The AISD student is one of six area students to receive a scholarship from Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Alexis Martínez (red dress) poses with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (far left), Cultural Affairs Director Debbie McNulty, and Council Member At-Large Jack Christie.


Mayor Sylvester Turner last week awarded a total of $13,000 in donated scholarships to six students for creating outstanding art. Alexis Martínez, an 11th-grader from MacArthur High School, is one of the scholarship recipients. Alexis took second place in the 11th-grade event for her artwork titled “She Holds Her Faith in Her Hands.”

The annual Mayor’s Arts Scholarship competition is open to juniors and seniors in public school districts and public charter schools in the Houston region. Ninety-eight students from 11 schools districts competed this year.

There are three winners selected for the 12the grade level of the competition and three for the 11th-grade event.

The funding comes from donations to the Greater Houston Community Fund.

Quality arts education can provide young artists/students with the skills for a viable and successful career path forward,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The Greater Houston area alone supports over 25,000 full-time jobs in the arts and culture sector and these are jobs that students who participate in this program are more competitive for now because they have learned graphic design, sculpting, photography or any other just as valuable skill through their art classes.

A display with all the submissions to the Mayor’s Art Scholarship can be seen on the sky bridge between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Hilton Americas downtown until May 13, with the winning works showcased at Houston City Hall.

“She Holds Her Faith in Her Hands” by Alexis Martínez

Alexis’ Own Words Describing Her Artwork

Within the Hispanic culture, there are many aspects, but one most evident is religion. The religion aspect of culture is key. In my family, like most Hispanic families, faith is something so important to us. For many years my grandma has been a great role model when it comes to keeping our faith. She has always been the one to lift us and tell us, as long as we have faith and pray, everything will be okay. The strength in her faith is so beautiful, it lives within her and radiates a glow. The strength in her inspired me to capture a moment where her faith is the strongest. This is when she prays the Rosary. My grandma is one to pray for anyone and everyone. It is very admirable. This moment I captured is the utmost illustration of cultural vitality.


An expert panel of volunteer jurors scored all submissions and reviewed accompanying essays.

Jurors included Rebecca Hopp (Theatre Under the Stars), Jeffrey McGee (San Jacinto College), Jan Rattia (Houston Center for Photography), Deanna Santiago (MECA – Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts), Irene Shum (The Menil Museum), and Christine West (Houston First Corporation).

The Mayor’s Art Scholarship competition fosters collaboration among Houston area high school fine arts departments and recognizes excellence in student art, which expresses cultural identities and features life in Houston area neighborhoods.

The program is a partnership of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Houston Arts Partners and supported by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Young Audiences is the managing partner and fiscal agent for the Houston Arts Partners, which includes arts organizations, public school districts and institutions of higher education that reach thousands of students annually through opportunities to participate in the arts.

To become a Mayor’s Art Scholarship sponsor, contact Cultural Affairs at 832-393-1099 or [email protected]


More images from the event.

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