As mentioned in our last blog, a walk-through downtown San Angelo can feel like a stroll back in time with the historical hints found on basically every corner. What you will also find as you travel down the roads of our small, yet larger than life town, is art that displays itself in many forms.
Of course, there is the focal point of the art district, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts where you will find a treasure trove of exhibits that range from ceramics to contemporary photography and everything in between. Inside the decorated walls you will also find permanent collections that include glass sculptures, a Spanish colonial collection with items dated back as far as the 16th century and various other pieces with a distinct purpose to be used for study, scholarly research and exhibition. With summer camps and various activities offered every week on “Art Thursday”, there is something for every member of your family to enjoy.
There are also smaller museums that can be found up and down the streets of our city’s center. The S.A.M.F.A. has a page dedicated to local museums that can be found here. If a kid-free evening (let’s face it, we NEED those) spent courting your date is something you’re looking for, then head over to one of our newer galleries, Raw 1899. An evening spent here will provide you with a casual atmosphere surrounded by abstract art (created by local and non-local artists), topped off with fine wine and specialty cheeses. A fun fact about this gallery is that it actually encompasses historical San Angelo within the walls that hold its art. Approximately built in 1899 (hence the name), the building itself is a time capsule of San Angelo’s past. “Once owned by First Baptist Church San Angelo, the century-old walls, original tin ceiling, and floors made with Concho River sand echo the past.” The Black Swan Gallery and Wine Bar is another treat that downtown San Angelo has to offer. Rumor also has it that you can also commission an original portrait of your pets from Susan Daniel here. Maybe we will have her do one of Luke and Lixie for us!
If a day of family fun, hanging with a group of exceptionally talented artists and an atmosphere full of life and color is more your speed, then you HAVE to visit The Chicken Farm Art Center. With various events throughout the year and art that ranges from paintings, drawings, pottery, jewelry making, sculpture and so much more, something for everyone can be found at this little “farm”. The “first Saturdays” are once a month, year-round, featuring local artists, select vendors, live local musicians, great food, and activities for kids (and adults) of all ages. If you’ve never experienced this crazy little collection of art and talent, you have to check it out!
We’ve listed places to go to purchase and enjoy art within the walls of our town but you truly only need to take a little time and look around to catch the spirit of art culture blowing through our streets. A simple click on Art In Uncommon Places gives you a literal map of breathtaking abstract art pieces, created by local artists, and placed in “uncommon” places for people to stumble upon. Many downtown establishments are decorated with the Historic Murals of San Angelo through the streets connecting to historical Chadbourne. The talent of our current generation of artists has captured the roots of our past and brought them back to life through paint and love. The Richard and Pam Salmon Sculpture Garden is another point of pride for San Angelo to boast as passersby catch glimpses of it’s larger than life sculptures as they travel down South Bryant. One of our newest art initiatives was in the revitalization of Paint Brush Alley. Located between Concho and Twohig Avenues, this section of exploding art is not an “alley” but an experience. As seen through the many photos being shared with the Art in Uncommon Places Facebook page, you could spend hours looking at the splendor of each nook and cranny found in this tiny landmark of our town.
There are truly too many places and ways to enjoy the deep-rooted art culture of San Angelo to capture in one simple article. From the art painted on our sheep sculptures to the locks placed on the heart cage at the Lonewolf Bridge, one thing can be found in every place piece… our people. Our art doesn’t just represent pretty pictures and neat mosaics. It represents a community of individuals who have spent countless hours and years of handwork creating an atmosphere that can’t be bought and bricked. We take pride in what we’ve built and displayed for not just those that visit but for those of us who drive and work these streets daily. We can share a culture with our youth that is dying out to modern amenities in many other areas. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, San Angelo must be beaming with pride looking at all this town has become.