Patron of the Year Award

Past Awardees

The Community Artists’ Collective (The Collective) has named Lester Marks “Patron of the Year” in recognition of his lifetime of contributions to artists and their communities.

In September 2015 at its annual luncheon, The Collective will bestow the inaugural “Lester Marks Patron of the Year Award” to another Houstonian who exemplifies the same stellar support of artists and their communities in and outside the city.

Marks and his wife Dr. Penelope Gonzalez served as honorary chairs of The Collective’s second annual luncheon in September 2014 at the Junior League of Houston.

Long a well-known participant in business and civic organizations, Marks has emerged as one of the outstanding members of the global arts community.

He is recognized as one of the top 100 art collectors in the United States and among the “Top 100 Art Collectors Making a Difference in the Art World” by Arts & Antiques Magazine and one of the top 200 art collectors in the world by ARTnews Magazine. The Art League of Houston named him Texas Art Patron of the Year in 2002.

Marks has contributed his time and energy to benefit numerous local arts organizations, either as a board or committee member and/or contributor, including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Blaffer Gallery, Alley Theatre, Lawndale Art Center, Diverse Works, Spacetaker, Fresh Arts, TUTS, Glassell School of Art, MECA, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Arts Alliance, Project Row House and the Art League.

He has hosted fund-raising gatherings, art parties and collection tours for an estimated 40,000 art patrons in his home.

Many of the local African American artists that he has supported since the beginning of their careers have gone on to achieve national and international acclaim.

The list includes Trenton Doyle Hancock, Angelbert Metoyer, Nathaniel Donnett, Annette Lawrence, Bert Long, Jamal Cyrus, Mequitta Aruja, Robert Pruitt and Julie Mehretu.

“We were honored that Lester and Penelope agreed to be the honorary co-chairs of our 2014 luncheon event, “The Creative a Process: The Role of Art in Education,” Michelle Barnes, executive director of The Collective, said.

“It is our pleasure getting to know them, and we are delighted to recognize them for the vision we share about the impact of the arts in our lives and community.”


Lester Marks

2015 Patron of the Year