The Arts and Cultural Empowerment (ACE) Awards luncheon, presented by Foundation Auto, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, will take place on Wednesday, October 18 at 11:30 a.m. The awards ceremony and luncheon will be held at Delta Hotels by Marriott Wichita Falls Convention Center near the MPEC.

The ACE Awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations whose contributions to the cultural landscape of Wichita County have made this a more vibrant place to live.

All types of work that support the making, creation, or support of the arts are considered. This includes visual, performing, and culinary artists; arts educators, arts patrons, arts professionals, and volunteers; as well as organizations, institutions, corporations, and businesses who work in or support the arts in Wichita County. 

2023 Finalists

Outstanding Arts Educator

  • Robert Comello, All Hands Cultural Center
  • Steve Hilton, MSU Texas
  • Roger Palma, Zavala International Dancers

Business Champion of the Arts

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wichita County
  • Downtown Wichita Falls Development

The Maker Award

  • Jesse Beckham, Lost Penguin Leather
  • Shauna LaRocque, CrashWorks Steam Studio & Makerspace
  • Erika Espinosa & Gabriela Moreno, The Modest Moon

Distinguished Artist of the Year

  • Jesse Baggett
  • Selena Mize
  • Carter Wallace

Distinguished Cultural Organization

  • Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas
  • Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • Zavala Hispanic Heritage Initiative

Inclusion Advancement Award

  • Arts Council, Wichita Falls Area
  • The Museum of North Texas History
  • Wichita Falls Housing Authority

Additionally, Margie J. Reese will present the Innovation Award, and Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana will present the Mayor’s Choice Award.

ACE Award Categories

An award presented to an educator for their work in providing arts instruction, guiding the next generation of artists in our region, and nurturing lifelong supporters of the arts.
An award presented to businesses for their leadership, commitment, and vision in developing exemplary alliances with the arts and culture organizations. The award recognizes a business for creating outstanding initiatives within the past two years with the arts and arts organizations.
An award presented to a for-profit business that focuses on innovation and/or creativity, as well as those who demonstrate exceptional artistry within their medium of art. A "maker" is an individual or creative business that produces or creates something unique and meaningful. This may include artists, designers, crafters, and other creative professionals who use their creative skills to bring ideas to life.
An award presented to an actively working artist in Wichita County who demonstrates the potential to influence and elevate the arts and culture through outstanding vision, leadership, and creativity. All disciplines and levels of experience are eligible.
An award presented to an art and/or cultural organization in Wichita County that has generated a tangible impact on the region’s residents, tourists, youth, and businesses with innovative programs, exemplary community engagement, and a creative vision.
An award presented to either an institution or individual for demonstrated and significant advancement of inclusion in the arts in program design and operational practices associated with presenting arts and cultural programming. Presenting relevant practices of intentional engagement to include, respect, embrace, and/or enhance participation for people of all ages, cultures, ethnicities, religions/faiths, genders, differing abilities, sexual orientation and/or other underrepresented sociocultural identities.
An award presented to an individual or group who has inspired and encouraged arts and culture in Wichita County in a creative or innovative way. The award, granted by Margie J. Reese, recognizes collaboration in the arts, elevating the arts and culture through visionary leadership, creativity, advocacy, and volunteerism, or inspiring and encouraging artists and arts groups in the areas of innovation, inclusiveness, and access.
The Mayor’s Choice Award, selected by the current City of Wichita Falls mayor, will also be announced at the event. This award will be presented to an individual, group, organization, or business that makes significant and lasting contributions to the arts in the City of Wichita Falls.

2023 ACE Awards Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor:

Arts Champions:

Mary & John Ferguson

Total Concepts

Sustaining Sponsors:

9th Street Studios

Crossvine: A Financial Planning Firm

Deason Raeke Insurance

Ferguson Veresh

Welch, Sanders, and Associates

Friends of the Arts:

Delta Hotels by Marriott at the Wichita Falls Convention Center

First National Bank

Advantage Real Estate

Arts Advocates

Jameson’s Flowers

Wilson’s Office Supply