Profiles of Impact

Beck Hanson Whitehead

Crafting Artistic Excellence

UTSA recently received a generous gift from the estate of Beck Hanson Whitehead, a cherished figure in the San Antonio arts community, to support papermaking and book arts in the Department of Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE). The Beck Hanson Whitehead Memorial Excellence Endowed Fund will benefit UTSA Southwest’s Community Arts Programs, allowing the studios to acquire updated equipment and supplies essential for their students’ creative projects.

A renowned artist and educator, Beck significantly shaped the papermaking landscape through her influential role at the Southwest School of Art for over three decades. She chaired the papermaking and book arts departments, expanding programs and facilities, and nurturing an environment where creativity and craftsmanship could thrive. Her dedication to the craft and her role as a mentor left a lasting impact on her students, colleagues, and the broader community.

“Papermaking as an art form takes our students on a unique journey. Just the process of creating paper sparks their curiosity. It’s like venturing down a rabbit hole of creativity where even the most basic pieces of paper can be transformed into something extraordinary,” said Lacey Mills, 2D Art Studio Supervisor and PaCE Community Arts Instructor. “At its core, papermaking demonstrates that from one creative endeavor, comes many more. Papermaking not only cultivates a space for endless creativity, it also empowers our students to explore.”

Through her innovative approach to papermaking, Beck challenged and expanded the boundaries of traditional art forms. The Beck Hanson Whitehead Excellence Endowed Fund is a fitting tribute to her legacy, ensuring that her passion for the craft and her influence on artists will continue to inspire and shape the future of paper arts. Beck’s spirit will live on, not only in the physical space of the studio but in the innovative works and creative explorations of future artists who walk through its doors.

The University of Texas at San Antonio Donor Beck Hanson Whitehead
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