Winn Morton-Little Black Dress Preview Release


The work of one of the most prolific scenery and costume designers in U.S. history – and an icon of the Texas Rose Festival – is the spotlight of the Tyler Museum of Art’s latest exhibition, Winn Morton: Festivals, Pageants & Follies. Organized by the TMA with Guest Curator Bob Cook, the exhibition opens to the public Sunday, Oct.6 and continues through Dec. 1 at the Museum, 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College campus. Admission is free.

Morton himself will be on hand at a special Members’ reception for the exhibition from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the TMA.

Festivals, Pageants & Follies features more than 200 sketches and designs representing a cross-section of Morton’s diverse, six-decade career in theater, television, expositions, circuses, trade shows and social events. The exhaustive list of clients for the native of Lancaster, Texas includes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the 1964 World’s Fair, the State Fair of Texas, New York’s Roxy Theatre, early live television programs such as The Arthur Godfrey Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, numerous Broadway stage productions, Chevrolet Motors (for which he designed costumes and sets on the largest industrial show in the U.S. during the 1960s) – and the Rose Festival, which began its 32-year association with Morton in 1982.

The exhibition, planned to coincide with the 80th annual Rose Festival, also will include a selection of costumes and accessories from Rose royalty during Morton’s tenure as Festival designer. Cook, a career fashion designer and longtime friend who again will be assisting Morton with his Rose Festival design duties in 2013, believes Morton’s long history with the Festival should make the TMA show particularly appealing to East Texans.

“Winn has a resume that absolutely boggles the mind. He’s worked with everyone from Six Flags, to Harry Belafonte, to Guy Lombardo and Mike Todd (at the legendary Jones Beach Marine Theatre in New York, among other venues), and all over the world – but Texas holds a special place for him. You especially see that in the pride he takes in his unique designs for the Rose Festival every year,” Cook said. “Winn is a unique talent and a dear friend, and I’m enormously proud to have the opportunity to help the TMA commemorate his extraordinary career.”

A limited-edition catalogue in connection with the exhibition, Winn Morton: Festivals, Pageants & Follies, will be available for purchase in the TMA Gift Shop.

Exhibition sponsors (as of release date) are Tyler Morning Telegraph, Rose Festival; Nancy A. Bracken, The Byars Foundation, and Mary and Bob Irwin, Ringling Bros.; Mary John Spence, and Marilyn, Ben and Harriet Tatum Weber, Broadway; Bess and Jim Arnold, Paul Arnold, Austin Bank, BSCENE Magazine, Betsy and Elmer Ellis, Sally and Jim Fischer, Verna and George Hall, Billie and Bill Hartley, Martha and Randy Key, LaNelle Livezey, Sheryl Rogers Palmer, and Carol Ellison Stollenwerck, Expo; Piney Woods Live, and Sunny 106.5 and 104.1 The Ranch, Community Partner. Collectors’ Circle-Gold sponsors are The A.W. Riter, Jr. Family Foundation.


The exhibition will preview as the featured attraction at Little Black Dress Goes to Rose Festival, the Museum’s annual Fall Fundraiser scheduled from 7 p.m. to “late-thirty” Saturday, Oct. 5. Morton will be the special guest for the event, which will feature cocktails, buffet dining, silent auction, and live music by longtime Rose Festival composer Vicho Vincencio with vocalist Nancy Fisher. Event co-chairs are Kelley Brownlow and Ginger Young. Tickets for the cocktail-attire event are $125 for TMA members and $150 for non-members, and donations are tax-deductible. To purchase tickets, visit the Museum, call (903) 595-1001 or e-mail

Sponsors for Little Black Dress Goes to Rose Festival are Mary John Spence, Presenter; Southside Bank and Tyler Morning Telegraph, Underwriter; Ginger and Bob Young, and Kelley and Casey Brownlow, Publications; BSCENE Magazine, Mary and Bob Irwin, and The Julietta Jarvis Foundation, Patron; Betty and Rowe Anderson, The Byars Foundation, Rebecca and Gregg Davis, and The Cynthia and Whit Riter Donor Advised Fund at East Texas Communities Foundation, Contributor; Kay S. Arms, Ann and Mike Butler, Claudia and Otis Carroll, and Martha and Randy Key, Entertainment; Susan Fasulo and David Di Paolo, and LaNelle Livezey, Catering; Nita and Byron Meads, Valet; Mary Lauren and Bruce Faulkner, and Verna and George Hall, Beverages.

The TMA, accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; the Museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The TMA is supported by its Members and Tyler Junior College. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit