Friends of the San Antonio Public Library to honor four at Arts & Letters Awards

Submitted by Beth Graham on August 20, 2018 - 11:50am

The Friends of the San Antonio Public Library will recognize three authors and a visual artist at their 2018 Arts & Letters Awards ceremony, scheduled for 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Central Library, 600 Soledad, San Antonio, Texas 78205.

The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. To RSVP, go to, e-mail, or call (602) 690-4937

The honorees are:

Laurie Ann Guerrero, a poet, essayist and educator who is the author of three published books and one currently in progress. Ms. Guerrero was keynote speaker for Sandra Cisneros’ 2016 Macondo Workshop, and was selected as San Antonio’s Poet Laureate for 2014-2016 and the State of Texas Poet Laureate for 2016-2017.

Jan Jarboe Russell, journalist and author. During her extensive career, Ms. Russell served as an editor for the San Antonio Light newspaper and Texas Monthly magazine, and was a political columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. She is also the author of Lady Bird: a Biography of Mrs. Johnson, and the non-fiction New York Times bestseller The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II . She is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and winner of its Prize for Best Book of Nonfiction for The Train to Crystal City. 

John Phillip Santos, producer, journalist, author and educator. Mr. Santos holds the distinction of having been the first Mexican-American Rhodes Scholar, and has degrees in English Literature and Language from Oxford University, and Philosophy and Literature from the University of Notre Dame. He was a program officer for the Ford Foundation, where he managed a $40 million portfolio of grants supporting new media productions and the development of public interest channels and networks around the world, and has worked as a journalist for a wide variety of publications. His book Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation was selected by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation for the first ever “One Book, One San Antonio” program.

Clifton Tinker, artist and educator. Mr. Tinker has been an artist most of his life and an educator for the past thirty years, working first at the San Antonio Institute and most recently at James Madison High School, where he is now head of the Fine Arts Department. His work that was perhaps most widely seen was "The Transition Game," the giant fabric collage he designed to change the conformation of the Alamodome for Spurs games.  At 80,000 square feet, it was the largest fabric sculpture in the world when it was displayed. He was selected to create the Centennial poster for the San Antonio Public Library, and the poster to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Texas State Teachers Association. H-E-B contracted him to create a series of shopping bags and kitchen utensils, and his work may regularly be seen at Artistic Endeavors Gallery.

The Friends of the Library Arts & Letters Awards were first presented in 1972 to “recognize and celebrate achievement by individuals who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in the arts and letters.” The list of more than 100 past honorees includes “artists, writers, musicians, educators, community leaders, and entertainers whose dedication and devotion to their chosen fields have served to enrich the cultural and spiritual life of San Antonio.” Past recipients have included Janette Sebring Lowery (author of children’s classic The Poky Little Puppy), architect O’Neil Ford, actor Tommy Lee Jones, singer Rosita Fernández, artist Lyn Belisle, glass artist Gini García, and authors Jacques Barzun, Sandra Cisneros, Rick Riordan, Jay Brandon, and Naomi Shihab Nye. In 2017, the recipients were musician Henry Brun and artists Bill FitzGibbons and Laurel Gibson.