Austin (KXAN) — It has been 100 years since the 38th Texas Legislature established the Texas State Park System in 1923, which now contains 89 lots and 640,000 acres of public land. Now, the Bullock Museum of Texas State History is celebrating this milestone with the Art of Texas Parks exhibit, created in collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Angie Glasker, curator at the Texas History Museum, said the exhibit features 34 paintings by 30 artists from various parks, natural areas and historic sites in the state park system. The idea originally came from TPWD when the State Department commissioned artists and then approached Bullock’s staff about the exhibit.
As a curator, she helped set up the space and choose the theme for 34 paintings.
“We decided to divide the exhibition into sections according to the very diverse eco-regions of Texas, so that the exhibition almost feels like you are traveling around the state and seeing these landscapes change, sometimes significantly different, depending on which part of the state you are in. Glasker said.
A total of 30 artists created 65 paintings, 34 of which were selected for the exhibition. Glasker said her main goals were to ensure that all artists included at least one painting, as well as to ensure that all of the various geographic regions of Texas were represented in the collection on display.
The paintings used a variety of media, from oils and acrylics to pastels. Glasker said the mediums chosen by the artists were deliberate to help reflect how parks and natural areas are seen from their point of view.
“It’s really a very visually interesting exhibition because when you walk it’s not just a change in the landscape – it’s a change in the human perspective on what these landscapes are and how they can be reached,” she said. “A very, very visually stunning piece when you actually stand in the gallery.”
Glasker said she hopes visitors understand how important it is to preserve these state parks and, in turn, Texas history. The exhibition includes paintings depicting natural areas, from the early zero state park system, such as Mother Neff State Parks, to new places not yet open to the public.
“They have been important to Texas for a very long time and are part of our identity,” she said. “I also hope that visitors will leave with a sense of the uniqueness of Texas in terms of these landscapes.”
The book, published for the exhibition’s 100th anniversary, will be available for purchase at Bullock’s gift shop. The museum also hosts a free first Sunday of each month with free-to-the-public programming for the whole family. Bullock opened on third Thursdays when the museum remains open to the public late on the third Thursday of the month.
The Art of Texas State Parks exhibit is open to the public through April 30.