Best Of 2018: People & Culture

Annual Event
Reader Pick:
Fort Worth Margarita Ball
Editors’ Pick: Jewel Charity Ball
3301 Hamilton Ave., Ste. 121,

Art Gallery
Reader Pick: Fort Works Art

It’s the building marked by the swirly rainbow mural (affectionately known as “The Tunnel,” as it doesn’t quite have a formal name) — Fort Works Art is the cool little gallery that could, making waves for showcasing local artists like Jay Wilkinson and big names like Laura Wilson.
2100 Montgomery St.,
Editors’ Pick: Artspace111
Artspace111 doesn’t look like much from the outside. The exterior — a somewhat shady-looking brick building with few windows on the edge of downtown. But the interior — a sophisticated, modern art gallery noted for its selection of works by local, living artists. Head outside to the Sculpture Garden for a collection of quirky pieces made from steel, bronze, stone and other materials. Artspace111 is also a popular venue for events, especially weddings.
111 Hampton St.,

Reader Pick: Ariel Davis
Editors’ Pick: Jay Wilkinson
The golden boy of Fort Worth art, Jay Wilkinson first made a big splash with a giant installation show at Shipping & Receiving with his collective “Bobby on Drums” in 2015. He’s followed up with more large-scale installations, including 20-foot circus animals at the Ritz & Wonders 2018 New Year’s Eve show. It was about this time last year Wilkinson had his first solo exhibition at Fort Works Art where his signature paintings of emotional human characters and experiences grabbed a foothold in the local art scene. Since then Wilkinson says he’s been working on a lot of commissions, and he plans to have another show at Fort Works Art before 2018 is up.

Reader Pick: Vladimir Brodziansky

Good ol’ Vlad. Vladimir Brodziansky, standing at 6 foot 11 inches, came to TCU from Slovakia and eventually became the face of a budding basketball team that had nowhere to go but up. He helped the team win the NIT his junior year and make the NCAA Tournament his senior year. The forward finished his senior season as TCU’s leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game.
Editors’ Pick: Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Talk about living your best life. Halapoulivaati Vaitai — affectionately known as “Big V” while at TCU — was a solid offensive tackle during his time with the Horned Frogs. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 and found himself in a starting position as a rookie when right tackle Lane Johnson was suspended. The following season, teammate injuries would make Vaitai a starter again. The next thing he knew, he was playing in the Super Bowl — and won. Top that off with getting married to his college sweetheart — former TCU basketball player Caitlin Vaitai — and finding out they’re expecting their first child in the same year.

Athletic Coach
Reader Pick: Gary Patterson
Editors’ Pick: Jamie Dixon

Blogger/Local Influencer
Reader Pick: Katey McFarlan
Editors’ Pick: Samantha Stewart

Reader Pick: Juan Rodriguez

Magdalena’s Catering & Events,
Editors’ Pick: Bria Downey
Clay Pigeon Food & Drink,

Country Club
Reader Pick: Ridglea Country Club

3700 Bernie Anderson Ave.,
Editors’ Pick: River Crest Country Club
1501 Western Ave.,

High School Sports Team
Reader Pick: Trinity Valley School Basketball

7500 Dutch Branch Road,
Editors’ Pick: Aledo High School Football
1008 Bailey Ranch Road

Local Attraction
Reader Pick: Fort Worth Zoo

Fort Worth people, we just keep loving our zoo. We know this from the long lines that jam University and Forest Park drives into the zoo, whenever the temperature ticks up a few degrees from winter and the sun comes out. And the zoo, consistently one of the city’s top-drawing attractions, keeps getting better. This spring, it opened the new 10-acre African Savanna mixed-species space, with giraffe feeding, underwater hippo viewing, multiple yards for southern black rhinos, and exotic bird aviaries.
1989 Colonial Parkway,
Editors’ Pick: Sundance Square
In how many other cities do the locals like to go downtown and take visitors there, too? Sundance Square, the bustling centerpiece of Fort Worth’s ongoing downtown revitalization, is an easy pick. Have a snack and drink, full meal, or après-theater nightcap at Sundance’s numerous restaurants, bars and lounges. Grab a chair and table beneath the gigantic umbrellas at Sundance Plaza, flip open your laptop and get some work done between meetings. Take in one of the city’s numerous downtown festivals, like the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival, that draw energy from downtown’s popularity. Experience the square from the ground, or from above, say, the rooftop dining area at Reata. And if a visitor stops you downtown and asks where the shops are, you’ve now got numerous stores to direct them to. It’s not been too many years since you’d have just pointed in the direction of Retro Cowboy. No offense to Retro Cowboy, which is enjoying its many younger neighbors. Downtown’s renaissance is pushing west toward West Seventh, south toward the Near Southside, north toward Panther Island and east toward Riverside. And at the heart: Sundance Square.
420 Main St.,

Local Writer/Author
Reader Pick: Herd Midkiff

This is what happened when Herd Midkiff, partner and director of consulting services at the JTaylor consultancy in Fort Worth, lost his wife Shannon at age 44. He wrote a book called Our Beating Hearts – a love story and memoir following their 18 years together. “Our Beating Hearts is about remembering and accepting that often our lives are changed forever in ways we wish they weren’t,” the book jacket says. “But as we put the broken pieces back together, healing does come, and we can begin to imagine a new journey that lies ahead.”
Editors’ Pick: Julia Heaberlin
Julia Heaberlin, an ex-journalist, has been a prolific novelist since she bailed from her management job at one of the local newspapers several years ago. Heaberlin, who lives in Grapevine, today is an internationally bestselling thriller writer for Penguin Random House. Her titles include Playing Dead, Lie Still and Black-Eyed Susans. Her latest, Paper Ghosts, debuted in April, and she’s working on her fifth thriller.

