Art of the Texas Parks

100 Years of the State Park System

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From the rugged mesas of the Panhandle and the steep-sided mountains of Big Bend Country to the waterways of the Gulf Coast and rolling grasslands of the prairies, visitors will journey through the diverse ecological regions of Texas as interpreted by individual artists.

For the first time in its 100 year history and in celebration of its centennial, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has commissioned Texan artists to paint scenes from their parks. Thirty artists were tasked with exploring and painting 65 parks, natural areas, and historic sites in the state park system. The selection of 36 paintings on view are as varied as the parks themselves and offer a snapshot of Texas’s ecosystems and history.

As a collection, these works are more than a visual representation of the state’s park system. They prompt meaningful reflection on the natural beauty of public lands and their significance as places of solace, rejuvenation, recreation, and refuge. Some depict broad vistas and wide-open spaces, others focus on intimate forest scenes or iconic historic monuments. Some are abstractions of natural elements, others are detailed depictions of flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The artists' mediums of choice are as diverse as the scenes — oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, charcoal, and Batik are all represented. Read in the artists' own words what inspired them and why they fell in love with Texas’s state parks.

Given the alchemy that occurs when fine artists collide with exquisite landscape, it seems only natural to encourage such visual chemistry. William E. Reaves and Linda J. Reaves, A Century of Texas State Parks: Reflections, Recollections, and Aspirations

This exhibition also explores the 100 year history of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Established in 1923 by the 38th Texas Legislature to provide conservation and management of public lands, the TPWD has expanded to 95 sites that represent 627,000 acres of public land. These sites — 74 state parks, 13 historic sites, and 8 natural areas — preserve Texas’ landscapes, provide refuge and habitat for native plants and animals, and offer an increasingly urban population places to connect to the natural world.

 

The exhibition is supported by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University

The Bullock Museum, a division of the Texas State Preservation Board, is funded by Museum members, donors, and patrons, the Texas State History Museum Foundation, and the State of Texas.