“The wild west!” This is what pops up in our minds when we hear someone talking about Texas. We immediately get an image of a cowboy with a broad-brimmed hat, slowly walking in a barren land. Is that what Texas is all about? Certainly not! In fact, it would be unfair for the second largest state of America to limit it to its wild side only.
The land of Texas has seen its fair share of war and bloodshed. It has been ruled by 6 different governments, hosted the last battle of the Civil War, and endured some of the deadliest natural disasters. And yet, mighty Texas stood its ground. As masculine as it sounds, Texas prides itself in nesting some of the best artists in the country.
In earlier days, everyone looked forward to California to seek their fortune. It was the ultimate place where people were sure their talents could be recognized. Now, the tables have turned, and it’s time for Texas to rise. Emerging artists from all over the country have made their way to Texan cities. They are comfortable with knowing that their potential is seen there even though Texans can be harsh with the criticism.
Affordable rents and the opening of new museums and galleries have allowed artists to trust Texas. The overhaul of curators who are willing to give new talent a chance has created many new communities for the artists. Those who were hopeless in other places found new hope for their art, and many have succeeded in making a living out of it. These communities have helped everyone get together – the art lovers and the artists. No wonder San Angelo has been named the Visual Arts Capital of Texas.
Let’s take a look at some of Texas’s artist communities and how they are serving new talents:
1. 500X Gallery
One of the oldest art galleries in Dallas, 500X, is an artist-run gallery that paves the way for new artists from all over the country. What’s special about 500X is that there is no need to hire a middle-man or representative to get your art showcased. The founders of the gallery were two artists, Will Hipps and Richard Childers, who joined hands and created a space just for new talent. 500X organizes an “Expo” every year in which artists can participate in projects. The art is then judged by an honorable curator. The Expo is open to the public so that everyone can enjoy it.
The gallery introduces guest artists from time to time so that their mission statement does not get limited to Texas only.
2. Blue Star Arts Complex
Simply put, the Blue Star Arts Complex is a conglomerate of everything artistic that is put together. It is the place where you can enjoy a fun weekend without getting bored even for a second. Located along the San Antonio River, the Blue Star Complex comprises several buildings that serve as galleries, theater, studios, and many more. It offers a place for artists to showcase their art as well as a place to stay and work on it. The complex is huge, including the longest-running contemporary art venue in San Antonio.
The history of Blue Star Arts Complex is a curious matter. The property was left by King William, which was purchased by Hap Veltman and Bernard Lifshutz in 1985. Coincidentally, the San Antonio Museum of Art canceled an exhibition that disheartened many artists. Veltman and Lifshutz decided to use one of the buildings as a gallery for everyone to enjoy art. From then on, Blue Star Complex has only seen success and glory.
3. Visual Arts Society of Texas
Founded in 1975 by a group of artists, the Visual Arts Society of Texas holds a respectable position in the world of art. It holds events all year round. Artists are welcome to be members of society or join a specific event to display their art. An artist of the year is awarded based on the best piece of art as judges by the curators. The society also holds workshops and meetings with the members so that everyone can connect and share their ideas. The exhibitions include 175-mile exhibitions, calendar exhibitions, mini shows, merging visions exhibitions, and many more.
4. Fort Worth Art Collective
Starting in 2013 as a single pop-up show, the Fort Worth Art Collective has established itself into something a lot serious. They organize properly curated art exhibitions that often run for several days in different parts of the country. The founders and members are all professional artists who know exactly how to help their fellow artists and bring about easy access to art in an otherwise narrow corporate world.
5. Dallas Museum of Art
Museums all over the world hold a sacred place in everyone’s heart. While children enjoy their academic trips, the adults ponder upon every piece’s past, present, and future in a museum. The same could be said about the Dallas Museum of Art. It started off as a one-room gallery in 1903, suggested by the great Texan artist Frank Reagh.
The room was renovated, and many notable artists indulged themselves in adding to the gallery’s collection. Funds were raised, and when the gallery was opened for the public, it beheld a sight none had ever seen in Texas before. The marvelous collection took everyone by surprise, and some pieces were bought by the Art Committee.
Today, the mission statement of the Dallas Museum of Art is a place “where art comes alive.” The museum offers programs for everyone. It not only displays art, but it also teaches them to young and adults too. Exhibitions are held every year so that new artists can feel themselves a part of a much bigger community.
6. Hive Art Collective
As harsh as it may sound, inclusive platforms are hard to find. This stereotype was broken by a group of female-identified and genderqueer people who gave priority to their art instead of their pronouns. The Hive Collective is an institute for gender-nonconforming people to express themselves through art. They offer affordable workshops in fields like embroidery, woodwork, theater, and many more. The educators are professionals who are comfortable in their skin and are confident that they can teach others what art is truly about.
7. Latino Cultural Center
The LCC opened in 2003 as a place where Spanish and Latino art can be represented. The place has a spacious theater, a sculpture floor, multipurpose rooms, and an open plaza for events. Independent organizers can rent it out to hold events. The LCC is funded by people who have a passion for the arts. The Friends of LCC is a non-profit organization with members who contribute to the betterment of Latin culture and fine exposure.
Earth without Art is “Eh”
Art comes in all kinds of forms. Some are pleasant, while others require a more mature audience. The state of Texas has become a safe haven for American artists. They feel as if they can express themselves easily in the non-conservative environment of Texas. They welcome criticism as long as the masses see their art. A true artist never cowers from harsh words. The people of Texas make sure that the artist feels at home all the time – cozy yet at their toes.