The Education Committee each year nominates a writer and artist to receive the Florida House Distinguished Author and the Florida House Distinguished Artist award. For authors, the Committee examines the nominees' published work of fiction or non-fiction, and determines who best represents the diverse culture and history of the Sunshine State.
For artist, the Committee examines themes relating to Florida in a variety of mediums.
Looking for a hobby when her children started school, an art teacher friend suggested she come by her garage studio. She was hooked. Jackie went on to study with Beanie Backus and is now renowned in her own right for her beautiful portraits of the Florida landscape. Her work focuses on depicting remote wetlands, rivers and forests in an effort to promote the preservation of Florida. A native Floridian, she has been painting since 1967. Her work is in the permanent collection at The White House, at Florida House, in Congressional and Senate offices and Florida’s Capitol, along with many hospitals and corporations. Senator and Mrs. Graham sponsored a solo exhibit of Jackie’s work in the rotunda of the Richard B. Russell Senate Office Building. Seventeen paintings representing the entire state were the result of her year-long travel throughout Florida. Her portfolio was accepted into the archives at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. In March, 2012, Jackie was inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame. Jackie is very active in Jupiter, encouraging young people in art and ecological preservation. She often introduces painting to schoolchildren in the first or second grade.
Patsy Woodroffe, Grace Nelson, Arva Moore Parks, Jackie Brice, Emilie Shaw and Cindy Ross
Arva Moore Parks currently serves as the acting director and chief curator for the Coral Gables’ Museum. She was the first woman to serve as president of HistoryMiami, the first chairperson of the Florida Governor’s Mansion Commission and the first chair of the Vizcaya Trust. She is chair of the Coral Gables Historic Preservation Board and has been named the Coral Gables Citizen of the Year and received the Chamber of Commerce George E. Merrick Spirit of Excellence Award. Her most recent book was just published in October. Legendary Locals of Greater Miami (co-authored with Howard Kleinberg) is an introduction to 200 men and women who have made Miami what it is today. Arva is the author of many other books on South Florida history including Miami the Magic City (the city of Miami’s official history) and Coral Gables: Where Your Castles in Spain are Made Real. In addition to her books, she has worked hard to preserve the Biltmore Hotel and Truman’s Little White House. She produced films on Miami and Coconut Grove, subsequently receiving an Emmy from the Florida Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Ms. Parks has held a Presidential Appointment to the Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and was inducted into the State of Florida and the city of Miami’s Women’s Hall of Fame. From 1982 – 1983 she chaired the Florida Endowment for the Humanities. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and a master’s in history from the University of Miami.
Gary R. Mormino, Ph.D., Author
A. E. 'Beanie' Backus, Artist *Deceased
Niki and Clyde Butcher, Artists
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Author *Deceased
Christopher M. Still, Artist
Carlton W. Ward, Jr., Author
Jackson Walker, Artist
Bob Beatty, Author
The Highwaymen, Artists