Champion of the Arts

Champion of the Arts

The Champion of the Arts Award recognizes a Texas Women for the Arts member who has made significant contributions to the arts statewide, and whose work has embodied the mission and vision of the organization.
Sponsored by Texas Monthly.
The 2018 Champion of the Arts is: Gene Jones
Gene Jones Headshot

The guiding influence behind one of the most prominent and visible families in the southwest, Gene Jones has spent a lifetime in the pursuit of helping others. While her husband has left his mark on the athletic world as one of the nation’s most successful sports franchise owners, Ms. Jones has displayed the same type of drive and ambition her community involvement and philanthropy.

Under her direction, the Jones family served in a leadership role with the Salvation Army—both at the local and national levels. Ms. Jones and her husband Jerry are members of the Salvation Army’s Dallas County Board and National Advisory Board respectively. In conjunction with the local Salvation Army offices, The Gene and Jerry Jones Family Center for Children was opened in November of 1998 and offers a variety of special programs for children in need in the Irving, Texas area.

Ms. Jones’ board service includes serving on the Southern Methodist University Board of Trustees, the executive board for the Meadows School for the Arts, and the board of directors for the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU. In 2004, she was honored at “The Grand Event: Meadows at the Meyerson” for her dedication of time, talent and commitment to the SMU campus and community.

As a member of the board of trustees for Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, she has coordinated the Dallas Cowboys annual Christmas visits to the facility for the past 16 years. The holiday visitation program, which involves every member of the football team and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, now extends to five different hospitals throughout Dallas and Fort Worth.

Ms. Jones supports the Dallas-Fort Worth artistic community as a member of the executive board of directors and the President’s Advisory Council for the Dallas Center for Performing Arts. Mr. and Mrs. Jones became members of the Dallas Center for the Performance of Arts’ Founding Family Donor Program in 2004 – the elite group consists of members who have contributed more than $1M. Likewise, Ms. Jones donates her time to the advisory board for Family Gateway and the Sweetheart Board of Directors and Children’s Medical Center Trustees. She has previously served on the advisory board for the March of Dimes, the executive board of TACA, the executive board of the Mental Health Center, and has been a member of the Associates of the Dallas Museum of Art.

Additionally, Ms. Jones became chairman of the 20th Century Club’s largest fund- raising event, the Charity Ball and through her work with CARTI (Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute) helped raise $340,000 to purchase and furnish a home that could accommodate cancer patients. The Hope Lodge opened in 1984, and Ms. Jones was installed as the facility’s charter vice president. She was named the Florence Crittendon Award winner in Arkansas in 1991, and in 1996 she received the Hope Award in Little Rock.

A Texas Cultural Trust board member since 2007 and founding member of Texas Women for the Arts since 2005, Ms. Jones and her daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson, were also 2013 recipients of the Texas Medal of Arts Award. The two chaired the Trust’s 2015 Texas Medal of Arts Awards, raising more than $2M for arts education and arts funding.


Given out during the Annual Meeting each year, the Champion of the Arts Award recognizes a Texas Women for the Arts member who has made significant contributions to the arts statewide, and whose work has embodied the mission and vision of the organization.

The special award was created by Texas Monthly, generous sponsor of the Texas Cultural Trust and Texas Women for the Arts.
The 2018 award was also sponsored by M.L. Leddy’s.

Previous Champions of the Arts include:

Dian Graves Stai
Sandra Gilliland
Donna Axum Whitworth
Patsy Donosky
Debbie Montford
Ginger Blanton
and Joci Straus

Texas Cultural Trust