Art League Houston Announces Top Honors for 2022 Annual Awards

Kathleen Coleman | 4/8/2022, 12:55 p.m.

For over three decades, Art League Houston (ALH) has honored the brightest lights in the arts in Texas. This year, ALH proudly

announces the selection of Letitia Huckaby as the 2022 Texas Artist of the Year, Earlie Hudnall, Jr. as the recipient of the biennial 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts, and Melanie Lawson and John Guess, Jr. as the 2022 Texas Patrons of the Year.

“ALH has a long history of supporting artists and artistic practices in our state” states Jennie Ash, Art League Houston Director. “For almost 40 years, our annual Arts Awards have recognized the creative visionaries who inspire us, engage us, and create transformational change in our communities. We are excited to have the opportunity to honor extraordinary Texas artists, Letitia Huckaby and Earlie Hudnall, Jr. along with long time art supporters Melanie Lawson and John Guess, Jr. This year’s honorees are aligned in their commitment to community and exemplify the impact that artists, arts, and cultural organizations, and those that support them are making to the future of Texas.”

“Each year, it’s truly a special opportunity to pay tribute to some of our state's talented individuals and organizations who enrich our communities and encourage deeper connection,” said Audra White, ALH Board President. “We applaud these recipients and all those whose work in the arts to help make Texas a vibrant place to live and visit.”

“There’s a certain kind of pleasure that comes from being the first African American woman artist to be awarded the Texas Artist of the Year and one of the judges to select the second,” says Vicki Meek, Texas Artist of the Year in 2021 and part of the selection committee in 2022. “Letitia Huckaby is a perfect fit for the title 2022 Texas Artist of the Year because she understands that art has the power to evoke change in communities and she’s committed to being that change agent in hers. She does this all while maintaining an active studio practice, exhibiting her art nationwide, and be- ing an engaged mom.” Vicki Meek highlights the selection of Earlie Hudnall by saying that within the discipline of photography in Houston, “Earlie Hudnall is at the top of the list, having maintained a career for decades documenting Black Houston along with other topics related to the city. His rich compositions are never simple, as his eye for capturing interesting textures, movements, and human interactions is highly sophisticated. There is no better recipient for the 2022 Texas Lifetime Achievement Award than Earlie Hudnall. He has stayed in the game for more than fifty years, mentoring younger artists along the way, and producing work that stays relevant and fresh.”

“It’s been an honor to participate on this year’s jury with such incredible colleagues,” says Allison Glenn, 2022 Selection Committee Member. “Both Letitia Huckaby’s and Earlie Hudnall‘s practices reflect a deep engagement with their communities, and important contributions to con- temporary art.”

“What stands out to me about Letitia is her passion for storytelling and her ability to give great dignity and beauty to the voiceless,” says Rigoberto Luna, 2022 Selection Committee Member. “I hope this recognition not only shines a brighter light on Letitia but also on the individual's past and present that inspire her work.”

Celia Álvarez Muñoz, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts in 2020 and served as a member of the 2022 Selection Committee expressed her sincere congratulations to Letitia Huckaby and Earlie Hudnall Jr. “I pass the baton with glee, to what will be a most exciting and rewarding coming year!” says Muñoz. “May you shine with all the brilliance that your work has merited these awards! ALH is the most gracious host! Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!”

“Melanie and John have been pillars of the Texas art community for decades,” says Catherine Anspon, 2022 Selection Committee Member. “Especially in Houston, their support for non-

profits, galleries, above all, deep friendships and mentorships of artists have been heartfelt, intelligent, guided by altruism, and profound. They are also museum creators and museum builders. Art League and the selection committee is honored to unanimously select Melanie and John as Art League Houston Texas Patrons of the Year!”

ALH will present solo exhibitions celebrating the work of Letitia Huckaby and Earlie Hudnall, Jr. from September 16 to December 3, 2022, and will collaborate with each artist to publish a limited-edition artist catalog. All four awardees will be celebrated at ALH’s annual gala, which will be held in their honor on Friday, October 14, 2022, at POST Houston in Houston's downtown Theatre District. For more information about sponsorship and tickets, contact Jennie Ash at or 713-523-9530.

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