Awards season is in full swing, and the Long Center is no exception to that! Each spring, we celebrate a corporate partner that goes above and beyond to support our mission, and—more importantly—the Austin arts community. This year, the big congrats goes to  🥁🥁🥁 H-E-B!

As part of the festivities, we sat down with H-E-B’s Senior Vice President for Central Texas Cathy Harm to learn more about why H-E-B’s heart is so big and why they love the Long Center (trust us, the feeling’s mutual 😍).

H-E-B is well loved because they invest in Texas communities without holding back. Why is it important to H-E-B to support their customers, not just in the store, but in every part of their lives?

At H-E-B, we’re committed to making a positive impact in Texas by improving the lives of the customers we serve. This philosophy, known as H-E-B’s Spirit of Giving, is an essential part of the company’s everyday business and extends to the strong commitment to volunteerism found in our Partners. Serving our customers is at the heart of everything we do, which allows us to get to know our customers better and show them how much we care. That is why we are always looking for ways to give back. This is a way of expressing our gratitude and thanks for allowing us to be your neighbor.

This is Cathy ☝️
What does it mean to H-E-B to receive an Icon Award and be recognized for their support of the Long Center?

H-E-B is honored to receive this award for our commitment to positively impact the communities we serve through our support of the arts. The Long Center Icon Award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the over 22,000 H-E-B Partners (employees) in Central Texas who have made this possible. Being recognized alongside The Three J’s – Jo Anne Christian, Jane Sibley, and Jare Smith, the driving forces whose steadfast commitment to honor and appreciate the performing arts in Austin is truly humbling.

Here's Cathy accepting the 2024 Icon Award on behalf of H-E-B. Photo by Brynn Osborn.
What about the Long Center’s mission resonates with H-E-B?

The partnership between the Long Center and H-E-B spans nearly 25 years, with H-E-B’s initial contribution to their capital campaign dating back to 1999. Since then, H-E-B and the Long Center have collaborated on various programs to advance arts education and provide cultural experiences for the Austin community. It is also our great privilege to partner with the Long Center’s three Founding Resident Companies, the Austin Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, and Ballet Austin, who also play a critical part in educating and inspiring our youth.

What work is the Long Center doing that makes H-E-B excited for the future of the arts in Austin?

As part of our dedicated support of the arts, H-E-B is committed to supporting nonprofit organizations, such as the Long Center, with the mission to expand education programs and provide equal access to the arts through programs like the Heller Awards for Young Artists and events such as Teresa Lozano Long Community Day, Santa on the Terrace, and Bubblepalooza. It’s an honor for us to play a role in these events that bring joy and excitement to Austinites, and we look forward to continuing to support the Long Center in meaningful ways.

If you weren’t already obsessed with H-E-B, we bet you are now! Maybe you even want to follow in their footsteps and support all that the Long Center does. Check out our Membership page to see what your donation can do, or sign up to be a volunteer! You don’t have to be the size of H-E-B to still be an icon to us 💖


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

We know you’re familiar with the Long Center (where you can’t wait for year 4 of The Drop-In to start soon) but you probably haven’t heard of Long Center’s Icon Awards. That’s because it’s not a red carpet premiere or a high-profile, star-studded show, but as a non-profit organization, it IS our biggest fundraiser of the year!

2024’s Icon Awards are coming up on Wednesday, March 27, so we’re here to give you some background on why this event matters, why supporting the arts matters even more, and who is receiving the Award this year.

Pianist Anton Nel plays at the 2023 Icon Awards, which honored philanthropist Eva Womack and AT&T. Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro
What are the Icon Awards?

The Long Center started the Icon Awards because we saw a need to highlight something different in the arts & culture world, something bigger than just the Long Center. Namely, the people who, through their support, have made arts & culture in Austin a reality for all kinds of organizations making and creating art across town. The LC wanted to honor this commitment to the arts by bringing like-minded folks and organizations together to underscore our shared belief that creativity is a necessity, because it’s through strong partnerships and the artistic spirit of Austin that the Long Center is what it is today.

The Icon Award — yes, recipients do get a “real” award and it’s beautiful — honors individuals, corporations, and organizations in the community for their outstanding commitment to the arts in Austin. It embodies our non-profit values and also recognizes those who have been guiding forces along the Long Center’s quest to fuel community through creative expression.

