When offered the job as editor of TRIBEZA, the first thing I did was splurge on a very expensive meal at Perla’s complete with multiple bottles of rosé and a “Perla’s Grande Platter.” The second thing I did was create a list in my phone called “People of the Year.”
For months, I filled that list with the names of people doing compelling work across the cultural spectrum. If someone told an interesting anecdote in a meeting, I wrote it on the list. Met someone at a party? Name went on the list. If TRIBEZA publisher George Elliman left an Austin American-Statesman article about a new local business on my desk (which usually includes his notes in the margin), I wrote it on the list. I turned to the TRIBEZA editorial team, friends, artists, industry insiders, sources, reporters and musicians for their suggestions on who they think is shaping Austin arts and culture. Editing the list proved an incredibly daunting task. After all, to tell the story of Austin is to tell the story of her people, and it is a job we take very seriously — and what makes this issue so very special.
The first names I wrote down were chefs Grae Nonas and Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie. Over the past year, I have taken friends, family and out-of-towners to dine in the sweet little house on San Antonio Street. In my opinion, what Nonas and Fojtasek are doing in their kitchen is the perfect microcosm for where Austin’s culinary culture is heading. For this shoot, we took them out of the kitchen and to the swanky South Congress Hotel to be photographed by the talented Chad Wadsworth.
In addition to Nonas and Fojtasek, you will find dozens of Austin’s most compelling figures including our cover star, Casey Chapman Ross. An up and coming photographer, this image of Chapman Ross captured so perfectly the important moment we are having as a city. The eyes of the world are very much upon Austin, and photographer Bill Sallans captured that sentiment beautifully.
Learning about these people, hearing their stories, reading their words, and sitting with them during portrait sessions, I have fallen a little bit in love with each of our People of the Year — and I know our readers will, too.
What an honor it is to share their work with you.
—Katie Friel, @katiefriel