A Real Stroke of Genius

With every brush stroke, camera click, music note or pan sizzle, our artists capture the true essence of our little seaside sanctuary. Everywhere you look you’ll find shops, restaurants and galleries all serving up a sensational experience. So, explore all the wonder Rockport has to offer and view it from every perspective.

Rockport Art Center Sculpture Garden

Rockport Center for the Arts

Rockport Center for the Arts’ mission is to be the catalyst and epicenter for opportunities to explore the creative arts. Inspiring exhibitions, an annual Artist-in-Residence program and traveling exhibits are part of the repertoire the community and its visitors have come to expect. The many activities of the Art Center draw fifty-thousand visitors per year.

Rockport Center for the Arts’ Sculpture Garden

A world-class sculpture garden featuring works by Kent Ullberg, James Surls, the late Jesús Moroles and many others have accentuated Rockport’s coastline since 2000, making it one of the most prestigious and uniquely positioned showcases for fine art in South Texas. Some of the sculptures sustained damages during Hurricane Harvey, yet none were lost. Conservation is underway to protect Rockport’s art legacy. Patrons can still visit the Sculpture Garden and enjoy its breathtaking bay-views. For the enjoyment of patrons, residents and visitors a complete beautification was completed in August 2018, less than one year after Hurricane Harvey. The Sculpture Garden is located at 902 Navigation Circle, between Aransas Bay and Rockport Harbor. Open year round; admission is always free and open to the public.

A Unique Location

Rockport Center for the Arts, was located in the blue Victorian house at Rockport Harbor near Rockport Beach. On August 25, 2017 the facility suffered catastrophic damage due to Hurricane Harvey’s direct impact on Rockport. Three months after Hurricane Harvey, the staff and board of directors re-established operations in a building located at 106 S. Austin St. on land purchased for a planned expansion.

Visit The Art Center Today!

106 S. Austin St., Rockport Texas. Open Monday through Saturday from 10-4pm
Admission is always free

For more information please visit RockportArtCenter.com or call 361-729-5519.

Rockport Center for the Arts – Events

Three major events per year draw cultural tourism from across the state.

Rockport Studio Tour

Spring

Spring’s Rockport Tour of Homes, a 28 year tradition, was replaced in 2018 with the first ever Rockport Studio Tour. It allowed visitors to see some of the most unique artist studios in Rockport’s storied art colony, learn about medium, technique and acquire unique pieces of art.

Click here for more information on the Rockport Studio Tour.

Rockport Art Festival

Summer

The Rockport Art Festival is the place to be July 4th weekend. More than 10,000 people attend each year to enjoy music, food and artwork from 120 of the best artists from around the country.

Click here for more information on the Rockport Art Festival.

Rockport Film Festival

Fall

Early in November, the Rockport Film Festival entertains audiences with the best of independent cinema.

Click here for more information on the Rockport Film Festival.

The History of Art in Rockport

The Rockport Fulton Art Colony

Aransas County’s scenic beauty, abundance of birds and wildlife, and picturesque sights have captured the imagination of artists since the early 1900s. Early settlers valued culture, including music, drama and art, and sometimes painted scenes such as local sailing regattas or their family’s house nestled in the dunes.

Simon Michael founded the Fulton School of Painting and later the Simon Michael School of Fine Art in Rockport in the late 1940s, after traveling around the world, painting with Picasso in Paris and working on Mount Rushmore. He and his students often worked outdoors as plein aire artists, capturing the life around fish houses where boatmen repaired their nets. They also boated out into the bays to paint the Aransas Pass lighthouse and the sand dunes and traveled to Mexico in the summers. Simon had generations of students here and in surrounding Texas towns, offering lessons for $1.00 a day in the beginning. He also began the local tradition of public art, teaching area students to paint murals of sealife and historic buildings.

Other artists and teachers, including Kit Dinger, Steve Russell and Estelle Stair, established the Rockport Art Guild and Association in the sixties, organizing the first Art Festival in 1968. Waves of creative people visited and often settled here to have second careers as artists, sometimes supplementing their incomes as illustrators, teachers and gallery owners.

Also in the sixties a group of artists who loved hunting and fishing congregated in the area. Jack Cowan, Herb Booth, Al Barnes, local artist Steve Russell and others developed a regional landscape school, often called the Texas Coast aesthetic. Meredith Long opened a branch of his prestigious Houston gallery in Key Allegro, which helped popularize wildlife and sporting art. Many of the artists donated their art to conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited, the Gulf Coast Conservation Association, later the Coastal Conservation Association, and joined with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to raise money for conservation causes.

In 1984, after being housed in other rented buildings, the Rockport Art Association opened in its first permanent building in the donated Bruhl-O’Connor House; in 1992, they became the Rockport Center for the Arts, continuing many early traditions, including working with children.

Generations of artists, teachers, students, patrons and volunteers have contributed to the art colony, leading to its being named one of the “Top Ten Coastal Art Colony” by Coastal Living Magazine.”

 

Excerpt from “Friends of Aransas County History Center”
For more information visit https://www.thehistorycenterforaransascounty.org

Character ArtColony
unidentified plain air artists

A special thank you to Rockport’s award-winning photographers whose work is featured throughout the site!

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