Last night, I attended a consummate example of an Austin awards ceremony.
It was short at 90 minutes, or two hours if you include the cocktail reception. It included entertainment — a trombone choir and a jazz trio. Only three awards total, all clearly well-deserved, introduced by polished and thoroughly informative speeches and videos. The honorees appeared, well, honored and kept their remarks brief. My table companions kept up a lively conversational beat and the catered dinner at the AT&T Center was tasty from beginning to end. Wine flowed freely, but not to the point of impediment.
I’m talking about the Doty Award Dinner, named for the founding dean of the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. Doug Dempster and Sondra Lomax did a crisp yet warm job of overseeing the annual rites. The big prize went to the Kimbell Art Foundation, created in 1936 in Fort Worth. Not only does this trust support one of that city’s astonishingly good art museums, it backs art history programs at UT. Young alumni honors went to playwright Meghan Kelly and jazz pianist Helen Sung. I very much want to interview both of these accomplished artists at length some day.