1989, her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibits nationwide, culminating in Julie Speed: Paintings, Constructions, and Works on Paper, and SPEED ART:2003-2009, two large monographs  published by the University of Texas Press in 2004 and 2009 respectively. Ms. Speed’s art has appeared extensively in group exhibitions and garnered wide media coverage, including a 30-minute documentary titled “Queen of Her Room.” Her work may be most widely recognized as having been featured on the cover of singer Shawn Colvin’s popular album “A Few Small Repairs.”



KEN LITTLE photograph by Cathy Cunningham-Little

photograph by Cathy Cunningham-Little

Born in Canyon, Texas in 1947, Ken Little received an MFA from the University of Utah in 1972. His work has been featured in over 250 group exhibitions and over 45 solo exhibitions. His work is included in many public and private collections around the country. Mr. Little has been a Professor of Visual Art at the University of Texas at San Antonio since 1988.

Representing a variety of sculptural media, Mr. Little’s work reflects a need to invent and evolve. He has been reviewed in numerous national and local publications including “Art in America,” “Art Week,” and “Sculpture” magazines. Mr. Little’s work has also been featured in numerous catalogs and been the subject of two monographs:  Ken Dawson Little: A Catalog of Works, and Ken Dawson Little: A Bestiary of Damaged Goods.  A retrospective catalog titled Ken Little: Little Changes, with essays by Dave Hickey and Kay Whitney, was published in 2003.

Mr. Little has been the recipient of many grants, including two major individual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982 and 1988; the Arts Industry Grant from the Kohler company in 1988 and 1996; the Mid America Art Alliance Sculpture Fellowship in 1985; and the Penny McCall Foundation’s Visual Fellowship in 1991.