In 1957, Russell Ellison stepped off a northbound train at the T&P Depot in Abilene and began what would become an illustrious legacy in the art community.
The Center for Contemporary Arts celebrated Russell and other influential artists with the Distinguished Artist Awards Banquet on June 4 in downtown Abilene. The annual event honors select Center Artist Members. 2021 marked the first year for this event and four honorees were selected as 2021 award recipients: Russell Ellison, Ruth Jackson, the late Ginger Womack Taylor, and the late Van LeBus.
Honorees were nominated by their peers and fellow Center Artist Members. Criteria to be considered for Distinguished Artist are as follows: years of positive contributions to art within the Abilene community, locally, or at large, a history of involvement with The Center, and/or a legacy of service through their work as an artist. Distinguished Artists stand as exemplars of artistic excellence and are highly regarded, established members of our creative community.
Russell Ellison has lived and worked in the Abilene community since 1957, serving as an educator, mentor, friend, and champion for the arts in Abilene. He’s had a studio at the Center for over 20 years, and on any given day, Russell can be found skillfully creating worlds and evoking memories on his immersive canvases. Russell’s life is a beautifully profound example of the immeasurable value of a life dedicated to art and artistry. His vision and constant creative exploration continues to bring all who view his work and interact with him closer to the true power of art.
Ruth Jackson has been an active and familiar presence at the Center for the past three decades. A prolific artist and woman of faith, she has touched the lives of countless people locally and internationally by harnessing her artistic talents to heal and inspire. Ruth’s work as an artist has allowed her to saturate Abilene with moments of beauty and a reverence for subjects she captures in her work. Ruth’s studio at the Center is always open and welcomes art lovers of all ages into her world of creativity.
The late Ginger Womack Taylor was art herself. Her keen eye for beauty was evident in all she did. Ginger’s legacy is one of inspiration, laughter, and soulful creativity. She was a devoted and active artist member of the Center and always made sure to welcome all who crossed our threshold with warm regards and gracious hospitality.
The late Van LeBus was a once-in-a-lifetime artist. A beloved friend, mentor, and peer who touched countless lives with his ceaseless creativity and hearty sense of humor, Van’s view of the world was unique, to say the least. He saw a boundless splendor in what most would consider mundane junk and he brought this world to life with his unconventional tools, techniques, and vision. The legacy Van left behind deeply impacts our community and organization, and we are grateful for all he imparted to us.
It was an honor for the Center to celebrate these artists and their contributions to the Abilene art community.
Contributed By The Center For Contemporary Arts