To celebrate, we host a luncheon on the Meredith Family Stage with the best background possible. No, we’re not talking about the incredible view of the downtown skyline from our H-E-B Terrace (more on that later), but we are talking about the breathtaking view of Dell Hall (our 2,442-seat theatre where you may have seen Neil deGrasse Tyson or a symphony performance) that you can only experience from a performer’s perspective.

But it’s not just lunch and good conversation. This year will include performances from Austin Opera mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa, Austin Symphony Orchestra Assistant Principal Cellist Anna Park, a special tribute video from Ballet Austin, local singer-songwrier BettySoo, and a Heller Awards for Young Artists Best Lead Female Nominee Sophie Gwaldo from Rouse High School that will likely knock all of our socks off. All emceed by Austin Mayor Kirk Watson.

Better yet, all proceeds from the event support Long Center’s mission to serve and uplift Austin’s creatives while being a catalyst for creative discovery in our community. Tickets are almost sold out, though! If you’re interested in attending, please contact Julia Campbell, our Director of Development.

Local artist Scott Strickland performs ast 2023's Icon Awards, photo by Suzanne Cordeiro
Who are this year's awardees?


The Long Center story began with three forward-thinking and resilient Texas women. For nearly two decades Jare Smith, Jo Anne Christian, and Jane Sibley encouraged and persuaded Central Texas philanthropists and civic leaders to recognize and celebrate the performing arts by creating a premier cultural showplace in Austin.

Their tireless work on behalf of Austin Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin (the LC’s three Founding Resident Companies) and dozens more arts organizations, spearheaded the civic movement and intitial Capital Campaign that built the Long Center.

As unwavering and persistent advocates, the trio became known as “The Three J’s” — you’ve probably seen their joyful, iconic photo in lobby. The award will be presented to Jare Smith and given posthumously to Jo Anne Christian and Jane Sibley.

The Three J's, from left to right: Jo Anne Christian, Jane Sibley, and Jare Smith


It’s no secret that Texans love their grocery stores, but it’s just one grocery store in particular… you know the one! If you’re not familiar with H-E-B, all you have to do is look around at your favorite places in town to see this grocery chain’s philanthropic impact. Our outdoor space is called the H-E-B Terrace after all, and that’s as community-centric as you can get!

Giving back to the communities it serves is at the heart of H-E-B’s corporate values and is one of the reasons why the people of this state love it so much. H-E-B has been an impactful and dedicated supporter of the Long Center from the very beginning and their continued support for over 15 years has helped the Long Center bring hundreds of free community events and performances to Austin on our H-E-B Terrace. 

Accepting the award for H-E-B will be Senior Vice President for Central Texas, Cathy Harm.


Helping us move through the ceremony is Mayor Kirk Watson, who for three decades has been immersed in public policy, spanning local and state government in Texas. During his previous tenure as mayor, Watson won praise for bringing different political sides together around transformative and economic development initiatives. During this time he was also a key partner in helping push the Long Center and its vision forward, so it’s only fitting that he’ll take the stage to celebrate our founding by honoring this year’s Icon Award recipients with us!

The 2024 Icon Awards will take place Wednesday, March 27 on the Meredith Family Stage in Dell Hall.


Of course, a huge thank you to all of our sponsors who have supported the 2024 Icon Awards 👏👏

Skyline Sponsors

  • AT&T – recipient of last year’s Icon Award
  • Dr. Ernest & Sarah Butler
  • Frost Bank
  • Felicia & Craig Hester | Araminta & Tom Sellers

Ring Beam Sponsors

  • Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP
  • H-E-B
  • LCRA
  • Mr. Joe Long
  • Emily Moreland & Moreland Properties
  • Carolyn & Marc Seriff
  • Jare Smith
  • St. David’s Healthcare
  • Westminster Manor

With additional support from

  • ABHR – Trey Lary
  • Elizabeth Christian
  • Carolyn Lewis

And special thanks to the Founding Resident Companies of the Long Center — Austin Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, and Ballet Austin. Three non-profits making incredible art!

If you’re all-in on the arts now (just kidding, we know you already were), come and see us! There’s so much more you can do at the Long Center than just see a show, but we have plenty of those, too. Check out our calendar, think about volunteering, read more from other community creatives, or see what Membership at the LC is all about.


