The lone star state is loaded with talent and every couple of years, Texas artists, poets and musicians are honored by the Texas Commission On The Arts.

Texas has had a designated "State Artist" since the 1930's. In began with a designated "Poet Laureate", typically a poet with ties to a lawmaker who would award his or her favorite the honor.

Nowadays, there are several categories in addition to poets and the "playing field" to receive an award has been leveled.

How Does An Artist Get Nominated?

Texas has appointed state artists, poets and musicians for years and any Texas artist is eligible. Artists can be nominated by anyone, including themselves.

Once nominated, here's what happens:

  1. The nominees are all, (yep, ALL of 'em), presented to a committee composed of experts from each category. Other poets, artists, musicians, etc.
  2. That panel narrows each category down to 10 finalists.
  3. Those finalists move on to the State Artist Selection Committee. A committee named by the governor, the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the House.
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Who Makes Up The Final Selection Committee?

The peeps on that last committee are NOT experts in the different fields.

They're everyday, ordinary folks who look over the final 10 and narrow the lists down to one winner per category.

For 2023 & 2024, the official state reps are:

Lorenzo Luevano
Lorenzo Luevano

Who Is The Official, Texas State Visual Artist 2D?

The state visual artist 2D, Gaspar Enriquez, is from San Elizario, near El Paso. He grew up in El Paso's Segundo Barrio and attended both UTEP and NMSU..

His works are held by museums including the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Tucson Museum of Art, the El Paso Museum of Art, and by private collectors such as Cheech Marin. 

Mr. Enriquez is the recipient of the Father Rahm Segundo Barrio Person of the Year Award (2016) and a Mid-America Arts Alliance Fellowship (1994). In 2015, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at El Paso. -

For more info, click here. For more about the Texas Commission On The Arts, click here.

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