Texas Women for the Arts Names Nancy Dedman and Judy Robison Champions of the Arts

by Texas Cultural Trust

Group’s highest honor bestowed upon two women for their extraordinary leadership and service

AUSTIN, TX (May 20, 2021) – The Texas Cultural Trust (TXCT), a non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining and increasing support for a vibrant Texas where the arts encourage economic growth, creativity, and excellence,  announces the recipients of the 2020 and 2021 Donna Axum Whitworth Champion of the Arts Award: Nancy Dedman of Dallas and Judy Robison of El Paso, respectively.

Both recipients were recognized on Tuesday, May 18 during the Champion of the Arts Award Dinner, the culminating event of the Texas Women for the Arts (TWA) 15th Annual Meeting. The intimate fête, presented at the Dallas Contemporary, featured commanding performances by three 2020 Texas Young Masters and current students of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts: Jordan Apodaca (Dance), Hannah Bambach (Literary Arts), and Christian Burse (Dance).

Patricia Dedman Nail accepted the Award on behalf of Nancy Dedman, her mother and one of America’s most distinguished and philanthropic women. “My mother is one of a kind,” said Dedman Nail. “I know she would be happy to hear that.” Nancy Dedman currently holds numerous leadership roles in service to Southern Methodist University, the Baylor Health Care System, the Dallas Museum of Art Association, and the Dallas Woman’s Club, among others.

Judy Robison, humbled by the recognition, underscored the profound contributions made by TWA in her acceptance speech including a multi-million dollar history of grantmaking in support of arts organizations; cultivation of the state’s most promising, emerging artistic talent via Texas Young Masters; and the continued advancement of arts education access across Texas, with an emphasis on underserved and rural communities. “You are all champions of the arts,” asserted Robison before the group. Robison currently serves as president of the El Paso Symphony Association, chairman of the El Paso Symphony Foundation, and is a member of the Texas Cultural Trust Board of Directors, of which she previously chaired.

Established in 2010, the Champion of the Arts Award recognizes TWA members who have made significant contributions to the arts in their communities and across the state, and whose work has embodied the mission and vision of the organization: To awaken and nurture the artist in every Texas child. Nominations are voted on by previous Award recipients and finalized by the TWA Executive Committee.

TWA is a statewide giving circle and membership program with more than 250 members from across Texas. Through their collective generosity, TWA invests in the arts and arts programming with the goal of increasing access to the arts for all Texas children. Since its inception in 2005, this philanthropic force has awarded over $3.1 million to organizations across the state, impacting more than one million kids in Texas. “Nancy and Judy have set the standard for advocacy, philanthropy, and community involvement,” said Heidi Marquez Smith, TXCT chief executive officer. “This TWA Award is a testament to their leadership, cementing their legacy as some of our state’s most inspiring arts advocates.”

The Award was named in 2019 after Donna Axum Whitworth, founder of TWA, in honor and remembrance of her vision, legacy, and service to the arts. Past Award recipients include Donna Axum Whitworth, Patsy Donosky, Debbie Montford, Ginger Blanton, Joci Straus, Sandra Gilliland, Dian Graves Stai, Gene Jones, and the late Jeanne Wyatt.

For more information on the Texas Cultural Trust or Texas Women for the Arts, visit TXCulturalTrust.org.


The Texas Cultural Trust, established in 1995, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and increasing access and awareness for the arts across the state. Programs of the organization include the Texas Medal of Arts Awards, Arts Access, Art Can, Texas Young Masters, Texas Women for the Arts, and Partners in the Arts. Efforts are amplified by supporters who are instrumental in the success of leading a cohesive voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of the state. For more information, visit TXCulturalTrust.org.

Nancy Dedman is a true philanthropist and extends her generosity to a host of worthwhile causes, including education, health care, and the arts.

Nancy currently serves as a board member of the Executive Board of Dedman College, Southern Methodist University; the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series; the Development and External Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees of SMU; the Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board of Directors; The Salvation Army Advisory Board; and The University of Texas Dedman Scholars. She has been active in fundraising efforts as a member of the Dallas Museum of Art Association, The Sweetheart Ball, Crystal Charity Ball, and the Dallas Woman’s Club. Nancy is also a former member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress and the National Committee for the Performing Arts, the National Board of The American Institute of Wine and Food, and the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet Board.

Nancy has one daughter, Patricia, one son, Bob, Jr., five grandchildren, and was married 49 years to her late husband, Robert H. Dedman.

Judy Robison is an extraordinary advocate for the arts and an example of philanthropic leadership. Judy consistently prioritizes equity in access to the arts for all children, recognizing the critical role the arts have in every child’s life.

Judy Robison has extensive experience working in education and arts advocacy. She has chaired and currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Texas Cultural Trust Board of Directors, President of the El Paso Symphony Association, and Chairman of the El Paso Symphony Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree at California State College and went on to study educational psychology at Claremont Graduate School. Prior to her work with the arts, Judy’s passion for education led her to work as a secondary school teacher and counselor in Rialto, California. Her past leadership roles include president of the El Paso Symphony Guild, president of the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras, and president of the Child Crisis Center Foundation Board. She currently serves on the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation Board, the governing board of The Hospitals of Providence / Transmountain Campus, and the President’s Advisory Council Texas Tech University Medical School.

Judy and her husband, Kirk Robison, live in El Paso, Texas. They have two daughters, Amy and Jill, and nine grandchildren.

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