Sam Houston State University Names Recipients of the 2023-2024 College of Arts and Media Legacy Award

by Jessica Fuentes May 6, 2024

The College of Arts and Media (CAM) at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) has named artist David Adickes and arts supporters Paul and Joan Culp as the recipients of its 2023-24 Legacy Award.

The Legacy Award was established in 2018 by Ronald E. Shields, the Dean of CAM at SHSU, to celebrate individuals whose career accomplishments and arts service have built a legacy for SHSU students. Artist, gallerist, and art dealer Murray Smither received the award in 2023, and artist Dan Phillips received the award in 2021.

A photograph of sculptor David Adickes.

David Adickes. Photo by Iraj Ghavidel Photography

Mr. Adickes is best known for his large-scale public art works, such as Virtuoso, a 36-foot-tall sculpture of a cello player in downtown Houston. He has completed monumental concrete sculptures of Texas statesmen and busts of U.S. presidents, which can be seen from the major highways that run near his studio. His most iconic work may be the 67-foot-tall sculpture of Sam Houston, A Tribute to Courage, which was created for the bicentennial of Sam Houston’s birth and is viewable from Interstate 45.

A photograph of a 67-foot-tall sculpture of Sam Houston by David Adickes.

David Adickes, “A Tribute to Courage.” Photo by Dreanne L. Belden.

Born in Huntsville in 1927, Mr. Adickes received his BS in Physics and Math from SHSU in 1948. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Atelier Fernand Leger in Paris. He taught for two years at the University of Texas at Austin and then spent time traveling around the world. In the 1950s, Mr. Adickes moved to Houston, where he pursued his art and was known for cubist-style paintings of musicians, figures, and landscapes. His work is in the collections of institutions across the state, including the Blanton Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Texas Art Collection of Sam Houston State University. At the age of 97, Mr. Adickes continues to create work in his studio. He is the subject of an upcoming monograph, Paintings and Monuments: David Adickes, Texas Artist, which will be published by Texas A&M Press this spring.

Paul and Joan Culp have supported education and literacy at both the elementary and college levels for decades. Beginning in 1973, Mr. Culp worked in the Newton Gresham Library (NGL) at SHSU, where he held various positions, including Reference Librarian, Interlibrary Loan Librarian, and Special Collections Librarian. In 1977, Mrs. Culp began teaching at Huntsville Independent School District, and later worked as a school librarian for the district until her retirement. 

In addition to their education service, the Culps have supported the arts throughout their careers. In his position at NGL, Mr. Culp established the library’s collection, with a focus on art that would complement the building’s mid-century modern design. While at the time there were no funds available for these acquisitions, Mr. Culp was able to secure significant donations, including two works by Charles Pebworth, an artist and SHSU faculty member. Mrs. Culp was a member of SHSU’s Friends of Music program that supports the university’s music department. 

A press release announcing this year’s Legacy Award recipients noted, “For Paul and Joan Culp, the art exhibitions and public performances given by the SHSU theater, music, and dance students, provide not only entertainment but also opportunities to contribute to student success and enrich the cultural life of our community.”

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