The Wittliff Collections Announces Limited Free Public Seating For Inaugural Festival Panel Discussions

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The Wittliff Collections Announces Limited Free Public Seating For Inaugural Festival Panel Discussions

The Wittliff Collections, an internationally acclaimed collection of Southwest writing, photography, film and music, announces the availability of limited complimentary public seating at four panel discussions that are part of The Wittliff Collections Festival, taking place April 18, 2020. The panel discussions will be held at the W Austin Hotel (200 Lavaca St., Austin, Texas 78701) from 8:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Public seating will be released ten minutes prior to the start of each panel, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Panels for The Wittliff Collections Festival include "The Writer's Voice" with moderator John Spong, featuring renowned writers Sarah Bird, Elizabeth Crook, Stephen Harrigan and Lawrence Wright; "The Photographer's Voice" with moderator David L. Coleman, featuring Kate Breakey, a visual artist known for her large-scale, hand-colored photographs; Keith Carter, an internationally respected photographer, author and educator; Michael O'Brien, a premier portrait photographer known for his candid, unapologetic style; and Kathy Vargas, an internationally praised photographer known for her composite hand-colored photographs; "The Filmmaker's Voice: Behind the Scenes with Lonesome Dove," featuring actor Barry Tubb, who portrayed Jasper Fant in Lonesome Dove; Emmy®-winning costume designer Van Broughton Ramsey, Emmy®-nominated set designer Cary White and property master Eric A. Williams, all of whom played a central role in the authenticity of the Lonesome Dove miniseries; and "The Singer/Songwriter's Voice" with moderator Joe Nick Patoski, featuring artists Max Baca, Terri Hendrix, Flaco Jimenez and Barbara Lynn.

"Every great culture is made great in part by the contributions of its writers and artists, but that's not enough," said panelist Lawrence Wright. "It also requires great institutions to support those creative efforts and make them available to students, scholars and the general public, and that's exactly what The Wittliff Collections do. They are part of the foundation of the creative arts of the Southwest and a repository for the future, and we're grateful for its existence."

The Wittliff Collections are a cultural treasure comprising a world-class research archive, exhibition gallery, and special collections library established at Texas State University in 1986 by acclaimed screenwriter and filmmaker Bill Wittliff and his wife Sally. The Wittliff Collections Festival will feature a full day of panels at the W Austin Hotel followed by a star-studded gala at ACL Live at the Moody Theater (310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd, Austin, Texas 78701) showcasing intimate performances by musical legends Robert Earl Keen and Ray Benson. The gala will also include a live and silent auction with rare treasures from the Lonesome Dove miniseries.

The festival will honor legendary screenwriter, filmmaker, photographer and writer Bill Wittliff, who passed away on June 9, 2019, by celebrating his vision and creative spirit. All proceeds from the festival will be used to acquire important collections that preserve the culture of the Southwest. For more information on The Wittliff Collections Festival, see here, as well as this video.

"Bill and Sally had an amazing dream to create a place that would preserve and celebrate the 'Spirit of Place' that is unique to Texas and the Southwest," said Wittliff Collections Director Dr. David L. Coleman. "The Wittliff Collections Festival will be a special time for us to celebrate that dream and to pay tribute to Bill. For thirty-four years, he 'rode point' toward our next big project or acquisition, and because of his profound inspiration, we know exactly where we're headed: toward a future of growth, of promise and the fulfillment of the Wittliff's vision for a world-class research archive, exhibition gallery and library."

"Response to the festival has been truly gratifying, and we're looking forward to giving our guests a day and evening they will always remember," said Senior Director of Development Ramona Kelly. "Single tickets are still available beginning at just $500, so we do have a variety of ways for people to get involved."

What began with the papers of Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie has grown into a cultural touchstone with more than 500 prized collections in Southwestern literature, Southwestern and Mexican photography and Texas music. Holdings include the papers of writers Sam Shepard, Cormac McCarthy, Sandra Cisneros, Mary Karr, Stephen Harrigan and Lawrence Wright, as well as the entire Texas Monthly magazine archive and the King of the Hill collection; the largest collection of Mexican photography outside of Mexico; a burgeoning collection of Texas music including Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Ray Benson; and the Lonesome Dove production archive. Plans are underway to add film and television to The Wittliff's vast trove of primary source material.

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