Today@Sam Article

Artist and Innovator Dan Phillips Receives 2021 Legacy Award

Dec. 20, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

By Jackie Swan

Dan Phillips Social

The Sam Houston State University College of Arts & Media has named Dan Phillips as the recipient of the 2021 Legacy Award in celebration of his career accomplishments and commitment to a life of service in support of SHSU.

Phillips is widely known for his many years of artistic innovation, inspirational leadership, and sustained engagement with local communities. He and his wife Marsha are integral members of the Huntsville community. Having received his MA degree in physical education from SHSU in 1969 and joining the faculty in 1974, Phillips has been a dedicated Bearkat for over 50 years.

In 1975, SHSU was the first school in the state of Texas to offer a dance minor. Originally under the Department of Physical Education for Women, Phillips was one of the first instructors of the new program and a leading force in its evolution into its own department in 1978.

He is the leader of Phoenix Commotion, a building initiative that uses recycled and salvaged materials to provide affordable housing for artists, single mothers, and low-income families. Since 1997, Phillips has built nearly 20 homes in the Huntsville area, two of which serve as popular landmarks in the city: The Boot House and Cowboy Hat House located on 11th Street.

LSC Sculpture

He has also contributed to several community projects and to the SHSU collaborative public art project as the designer of the intricate mosaic artwork in the courtyard of the Lowman Student Center. Over the years, his work has gained national and international media attention and continues to make a positive impact on citizens today.

“We are honored to add Dr. Dan Phillips to our list of those distinguished innovators and leaders who live a life of service and work to build bridges for our students to follow,” said Ronald E. Shields, dean of the College of Arts & Media. “This Legacy Award celebrates his years of dedicated teaching and artistic innovation, both inside and outside the classroom, that helped shape where we are today as a college that values art as social practice.”

A painting by Johnnie Swearingen has been selected from the University’s Texas Art Collection and dedicated to Phillips to mark this celebration.

Dan Phillips gives a TEDx Talk touring the creative Texas homes he has built using salvaged materials

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