In 1983, Art League Houston created the Texas Artist of the Year award as a dynamic annual project documenting Texas art history. Art League Houston was the first organization in the state to develop such an award. To date, thirty-three artists have been honored. Past recipients include Terrell James, Amy Blakemore, Havel Ruck Project, Rachel Hecker, Aaron Parazette, Mary McCleary, Joseph Havel, Melissa Miller, Al Souza, The Art Guys, Luis Jiménez, Bert L. Long, Jr., Jesús Moroles, James Surls, and Dr. John Biggers, among others.

In 1989, Art League Houston expanded the award to include patrons with its Texas Patron of the Year award for extraordinary individuals whose efforts have helped advance the work of Texas artists. Past patron honorees include Poppi Georges Massey, Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston (2010-16), Stephanie Smither, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Judy and Scott Nyquist, Victoria and Marshal Lightman, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Anne and James Harithas, Gus Kopriva, and Clint Willour, among others. 

In 2013, Art League Houston celebrated its 65th Anniversary as an arts organization and the 30th Anniversary of its Texas Artist of the Year award. In recognition of this occasion, Art League Houston established the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts for artists whose career has spanned more than forty years, and who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of visual art in Texas and beyond. Past patron honorees include Jesse Lott, Forrest Prince and Kermit Oliver.


Terrell James, 2016

Amy Blakemore, 2015

Havel Ruck Project, 2014

Rachel Hecker, 2013

Aaron Parazette, 2012

Mary McCleary, 2011

Joseph Havel, 2010

Keith Carter, 2009

Melissa Miller, 2008

Dixie Friend Gay, 2007

Al Souza, 2006

The Art Guys, 2005

Richard Stout, 2004

Virgil Grotfeldt, 2003

Sharon Kopriva, 2001

Dick Wray, 2000

Linda Ridgway, 1999

Luis Jimenez, 1998

Gael Stack, 1997

Lucas Johnson, 1996

Robert Wilson, 1995

Karin Broker, 1994

George Krause, 1993

James Surls, 1991

Bert L. Long, Jr., 1990

Jesús Moroles, 1989

Dr. John Biggers, 1988

Charles Pebworth, 1987

Charles Schorre, 1986

Charles Umlauf, 1985

Dorothy Hood, 1984

E.M. (Buck) Schweitz, 1983


Poppi Georges Massey, 2016

Mayor Annise Parker (2010-16), 2015

Stephanie Smither, 2014

Leigh & Reggie Smith, 2013

Judy & Scott Nyquist, 2012

Victoria & Marshall Lightman, 2011

Leslie and Brad Bucher, Patrons 2010

Karol Kreymer and Robert Card, M.D., 2009

Ann and James Harithas, 2008

Gus Kopriva, 2007  

Clint Willour, 2006

Lester Marks, 2002

Sue Rowan Pittman, Patron 1989



Jesse Lott, 2016

Forrest Prince, 2015

Kermit Oliver, 2013