Ginger Head Gearheart

Ginger was born on August 2, 1946, in Dallas, Texas to Virginia Holland Kauffmann and Dr. Adolph Frederick Kauffmann III. They moved to Galveston, Texas for her father’s residency at UT Medical Branch until Ginger was 5 years old when they moved to Fort Worth. She and her two younger sisters, Janet Kauffmann Hardin, and Debbie Buster Koelling, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Arlington Heights High School.

Ginger attended both Southern Methodist University (SMU) and The University of Texas, and she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. She graduated from SMU in 1968 with a degree in Fine Arts. She was captivated by cultural and human history, a trait she carried throughout her life and passed on to her children.

In 1969, Ginger married her first husband, Albon O’Neal Head, Jr., and raised their three sons – Albon O’Neal Head, III; Tyler Wilkes Kauffmann Head; and Robert Holland Head. During this time, Ginger stayed connected to the arts through volunteer efforts at the Kimbell Art Museum and the Fort Worth Opera.

Ginger worked for a short time at the Fort Worth Opera in the late 1980’s before founding Imagination Celebration Fort Worth in 1989 (which became Imagination Fort Worth) – a program she developed in collaboration with community leaders and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Ginger poured her heart and soul into Imagination Celebration and the children it served. With her longtime friend, Dianne Fisher, she also created a special program for deaf and hearing-impaired students that became part of the curriculum for middle and high school deaf students in Texas. Ginger and her dear friend, director, and choreographer Debbie Allen created the Debbie Allen Dance Institute in Texas that held sessions annually in Fort Worth and Dallas for over 10 years. This effort brought ballet and dance to children who would not have had access to it otherwise. She connected Imagination Celebration Fort Worth to NASA working with it on the Mars Millennium Project to bring arts, engineering, and exploration opportunities to children in Texas. Ginger also worked with her friend Milbry Polk and the WINGS Worldquest organization in New York City to establish the Art of Exploration program in Fort Worth.

Ginger cherished her international work as well, developing a program based on the Imagination Celebration model in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, resulting in a partnership between artists, teachers, students and institutions in Texas and Monterrey. She also traveled extensively on the continent of Africa visiting with educators and children. Imagination Celebration, under Ginger’s leadership, reached over 5,000,000 students with experiences that connect to learning in the arts, sciences, humanities, literacy and technology. It became a model for other Kennedy Center programs and was honored by numerous state and national organizations, as well as by the Department of Education.

Ginger received many honors for her work including the Texas Medal for the Arts; Fort Worth Woman of the Year; the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and most recently the Arts Fort Worth Heart of Gold Award. She was also a member of the National Arts Club in New York City.

Sources of Biography: “Virginia Head Gearheart.” Legacy.Com, Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.