Fill your calendar with fun all year long. From art exhibitions and demonstrations to film, food and wine festivals, there’s always a good time to be had in and around the Cultural Arts District. If you’d like to see all of Rockport’s events head over to the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce Event Calendar.
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RCAD – Art Colony Celebration
March 27, 2021 @ 2:00 am - 3:00 pm
A celebration of the 73-year-old Rockport-Fulton Art Colony will be held Saturday, March 27, 2pm, in Downtown Rockport at Austin and North Streets. The formal unveiling of a Public Art Mural, “The Rockport-Fulton Art Colony”, painted by legendary local artist Steve Russell, will begin the festivities. This will be followed by a book-signing for a children’s’ book, “The ABCs of the Rockport-Fulton Art Colony: Artists & Their Inspiration.”
The event is sponsored by the Rockport Cultural Arts District (RCAD) and the History Center for Aransas County.
Russell, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Rockport Art Association and the Rockport Art Festival in the sixties, has been working on the mural for several months. He has depicted several scenes frequently painted by colony artists, including the Aransas Pass Lighthouse, boats and fish houses in the harbors, and the Bridge to Frandolig Island, known in present day as Key Allegro. The work captures the importance of the wildlife, ecosystem and historic structures in the area to the development of the Rockport-Fulton School of Landscape Painting and the Texas Gulf Coast Aesthetic.
The mural was funded in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the State organization which designated the Rockport Cultural Arts District in September 2016. The Art Colony mural is a prestigious addition to the three other murals in the District.
RCAD is one of only 48 Cultural Districts in the state and was the first on the Coastal Bend. It focuses on preserving and promoting the unique cultural heritage of Rockport by sparking economic development and recognizing it’s visual, performing, culinary cinematic and literary artists and organizations. More information can be found at https://rockportcultural artsdistrict.com.
The ABC book was written by Vickie Merchant, former President of the History Center, and Kay Betz, former Secretary. It chronicles the history of the art colony for younger readers, including the work by many artists in supporting environmental groups like the Coastal Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited and others. Educational activities in the book encourage readers to learn more about art, history, science and technology. The authors worked with local teachers and artists on the book.
The book was funded by the H-E-B Tournament of Champions. All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the History Center, where a 2016 exhibit began research into the subject. The book is a companion to “The Story of the Rockport-Fulton Art Colony: How a Coastal Texas Town Became an Art Enclave,” to be published by Texas A&M University Press in November 2021.
Work from many colony artists is included in the book, along with historical photographs. Artists include Evelyn Atkinson, Kay Barnebey, Al and Nanci Barnes, Susie Black, Shirley Blackman, Herb Booth, Dinah Bowman, Ed Boyd, Mimi Braniff, Charles Cosby, Jack Cowan, Jackson Ehrlich, Thom Evans, Shirley Farley, Larry Felder, Lisa Frederick, Pam Fulcher, Dick Haweley, Frances Iles, Teresa Justice, Elsa Mathews, Hal McCaskill, Simon Michael, Jesus Moroles, Maria Nesbit, Harold Phenix, Clementina and Ricardo Rivera, Barb Robinson, Russell, Jamie and John Speck, Buck Schiwetz, Kent Ullberg and Chance Yarbrough. Some of the artists will be present at the event to sign the book.
One hundred limited-edition, hardback versions of the book will be available for $45 with soft-back copies available for $35. Copies of the book can also be bought at the History Center or ordered online at https://www.thehistorycenterforaransascounty.org/store.