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News Release — November 1, 2011

Wittliff Collections host Spirit of Place 25th Anniversary Gala

NOVEMBER 13 AT AUSTIN’S FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
Special guests: SAM SHEPARD, G.W. BAILEY, JERRY JEFF WALKER

SAN MARCOS, TX —On November 13, the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos toast their Silver Anniversary with the Spirit of Place, a gala event that will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. With the support of Presenting Sponsors, JERRY D. & LINDA GREGG FIELDS and PATSY & JACK MARTIN, the evening will celebrate the legendary arts unique to Texas, the Southwest, and Mexico and underscore the importance of protecting the region’s creative heritage. The evening also honors the vision and creativity of founders BILL & SALLY WITTLIFF. This event is sold out; however, tickets may become available. Those interested are asked to contact Beverly Fondren at b.fondren@txstate.edu or 512.245.9058.

Pulitzer Prize winner SAM SHEPARD—a major Wittliff donor, Oscar-nominated actor, and one of America’s most influential playwrights of the 20th century—will headline the program. Oscar-nominated screenwriter and former Newsweek and Texas Monthly editor, WILLIAM BROYLES, JR. (also a major donor), will serve as emcee. Texas State alumnus and distinguished actor G.W. BAILEY (The Closer, M*A*S*H) will read from the work of Bud Shrake, and Texas country music icon JERRY JEFF WALKER will perform. The evening also includes cocktails, dinner, and a fine-art silent auction, featuring over 120 fine-art pieces, signed first-edition books, and other items up for bid.

In addition to the Presenting sponsors, support comes from: Platinum Sponsors AT&T, Eleanor Butt Crook, Cina Alexander Forgason, H-E-B, Gloria Ingram/Bonnie Longcope/Dedee Roberts/Cathy Supple/Bonnie Tilton, and Sally and Bill Wittliff; Gold, and Silver contributors, and Magazine Sponsor Texas Monthly. Spirit of Place gala co-chairs Mary Margaret Farabee and Dan Bullock are leading a dedicated committee to make this event a success.

“Our Silver Anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate Bill and Sally Wittliff’s remarkable vision, in partnership with Texas State, to collect and preserve our region’s cultural heritage,” said Wittliff Collections Director David L. Coleman. “It is astonishing how much has been achieved in such a short time. We are grateful that so many have joined us in support of this event, giving us the opportunity to build upon the already excellent foundations and to enhance an outstanding legacy. As we move ahead into the next 25 years of growing the collections, we look forward to actively engaging our authors, artists, donors, and our audiences, both in the current generation and those to come.”

Among the highlights of items donated to the silent auction are art and photographic works by Jayne Hinds Bidaut, Kate Breakey, Keith Carter, Robb Kendrick, Tom Lea, Russell Lee, David Johndrow, Michael O’Brien, Rocky Schenck, Julie Speed, Antonio Turok, Bob “Daddy-O” Wade, Bill Wittliff, and Mariana Yampolsky, pieces by sculptor David Everett, two original works by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Patrick Oliphant, and a signed copy of Michener’s Texas from the University of Texas Press.

For 25 years, the Wittliff Collections have been committed to furthering the cultural legacy of the region’s literary and photographic arts and fostering “the spirit of place” in the wider world. The director, curators, and staff welcome visitors, tours, and classes, host lectures, readings, and symposia, assist researchers, and present major exhibitions year-round from their archival repositories. Founded in 1986, the Wittliff’s Southwestern Writers Collections preserves and exhibits the literary papers and artifacts of principal writers, filmmakers, and musicians, including the major archives of such noted authors as Cormac McCarthy, John Graves, Rick Riordan, and Sam Shepard, as well as the production archives of Texas Monthly, Fox’s animated series King of the Hill, and the CBS miniseries Lonesome Dove, which is featured in a permanent exhibition of props, costumes, and other materials from the making of the film. The Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection includes the major holdings of work by such renowned artists as Kate Breakey, Keith Carter, and Graciela Iturbide, and houses one of the largest archives of modern and contemporary Mexican photography in the United States.

Funds generated by the gala will support several key Wittliff Collections initiatives: (1) continuing to build and grow the most comprehensive resources for the study and appreciation of two writers, Pulitzer Prize winners  Cormac McCarthy and Sam Shepard, and five photographers, most of whose major collections are housed at the Wittliff: Keith Carter, Kate Breakey, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, and Marco Antonio Cruz; (2) acquiring the 13,000- volume research library of one of the foremost authors and historians of the Southwest, Marc Simmons; and (3) conserving three 28' x 6' mural panels painted by Texas artist James Buchanan “Buck” Winn. Until a few years ago, the Wittliff’s growth stemmed mostly from the donations of generous writers and artists along with the steady support of Texas State, which continues to provide the Collections’ day-to-day operating budget. But with libraries and special collections now being asked to pay substantial prices for archives, private contributions are critical to the Wittliff’s ability to acquire and preserve essential literary and photographic treasures inspired by our region’s spirit of place.