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Explore Texas origin stories at upcoming Witte Museum conference and art exhibition

The Steves family is honored as Texas Trailblazers at annual Conference on Texas, March 23 & 24.

Stories of Texans are shared in new Texas Art: Kinship & Culture exhibition and 2023 Conference on Texas: Origin Stories.

Painting of people preparing for a feast. 3 men hoist an animal near a fire, 2 women kneel to prepare other food over pots on the ground. In the background, groups of 2 and 3 people talk. The sky is blue and green trees overhead.
1988 “Winter Feast” painting by Fidencio Duran, included in the upcoming exhibition “Texas Art: Kinship & Culture” at the Witte Museum.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 14, 2023) – An upcoming conference and art exhibition at the Witte Museum explore the history of Texas through art, new scholarship and origin stories. The Conference on Texas: Origin Stories will be held on March 23 and 24, with the Texas Trailblazers Awards conference luncheon honoring the Steves family. The special exhibition Texas Art: Kinship & Culture, featuring historic paintings and new acquisitions from the Witte Museum art collection, will also be unveiled at the conference. The conference, luncheon and exhibition are open to the public, with tickets available at

Texas Trailblazer Awards honoring the Steves family

The 12th annual Texas Trailblazers Award Luncheon, held on March 23 at 11:30 a.m., will honor the esteemed Steves family, which is iconic in the history of San Antonio having established Steves & Sons, Inc. 150 years ago. Steves & Sons provided the lumber and welcoming doors for many of San Antonio’s most significant buildings, including the Witte Museum. Today, the family thrives in many business arenas and is influential in politics and philanthropy throughout the city.

Luncheon attendees will gain insights into methods on researching the origin stories of individuals, families and businesses from award-winning author Catherine Nixon Cooke, who is the keynote speaker for the event. Cooke has authored many books on esteemed people in San Antonio and will illuminate her methodology in discovering the origin stories of her subjects, including research expeditions and discoveries.

The Texas Trailblazers Luncheon is presented by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation. Jefferson Bank is the speaker sponsor.

Conference on Texas: Origin Stories

Discover the families and people whose stories created the Texas we know and love at the annual Conference on Texas, presented by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation. The museum’s annual conference focuses on new scholarship and deep-rooted stories of Texas with this year’s theme, “Origin Stories,” inviting the community to rediscover relational and familial beginnings.

Seven conference sessions explore Texas through families and origin stories. Lionel Sosa, who followed a successful career in advertising with living out his life-long dream of becoming a full-time artist, will present “The Stories Art Can Tell,” sharing observations from time he spent following South Texas vaqueros’ daily work and documenting it through oil paintings. Francis Galan, associate professor of history at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, will speak about Angelina, the only woman for whom a Texas county is named, and the questions her story raises about the roles of Indigenous women in conquest narratives. Kathleen Glasscock Tomasovic will share the story of the Glasscock family, who were circus owners that had the transformative experience of newly discovered oil on their land.

The 2023 Conference on Texas takes place in the Mays Family Center at the Witte Museum on March 23 and 24.

Conference on Texas: Origin Stories is presented by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Charitable Foundation. Veltri and Velasquez Wealth Management of Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo is the reception sponsor, HOLT CAT and Mary West and Richard Traylor are the scholarship sponsors and Humanities Texas is the video sponsor.

Texas Art: Kinship and Culture Exhibition

Texas artists have captured and interpreted the lifeways of people over hundreds of years, with keen artistic insights that help us comprehend and understand life in Texas—then and now. Texas Art: Kinship and Culture invites you to experience their artwork and explore how Texans have lived over time through the themes of “Dignity of Work,” “Kinship,” “Culture” and “Land, Sky and Water.”

This exhibition features approximately 45 works from the Witte Texas Art collection, renowned for its depth and size with artwork by some of the most iconic artists of three centuries. Included are a good number of old favorites—Chili Queens at the Alamo by Julian Onderdonk and Rose Window by Jose Arpa y Perea—and new acquisitions to the Witte collection—including works by Nivia Gonzalez and Fidencio Duran.

Texas Art: Kinship and Culture will be on display in the Russell Hill Rogers Texas Art Gallery from March 24 through August 13, 2023.

Texas Art: Kinship and Culture is generously supported by the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for Arts.

Conference on Texas Schedule

Thursday, March 23, 2023

9:00 a.m. Greeting by Marise McDermott

Session 1 – 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. Francis Galan: “Angelique, Indigenous Scout of Los Adaes.” Bradford Boehme: “Henri Castro and the Ferdinand Louis Huth Family of Castroville.” Facilitator: Gretchen Stieren O’Gorman.

Session 2 – 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Frank de la Teja:  “Erasmo Seguín and the Paradox of Loyalty.” Jack Hebdon, Jr.: “The Flour King: C. H. Guenther and Family.” Facilitator: Francis Galan.

“Texas Trailblazers Award Luncheon” honoring the Steves family: 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Keynote speaker Catherine Nixon Cooke.

Session 3: 1:45 – 2:45 p.m. Kathleen Glasscock Tomasovic: “The Glasscocks – From Circus Artistry to Oil Industry.” Moderated by Patty and Bob Hayes.

Session 4:  3 – 4 p.m. Ramón Vásquez: “The Descendants Walk Among Us.” Ron Davis: “Hector Bazy and the Silence of the Archives.” Facilitator: Marise McDermott and Aaronetta Pierce.

Session 5: 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Ricardo Romo and Fidencio Duran: “A Visual Story of Us”

VIP Opening Reception for Texas Art: Kinship and Culture: 5:30 – 7 p.m. “People Predominate,” curatorial talk by Marise McDermott.

Friday, March 24

Session 6: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Amy Porter: “Families in the Aftermath of the 1813 Battle of Medina.” Christina Villarreal: “The Bigmouth of East Texas and the Unnamed Mother.” Facilitator: Cecilia Ballí.

Session 7 10:45 – 11:45 a.m. Lionel Sosa: “The Stories Art Can Tell.” Facilitators: Marise McDermott and Justin Muñoz.