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Corporate Chairman Creates Winning Art 8th Annual Catholic Foundation Plaza Artists Competition

Bishop Kevin Farrell, Cheryl Mansour, Vice President, Development, The Catholic Foundation, James W. Keyes, Winning artist at The Catholic Foundation

Bishop Kevin Farrell, Cheryl Mansour, Vice President, Development, The Catholic Foundation, James W. Keyes, Winning artist at The Catholic Foundation

The Catholic Foundation honored local businessman James W. Keyes during a public dedication ceremony that celebrated his grand prize win in the 8th Annual Catholic Foundation Plaza Artists Competition. Keyes’ piece, “Homage to The Concertgebouw,” was unveiled at The Catholic Foundation Plaza in the Dallas Arts District Thursday night.

As a child, Keyes was exposed to art by his uncle, an amateur artist who encouraged Keyes to try his first works. This early effort gave him confidence in his artistic abilities that shaped his life. Growing up he learned to play the trumpet, piano and organ, and dabbled in various art forms from writing music to painting and even sculpture. Later he discovered his favorite creative outlet in business. The ability to see a corporation as an unfinished sculpture that could be molded into a thing of beauty inspired his leadership roles.

The winning art will be displayed on a larger-than-life wall for one year at The Catholic Foundation Plaza, which is located on the grounds of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Dallas Arts District. In addition to the art wall, the 3,900 square-foot public space is an oasis for Dallas citizens and visitors to enjoy at no cost.

“Homage to The Concertgebouw” was inspired by the stained glass windows of The Concertgebouw of the Netherlands, where the Dallas Symphony Orchestra played last year to rave reviews.

“My purpose was to evoke the spirit of the stained glass windows as a reminder to Maestro Van Jaap and to the talented musicians of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra of their successful visit. I hope this memory will inspire continued success in becoming one of the world’s greatest orchestras.”

Keyes has had very little formal training in art. A few years ago he attended the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, where he studied “realism” in drawing, oil painting and sculpture. His art has appeared in The Catholic Foundation art competitions and pieces have previously been donated for philanthropic causes such as TACA. He hopes this year’s entry will inspire continued success for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to having his artwork displayed in the Dallas Arts District, Keyes received a $2,500 stipend that he is donating toward the restoration of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Three honorable mention winners received $250 each: Sally Faires with “Green Violin,” Vincent Morin, Jr. with “Harmony,” and Kay Wyne with “Board of Directors.”

“The Catholic Foundation is pleased to be able to share beautiful work from Texas artists each year through our competition.  Keyes’ piece will be a great addition to The Catholic Foundation Plaza.  We hope people enjoy visiting the Plaza and the Dallas Arts District, a thriving area for art enthusiasts,” said J. Matthew Kramer, President and CEO of The Catholic Foundation.

A panel of highly respected members of the local arts community chooses the winning piece each year. This year’s Selection Committee included: Father Rudy Garcia, rector of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe; Cindy M. Gummer, owner of The Enchanted Galleries; David C. Hickman, local sculptor; Patricia B. Meadows, Art Connections; Katherine Wagner, CEO of the Business Council for the Arts; and Gary Skotnicki of Architexas, the architectural firm and designer of the Plaza.

Former winners include Marty Ray’s “Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art” in 2006, Ann Cushing Gantz’s “Trumpeting Angels” in 2007, Pamela Nelson’s “Magic Carpet” in 2008; David Zvanut’s “Music on Parade” in 2009; J. Lynn Kelly’s “Downtown Playground” in 2010; Rebecca Guy’s “Dallas in Wonderland” in 2011 and Cornelius Brackens Jr. “When the Troops Come Marching Home” in 2012. The Catholic Foundation Plaza, dedicated in October 2006, was a gift from The Catholic Foundation to the Dallas community to commemorate the Foundation’s 50th anniversary.

About The Catholic Foundation

Chartered in 1955, The Catholic Foundation was founded by a group of dedicated Catholic laymen with a vision that extended far beyond the charitable needs of the moment. This independent, nonprofit corporation has dedicated its resources to compassionate charitable giving through grants provided by benefactors through its many planned giving programs.  More than $78 million has been provided to meet the needs within the Catholic community through grants to various religious, educational and charitable organizations.  For additional information about The Catholic Foundation, call 972.661.9792 or visit

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