Texans love to get outdoors, and we're lucky to have 89 state parks, historic sites, and natural areas to explore across our great state. Totaling more than 640,000 acres, these public lands are reaching a major milestone in 2023 and one traveling exhibition is commemorating the event throughout the year.
Kicking off at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, "The Art of Texas State Parks"will honor the Centennial Celebration of Texas State Parks with a stunning visual survey of more than 30 parks. Featuring works by some of the state's most celebrated artists, the display will start at the Bullock on January 7 and run until April 30 before moving on to other cities later this year.
Several years in the making, the exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. H-E-B provided additional support for the project as a presenting sponsor of the Texas State Parks Centennial Celebration.
“We are grateful for the partnership that is bringing 'The Art of Texas State Parks' to museums across Texas, spreading the message about these natural treasures that belong to us all,” said TPWD Executive Director David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., in a release.
In total, 30 Texas artists were commissioned to create works celebrating parks across Texas, all with the mission to increase public awareness of Texas parklands and heighten their popular appeal through their elegant and inspired works. Participating artists represent multiple regions across the state, including: DavidGriffin (Lubbock/ Dallas); Pat Gabriel, Billy Hassell, and Jim Malone (all of Fort Worth); Mary Baxter (Marfa); Charles Criner (Houston); Ric Dentinger (San Antonio/Santa Fe NM); Fidencio Duran (Austin); Brian Grimm (Fredericksburg); Clemente Guzman (San Antonio); and many more.
Along with the traveling exhibit, the project also includes a commemorative book published by Texas A&M Press, which is already available online through Texas A&M Press, the Bullock Museum Store, and Amazon. Proceeds from book sales and the sale of the artwork through Foltz Fine Art in Houston will be donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to benefit Texas State Parks.
“It was a real pleasure to see the passion these artists brought to this project, and we’re thrilled these works will be on display at prestigious museums across Texas,” said Andrew Sansom, co-author of the commemorative book and founder of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, in the release. “It is our fervent hope that these works of art will inspire present and future generations of Texans to forever appreciate and protect their parks.”
After its spring stay in Austin, the exhibit will travel to the Houston Museum of Natural Science from May 26 to October 1 before heading to the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon from October 27 through February 18, 2024. The exhibit will also be displayed in 2024 in College Station, Albany, and Tyler.
Those looking to participate in the Centennial Celebration all year long can visit TexasStateParks.org/100years, which includes info on the ongoing partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and TPWD, as well as details about special community events taking place at state parks throughout 2023.