“Cultural Interface” Public Artwork Unveiling

The formal unveiling of a major public artwork, “Cultural Interface,” by noted Texas artist Steve Russell was held December 7, 2023, on the
shores of Little Bay in Rockport.  Spearheaded by the Rockport Cultural Arts
District (RCAD), the initiative has been a joint project with the Aransas County Navigation District (ACND), and privately funded through donations from foundations, businesses, patrons, and fellow artists. The bronze sculptures recognize the multicultural heritage of Rockport, honoring those who have inhabited and explored Aransas County.

A native of Rockport, Russell has created artwork over six decades, many of
which celebrate Aransas County’s landscape, wildlife, and history, as well as
that of other parts of Texas and the world.  He was chosen as the cover artist
for a 2022 Texas A&M University Press book, “The Story of the Rockport-
Fulton Art Colony:  How A Coastal Texas Town Became an Art Enclave.” The
book details his role in helping create the Rockport Art Association, now the
Rockport Center for the Arts.

Russell was recently named Rockport Artist Laureate by the Aransas County
Commissioners in tribute to his lifelong service to the area’s art
community, honoring his work as a mentor, teacher and inspiration to
generations of other artists. Throughout his career, Russell has been a
supporter of historical, environmental and conservation causes and
organizations.

Jennifer Day, RCAD’s Executive Director, noted, “We have been honored to
lead the effort to have Steve’s sculptures become a reality.  They are
an impressive addition to Rockport’s public artwork, reflecting our heritage for many generations to come.” Representing ACND, Malcolm Dieckow stated,” The Navigation District is proud to partner with RCAD to display this artwork on the shores of one of our most treasured natural resources, Little Bay, by one of our most treasured artists, Steve Russell.   Children and families who visit our beaches and waters can be reminded of all those who have contributed to our history.”

RCAD is one of 54 Cultural Districts in the state, designated by the Texas
Commission on the Arts in 2016, the first in South Texas.  Since then, it has initiated many projects including restoring the historic Rockport Railroad
Depot, built in 1888 and establishing it as a museum, adding to the wealth of
museums and historic sites in Aransas County.  The RCAD Board includes
representatives from the Native American, Hispanic and Vietnamese
communities.   Further, murals have been commissioned by the Cultural District to celebrate and protect the diversity of habitat, wildlife, flora and
fauna, as well as the history of the art colony.

Additionally, RCAD has recently partnered with Aransas Pathways and
Aransas First Land Trust on a mural depicting Rockport’s iconic windswept
oak trees and educating all of Rockport’s Tree City USA designation for the
past 24 years.