Art exhibit to showcase top scenery, costume designer in fall

Published on Saturday, 14 September 2013 21:44 - Written by From Staff Reports

The work of one of the most prolific scenery and costume designers in U.S. history — and an icon of the Texas Rose Festival — is the spotlight of the Tyler Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, “Winn Morton: Festivals, Pageants & Follies.”

Organized by the TMA with guest curator Bob Cook, the exhibition opens to the public on Sunday, Oct. 6 and continues through Dec. 1 at the museum, 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College campus. Admission is free.

“Festivals, Pageants & Follies” features more than 200 sketches and designs representing a cross-section of Morton’s diverse, six-decade career in theater, television, expositions, circuses, trade shows and social events. The exhaustive list of clients for the native of Lancaster includes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the 1964 World’s Fair, the State Fair of Texas, New York’s Roxy Theatre, early live television programs such as “The Arthur Godfrey Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” numerous Broadway stage productions, Chevrolet Motors (for which he designed costumes and sets on the largest industrial show in the U.S. during the 1960s) — and the Rose Festival, which began its 32-year association with Morton in 1982.

The exhibition also will include a selection of costumes and accessories from Rose royalty during Morton’s tenure as Festival designer. Cook, a career fashion designer and longtime friend who again will be assisting Morton with his Rose Festival design duties in 2013, believes Morton’s extended history with the festival should make the TMA show particularly appealing to East Texans.

“Winn has a resume that absolutely boggles the mind. He’s worked with everyone from Six Flags, to Harry Belafonte, to Guy Lombardo and Mike Todd (at the legendary Jones Beach Marine Theatre in New York, among other venues), and all over the world — but Texas holds a special place for him,” Cook said. “You especially see that in the pride he takes in his unique designs for the Rose Festival every year. Winn is a unique talent and a dear friend, and I’m enormously proud to have the opportunity to help the TMA commemorate his extraordinary career.”

A limited-edition catalogue in connection with the exhibition, “Winn Morton: Festivals, Pageants & Follies,” will be available for purchase in the TMA Gift Shop.

Exhibition sponsors (as of release date) are Tyler Morning Telegraph, Rose Festival; Nancy A. Bracken and The Byars Foundation, Ringling Bros.; Mary John Spence, and Marilyn, Ben and Harriet Tatum Weber, Broadway; Bess and Jim Arnold, BSCENE Magazine, Verna and George Hall, and Martha and Randy Key, Expo. Collectors’ Circle-Gold sponsors are Sheryl R. Palmer and The A.W. Riter Jr. Family Foundation.



The exhibition will preview as the featured attraction at “Little Black Dress Goes to Rose Festival,” the museum’s annual fall fundraiser scheduled from 7 p.m. to “late-thirty” Saturday, Oct. 5. Winn Morton will be the special guest. It will feature cocktails, buffet dining, silent auction, and live music by longtime Rose Festival composer Vicho Vincencio with vocalist Nancy Fisher. Event co-chairs are Kelley Brownlow and Ginger Young. Tickets for the cocktail-attire event are $125 for TMA members and $150 for non-members, and donations are tax-deductible. To purchase tickets, visit the museum, call 903-595-1001 or email

Sponsors for “Little Black Dress Goes to Rose Festival” are Mary John Spence, presenter; Southside Bank and Tyler Morning Telegraph, underwriter; Ginger and Bob Young, Publications; BSCENE Magazine and The Julietta Jarvis Foundation, patron; The Byars Foundation, and Rebecca and Gregg Davis, contributor; Kay S. Arms, Claudia and Otis Carroll, and Martha and Randy Key, entertainment; Susan Fasulo and David Di Paolo, Catering; Nita and Byron Meads, valet; and Verna and George Hall, Beverages.

Additional sponsorship opportunities are available, including an exclusive Premier package offering complimentary “Little Black Dress” seating for eight at the head table with Morton and Cook, limousine transportation for eight guests to and from the event, recognition as honorary chair of the event, and a private lunch and exhibition gallery tour with the guest curator on a mutually agreed-upon date. For information, call 903-595-1001 ext. 210 or email

The TMA, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The TMA is supported by its members and Tyler Junior College. For more information, call 903-595-1001 or visit .