Texas Women for the Arts Names 2024 Champion of the Arts

by Jessica Fuentes May 21, 2024

The Texas Cultural Trust (TXCT) announced that Laredo-based civic leader and artist Linda LaMantia has been named as the recipient of the 2024 Texas Women for the Arts (TWA) Donna Axum Whitworth Champion of the Arts Award.

Established in 2005, TWA is a statewide membership program that is part of TXCT. The giving circle supports arts access and education for children. In nearly two decades, TWA has awarded over $4.3 million to more than 400 arts organizations across the state, impacting approximately 3.7 million children. 

The Champion of the Arts Award recognizes a TWA member who has made contributions to the arts within their communities and across the state. The award was first established in 2010 and in 2019 was posthumously named after Donna Axum Whitworth, founder of TWA. Past awardees include Leslie Ward (2023), Leslie Blanton (2022), Judy Robison  (2021), Nancy Dedman (2020), Jeanie Wyatt (2019), Gene Jones (2018), Dian Graves Stai (2017), Sandra Gilliland (2016), Donna Axum Whitworth (2015), Patsy Donosky (2014), Debbie Montford (2013), and Ginger Blanton (2012).

A photograph of Heidi Marquez Smith, Linda LaMantia, and Judy Robison.

Left to right: Heidi Marquez Smith, CEO of Texas Cultural TrustCenter; Linda LaMantia; Judy Robison, Board Member of the Texas Cultural Trust and 2021 recipient of the Champion of the Arts Award

Ms. LaMantia is the Vice Chair of the Texas A&M Political Action Committee (PAC), serves on several local boards in her community, and has served on the TXCT Board of Directors since 2011. Through the STARS Scholarship Foundation, and in conjunction with her family, Ms. LaMantia provides scholarships to college students in South and West Texas. Since 2003, the organization has awarded over $28.2 million. 

In a press release, Heidi Marquez Smith, TXCT CEO, said, “Linda has consistently advocated for arts education and access. Her philanthropic endeavors, including longtime service as a board member of the Texas Cultural Trust to her support of the STARS Scholarship Foundation and her alma mater, Texas A&M University demonstrate her commitment to nurturing artistic talent and fostering cultural enrichment. She is beyond deserving of this recognition.”

Ms. LaMantia remarked, “Through Texas Women for the Arts, we have the privilege to extend the reach of the arts to children that may otherwise not have access, offering avenues for academic success, personal growth, and emotional wellbeing. I am so proud to be a member of the Texas Women for the Arts and so humbled to receive the Champion of the Arts Award.”

Learn more about Texas Women for the Arts via the TXCT website.

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