Reader Pick: Kimbell Art Museum

3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.,
Editors’ Pick: Amon Carter Museum of American Art
3501 Camp Bowie Blvd.,

Musical Group
Reader Pick: Henry the Archer

Frontman Richard Hennessy may hail from New Jersey, but there’s something distinctly Fort Worth about Henry the Archer. Noted for its quirky sound, this alternative rock outfit isn’t afraid to throw in a little horn or piano here and there; while Hennessy’s whiny but sincere vocals often surprise with the occasional falsetto. Henry the Archer is riding the wave of its latest release, Zero Is a Number, and a performance at this year’s Fortress Festival.
Editors’ Pick: The Burning Hotels
It’s been almost a year since The Burning Hotels played its last show at Ridglea Theater, and quite frankly, we miss them. This ’80s-inspired, post-punk band (or “sex wave,” as they liked to call it) was often compared to mainstream counterparts like The Strokes and The Killers for its catchy beats and electronic flavor. The band might be over, but the music lives on.
Find The Burning Hotels on Facebook

Neighborhood Association
Reader Pick: Ridglea Hills

This association does what strong neighborhood associations are supposed to do: Bring folks together. The Ridglea Hills association collaborates on events like Halloween in the Hills, National Night Out, and a progressive dinner. It keeps residents up to date on quality of life and city issues like traffic, crime, budget, bond programs and elections, with regular speakers like the City Council member who represents the district. Ridglea Hills Elementary is one of the Fort Worth ISD’s highest-performing schools, and the PTA also works through the neighborhood association to keep residents up to date on what’s happening in their school.
Editors’ Pick: Sunset Heights

Neighborhood Park
Reader Pick: Ridglea Hills Park

4599 Stonedale Road
Editors’ Pick: Monticello Park
3500 Block of Dorothy Lane

Reader Pick: Alliance For Children

908 Southland Ave.,
Editors’ Pick: Hope Center
for Autism 2751 Green Oaks Road,

Reader Pick: Larry and Karen Anfin
Editors’ Pick: Melissa Ice

There’s something oh-so Fort Worthian about Melissa Ice — the stylish, self-proclaimed “mompreneur” who founded The NET. The organization aims to address all of the needs of the thousands of people living in poverty in Fort Worth — both the tangible and intangible, believing that “people need people more than they need stuff.” The group hosts 38 relationship-building events every month, including empowerment programs, birthday parties for the homeless and survivor support groups.

Reader Pick: Brian Luenser

Whether it’s from the top of a high-rise building, in the middle of a storm, or under the lights of downtown, Brian Luenser captures Fort Worth — plain and simple. An all-around nice guy, Luenser isn’t technically part of our staff, but he very kindly lets us showcase his work at the back of every magazine.
Editors’ Pick: Reverie Photo Co
Documentary and lifestyle photographer Jodie Miers, founder of Reverie Photo Co., has a knack for keeping it real. She regularly captures sweet and modern shots of local families, living naturally in their spaces. She’ll capture her clients wherever they want, but at-home photo shoots shine for being both modern and minimal.

Radio Personality
Reader Pick: Erin Wilde

92.1 Hank FM
Editors’ Pick: Krys Boyd
KERA, Think

Residential Neighborhood
Reader Pick: Walsh

It’s not taken long for Walsh, sprouting from a gigantic far West Side prairie overlooking downtown Fort Worth, to get going. The development is celebrating the first year since its launch. To add to the homes that production builders have put up in the development, a lineup of custom builders is soon to get started. And, the Aledo ISD opened a new elementary school in the middle of the development last year. Walsh’s amenities include fast Wi-Fi, a small grocery store, coworking center, fitness center, maker space, and lots of parkland. Walsh holds builders to design standards, so homeowners’ investments are protected. Next up: two pools opening this summer.
Editors’ Pick: Fairmount
Not too many years ago, prospective homeowners looking for a toehold in the Near Southside neighborhood couldn’t find one amid the substandard buildings and lots with cars up on blocks. The neighborhood went after substandard property owners and piled in on an aggressive set of historic standards governing exterior changes to existing buildings and new construction. The hard work paid off. Just a few years ago, Southern Living named Fairmount one of the South’s best comeback neighborhoods. Of course, Fairmount may be a victim of its own success. Skyrocketing property valuations have pushed up taxes; increasing numbers of Southsiders have taken the opportunity to cash out and buy homes in less popular neighborhoods like West Meadowbrook and Benbrook. Rents have jumped, too. The worry: The Near Southside, whose revitalization was built on the work of creatives, may be now pushing those people out.

Wine Expert
Reader Pick: Chester Cox

Kent & Co.
Editors’ Pick: Chris Salvador