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

As we count down the days until the total eclipse, we’re looking around at all the other Austinites getting their creative juices flowing before this once-in-a-lifetime event! Enter: Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks, whose collaboration with Zilker Brewing & Meanwhile Brewing has developed a uniquely Austin beer, just for the eclipse. In this Mid-Week Intermission, get to know Michael, the creativity behind the brewing community, and what you can expect from this particular brew 🍻


Long Center: Welcome to Mid-Week Intermission!

We usually ask people for a song to go with their interview, but in this case, what’s been your go-to drink lately?

Michael Graham (MG): Like my kids, I love all of our beers equally; but I love some more than others on certain days. Honestly, my go-to drink lately has been our Hop Water. It’s a non-alcoholic, hop-infused sparkling water we recently started making.

LC: Before we get to the eclipse — Austin Beerworks is pretty much synonymous with  Austin. How did you find yourself here and what do you think makes Austin and Austin Beerworks a perfect pair?

MG: I was lucky and grew up in Austin, so it’s always been home for me. When I started drinking beer (after I was 21, of course), I fell in love with craft beer but I found a lot of it was too thick and heavy for our summers. At Austin Beerworks, we try to make all of our beers as crisp and clean as possible, specifically with hot weather in mind.

LC: The nation-wide link between breweries and the Simons Foundation for their In the Path of Totality initiative is a pretty cool mix of community + science. Can you describe the national beer collaboration and how you found out about it? What makes this equation so unique?

MG: When the Simons Foundation reached out, we initially thought it was a scam because it sounded too good to be true. It’s really rare that any group wants to just do something really fun and cool without asking for anything in return, but that’s been our experience with this project.

Getting to work alongside all the other participating breweries, celebrating and collaborating on what’s likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, has been of the best professional experiences of my life.

Collaboration beer can from Austin Beerworks, Zilker Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing
Total Eclipse collaboration beer from Austin Beerworks, Zilker Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing

LC:  We love that brewing is also a creative pursuit — how did you decide what an eclipse tastes like, let alone turn it into a beer? Our staff have been taking bets.

MG: As much as I’d love to take credit, my partner Will Golden, along with the brewers at Meanwhile and Zilker, deserve all the credit for developing the recipe. I think they were going for something light and bright, but that would also melt your face off. They nailed it.

LC: Locally, anyone joining us for the Total Eclipse Viewing Party on April 8 will also be able to enjoy 3 special eclipse-themed beers — what can you tell us about them?

MG: In addition to this collaboration beer, all three breweries are making individual beers for the eclipse as well. We wanted to play off of the eclipse experience, so we each made a different shade of beer. Ours is a bright golden IPA called Yellow Giant, Zilker’s is an Amber Mexican Lager called Sol Searching, and Meanwhile’s is a Black IPA called Icarus’s Revenge.

LC: What does it mean to you for the brewing community to be front & center for such an iconic moment, considering food & drink (and, of course, beer in some areas) would have been an active part of communities across the world in 1397, the year of the last total solar eclipse in Austin?

MG: We talk about this a lot — what role do we want our beers to play in people’s lives? And this is a perfect example of our ideal scenario: Whether it’s a wedding or a concert or an eclipse, having something we made be a part of a life-defining event is such an amazing feeling and honor.

LC: We’re excited to celebrate on April 8! Will Austin Beerworks be at the Total Eclipse Viewing Party? Any other exciting upcoming collaborations you’d like to tease?

MG: We’ll be hosting a viewing party at our new Sprinkle Valley location off of Springdale Road. After that, we’re looking forward to a nice little break until we celebrate our 13th Anniversary on May 4.

Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks
☝️ This is Michael ☝️

Thanks, Michael! 

Let’s hear it for the creativity of our Austin brewers 🍻 we can’t wait to raise a glass as we anticipate totality at 1:36pm on April 8 for Simons Foundations Total Eclipse Viewing Party. It’s free, it’s community, it’s science… ready to party like it’s 1397?


Nothing’s as amazing as a musical, is it?!

We kicked off this year’s Heller Awards season on March 3 with a Virtual Nominations Ceremony, but in case you missed it (and want to avoid spoilers!), you can watch the recording below 👇


Are you ready? Okay, good.


Congratulations to all the performers, crews, teachers, schools, and families who participated! We’ll see ya in Dell Hall real soon; April 17 to be exact. Until then, be sure to follow @hellerawardsatx on the social media platform of your choice for school shout outs and behind-the-scenes goodies. 

Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone


Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!