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WICHITA FALLS – The arts took flight on Wednesday afternoon during the Inaugural Arts and Cultural Empowerment Awards at the Wichita Falls Regional Airport as artists, art leaders, businesses, organizations, and individuals were recognized for their dedication to the arts and culture in Wichita County.

Hosted by the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture, the awards highlighted the importance of the arts as they relate to the quality of life of our region – and honored those who have made major creative achievements or significant contributions to cultural growth or development.   

Finalists were scored by a selection panel made up of Carlos Aleman, Glen Bacus, Patricia Dillmon, Brenda Jarrett, and Crimson Shults. The panel reviewed 70 nominations. 

Here are the winners of the 2022 ACE Awards:

Outstanding Arts Educator – Jessica B. Johnson, Wichita Falls ISD

Business Champion of the Arts – Danny Martinez, Trueheart Brands, LLC

The Maker Award – Katie Britt, Katiedid Designz

Distinguished Artist of the Year – Mishic and Val Liberatore, Wichita Falls Ballet Theater

Distinguished Cultural Organization – Arts Council Wichita Falls Area, Inc.

Inclusion Advancement Award – 9th Street Studios

Margie J. Reese Innovation Award – Bob Barrow, Art Battle

Additionally, Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana presented the Mayor’s Choice Award to the Museum of North Texas History. This award, which he selected, was to be presented to an individual or an organization that has made a significant contribution to the arts and cultural climate of the City of Wichita Falls.