Bullock Museum hosts art exhibit celebrating centennial of the Texas State Park System

Exhibition features paintings representing the diverse ecological regions of Texas

Art of Texas State Parks opened at the Bullock Texas State History Museum on Saturday, January 7, featuring paintings commissioned to celebrate the Texas State Park System’s centennial.

Art of Texas State Parks presents the diverse geography of Texas as interpreted by individual artists. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department commissioned thirty artists and tasked them with exploring and painting 65 parks, natural areas, and historic sites. Thirty-four of the paintings will be on view in Art of Texas State Parks.

Established in 1923 by the 38th Texas Legislature to provide conservation and management of public lands, the Texas State Park System has expanded to 89 sites that represent 640,000 acres of public land. These sites — 74 state parks, six state historic sites, and nine state 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.

“Through the years we have been honored to work with Texas Parks and Wildlife on numerous projects and now are very excited to share in their celebration honoring our wonderful state parks,” said Margaret Koch, Director of the Bullock Museum. “These fantastic new paintings reflect on the beautiful diversity and treasured environments that TPWD has cared for over the last 100 years. We hope everyone will come to see the paintings and be inspired to explore the outdoors!”

The paintings offer snapshots of the diverse history and ecological regions of Texas. Arranged geographically, they depict parks from Big Bend Country, the Gulf Coast, Hill Country, Panhandle Plains, Pineywoods, Prairies and Lakes, and South Texas Plains. These works are meant to prompt meaningful reflection on the natural beauty of public lands and their significance as places of solace, rejuvenation, recreation, and refuge.

The paintings include a wide range of subjects and materials. Some depict broad vistas and wide-open spaces, while others focus on intimate forest scenes or iconic historic monuments. The artist’s mediums include oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, charcoal, and Batik. Each painting is accompanied by an artist’s statement about what inspired them and why they fell in love with Texas’ state parks.

Museum members will celebrate the opening of the exhibition with an exclusive reception on Thursday, January 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and events highlighting Texas State Parks and the diverse ecology of Texas will be offered throughout the run of the exhibition. After its run at the Bullock Museum, the exhibit will travel to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Art of Texas State Parks is on view at the Bullock Museum from January 7 through April 30, 2023. The exhibition is presented in English and Spanish. For more information, visit TheStoryofTexas.com.