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Victoria Fine Arts Series: Joe Hewell

By Camille Doty
Nov. 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.


Sept. 21, 1946 - The Victoria Fine Arts Association was chartered.

Sept. 23, 1946 - The first concert was at the Victoria Theatre with Fredell Lack, violinist.

1965 - President Lyndon B. Johnson signed bills creating the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. The creation of these endowments led to the founding of the Texas Council for the Arts and Humanities. The VFAA was one of the first recipients of grant funds.

1972 - The VFAA purchases a grand concert piano for $9,024.

April 22, 1978 - Luciano Pavarotti performs at the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium.

1996 - 1997 - 50th Anniversary Program begins

2003 - 2007 - Jazz band competitions

2003 - "Jazz It Up-Downtown" party with The Sound of Swing Big Band, JCM Jazz Trio, Rico Jazz, The Sharp Five, Eddie Oliveros and Friends, and The Jim Cullum Band

2004 - JCM featuring Damani Phillips and Jeremy Long, Sound of Swing, Norman Brown Trio, Rico Jazz featuring Bryan Murray from New York City and Cyclon. Trio featuring Chris Saenz and Corey Lareau from Boston, Memorial Percussion Ensemblem, Ritmo Caribe and the "Con Sabor Dance Company"

2005 - Rico Jazz, Duke E. Brown, alumni of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Caribbean Koncept International - Lian Pierre

2006 - Grammy Award winning producer Bob Gallarza & Friends, George Draghici

2007 - Victoria Symphony Downtown Rhythms, Mingo Fish Trap, Jaywalkers and George Draghici

2008 - Tani Boyd Quartet, Jazz at the College featuring the VC Jazz Combo & Friends, Dimensions in Blue, Downtown Block party with the Victoria Market Days with Ritmo Caribe-Salsa Jazz from the Valley and Mingo Fishtra

2009 - Inner City All-Stars from Dallas, - Victoria College Jazz combo

2010 - Joe Posada and T Bird and the Breaks, Victoria College Jazz Band

Joe Hewell was president of the Victoria Fine Arts Association from 1998 to 2000 and from 2002 to 2003.

He also has been an active board member.

Hewell is the regional managing director for Wells Fargo Wealth Management Group for Greater Texas/Hill Country.

He said he is proud of the 65-year-old organization's accomplishments and is optimistic about the future.

He recently talked about his experiences with the Fine Arts Association.

His interview is the first in a monthly series, leading up to the Fine Arts Association's April 14 Jam Fest.

Why did you get involved with the group and when?

I moved to Victoria from Seguin. Carol Baker and Tami Keeling asked me to join in 1995. It sounded like a great organization that made contributions to the community by providing a variety of fine arts programs.

What is your most memorable moment?

The Victoria Fine Arts Association secured a married pianist couple from Russia. By the time they made it to Victoria, they were headed for divorce and not speaking to each other. It was interesting because none of us spoke Russian and neither one of them spoke English. We had a little help with an interpreter, but we wanted to make sure we had the performance we promised our audience and we delivered.

What are you proudest of?

I'm most proud of the recent board since re-engineering. We found a way for our company to be an additive to the community by putting a steering committee together to assess our strengths, weakness and opportunities. During that time, we found a new vision on how we should move forward.

Why did the group change its focus to jazz?

Jazz was not really being covered in the market and we saw an opportunity for us to address it. The Jim Cullum Band, of San Antonio, put on a great performance in the Power Avenue Warehouse. In 2003, we had "Jazz It Up-Downtown" and the three groups that performed were absolutely great. We had a jazz band competition with high schools and colleges from the Central and South Texas regions. We met one of our goals to elevate and enhance the exposure to jazz in Victoria.

What has been the group's biggest challenge?

We want to continue to find strong talent to bring to the community. Each year we want to get better. Now we have one event per year. We can focus on doing it well.

What can the group do to be successful for the next 65 years?

We can continue to have strong and committed board members bringing artists to Victoria. If we do that, this board can have a premier event. We have to fill a need without placing ourselves in competition with other nonprofits and working with things already in place.



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