Golden Nail Award winners announced
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by Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Under-the-radar arts philanthropist Magdalena McMordie was given top honors Thursday at the 34th annual Golden Nail Awards.

McMordie, who could not attend the ceremony in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Grand Plaza, was named the winner of the Summit Award, the top honor from the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council Arts Committee.

The awards honor individuals, businesses and foundations that have made financial or in-kind contributions to or have volunteered for fine arts organizations in Amarillo and the area.

McMordie is “an individual of spirit and grace, an enthusiastic supporter of everything that defines beauty and culture in the Panhandle,” said presenter Phillip Periman, last year’s winner, in prepared remarks.

McMordie came from a prominent family in San Miguel, Mexico, moving first to Canadian, then Amarillo.

 “Her support is wide, and her impact is endless – the Amarillo Opera, the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, the Amarillo Symphony, the Lone Star Ballet and many, many more,” Periman said. “Her exceptional civic support continues to shape the future of the arts for generations to follow. The entire Panhandle thanks this lovely woman for her kindness and her incomparable support.”

Individual awards were given to Alice and Robbin Dawson of Panhandle for longtime support of Chamber Music Amarillo, Carson County Square House Museum, the Opera, the Symphony and more; and Diane and Robert Thorpe of Perryton for support of West Texas A&M University, CMA, the Symphony and others.

Business Award winners were Amarillo College and its School of Music and Rio Petroleum for its support of Amarillo Little Theatre.

The Waite & Genevieve Phillips Foundation and the Louise & Gene Rahll Foundation were named Foundation/Nonprofit Award winners for support of Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and WT’s “Showcase in a Suitcase” traveling concert program, respectively.

Longtime Kwahadi Museum supporter Bill Burnett and LaRita Theatre supporter Kathleen Pollard were named winners of the Distinguished Volunteer award.

Callie Holton and Ashely Kelley were given Up-and-Coming Distinguished Volunteer Awards for their work on AMoA’s Christmas Roundup; also recognized with the honor was Kristen Mann of the Canadian Arts Alliance.

PPHM’s Red Ladies, a group of volunteers who help install art exhibitions at the museum, were given a special award.

Golden Touch Awards, recognizing new or innovative arts events, were given to AMoA’s “King of the Road: The Trucks of John Himmelfarb” Family Day, PPHM’s “George Catlin’s American Buffalo” exhibition and the Square House Museum’s “Living Museum.”


* Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.