Kerr County shines as an arts destination

For one weekend, the county's three big cultural centers showed they can share the spotlight, and everyone wins.

Vickie MacMillan-Hayes camped out in front of Kerrville's historic Guthrie Building at the corner of Earl Garrett and Main streets on Saturday.

She was painting the building's facade, along with an American flag, and she had three hours to do it. This was going to be a full day for MacMillan-Hayes, a Houston artist who has a distinctive painting style, with a morning and afternoon of connection with outdoor painters at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center and then a quick-change for an evening event at the Museum of Western Art.

Artists and patrons gathered at the Museum of Western Art for the 38th Annual Roundup.

On Saturday afternoon, over in Ingram, Comfort's Edith Maskey met wave after wave of people visiting her works at the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair held at the Hill Country Arts Foundation. Like MacMillan-Hayes, Maskey would change her clothes for the event at the Museum of Western Art.


On one weekend, three art shows that demonstrated the connection between the three institutions — whether they always recognize it or not.

In a jam-packed weekend, Kerr County played host to these arts events:

  • The Paint Kerrville show at Kerr Arts and Cultural Center was Friday and Saturday. The event attracted about 50 outdoor painting professionals, who faced a three-hour quick-draw painting challenge in a two-block area of downtown Kerrville. The works of the artists — much of it inspired by the Hill Country — packed the main exhibition space at KACC.
  • Ingram's Texas Arts and Crafts Fair arguably had its best weekend since returning to form in 2019. Once one of Kerrville's biggest events, the Arts and Crafts Fair drew large crowds to see a wide variety of Texas-based artisans on Saturday and Sunday.
  • On Saturday night, more than 40 artists from around the country gathered at Kerrville's Museum of Western Art to celebrate the 38th annual Roundup — a fundraiser and art show to support the museum. Both MacMillan-Hayes and Maskey were there.

So, on one weekend, these three showed what's possible for growing cultural events in the Hill Country. It also showed the value of each event to the respective artists. It also helped that the Kerrville Triathlon Festival was in town.

"It's an awesome event," said Lanza Teague, the KACC executive director. "I've had so much fun meeting all of the artists. It's just been a blast."

For KACC, the event featured collaborative work with the Outdoor Painting Society, and Teague said she looks forward to future exhibitions. Still, the key is that the event worked while the others were also showing.

"I think it has helped us," Teague said. "They are either here to enjoy the triathlon, we got a lot of those folks in the gallery yesterday, or they're here for the arts and crafts fair or one of the other events. When they're wandering around town, they see our artists and they come in here."

The works of John and Edith Maskey, watercolorists from Comfort, attracted plenty of visitors to see the colorful works, many inspired from visits to Mexico, at the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair in Ingram.

At the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair, director Wanda Cash was patrolling the grounds in a golf cart after busting a knee cap in the days leading up to the fair, but it didn't slow her or her enthusiasm.

"The artists are phenomenal this year; I've never seen such quality of work," Cash said.

The Point's parking lots were full, as was a lot across the street and at Ingram Tom Moore High School. On the grounds, hundreds enjoyed the art, music and food.

Along with the Kerrville Triathlon Festival, Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Julie Davis got a peek at what the tourism business looks like coming out of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, there were other events going on over the weekend outside of the big four.

"This was a wonderfully full and busy weekend," Davis said. "I haven't heard numbers from the Texas Arts and Craft Fair just yet, but I was out there Sunday, and they appeared to have a great turnout."

For the artists, Kerrville proved to be a welcoming and inspiring place to work.

Robert Rodriguez had driven through Kerrville many times through the years in his back-and-forth drives from New Orleans to Los Angeles. He had stopped at the Museum of Western Art on occasion, but he was one of the featured artists last weekend. His illustrative style earned him a spot on MOWA's cover for its Roundup event, and he sold that piece depicting the "Yellow Rose of Texas."

"I love it," Rodriguez said of Kerrville. "It's just so pretty here. I came here once early in the morning, and it was so lush."

Los Angeles' Robert Rodriguez discusses his work on display at the Museum of Western Art.

For MacMillan-Hayes, the chance to paint in nature is always a win. This was her first time showing at MOWA, but she made the most of the trip to Kerrville to paint with KACC, where she earned a best of show award.

"It is spectacular," MacMillan-Hayes said of the shows. "There are artists from all over the nation here."

Above: Vickie MacMillan-Hayes work depicting the historic Guthrie Building and the American flag was on display Saturday morning in front of the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center. Below: MacMillan-Hayes gives some hands-on guidance to an aspiring artist at the Museum of Western Art on Friday.

Another first-time artist was Oklahoma's Sarah Harless, who Beauchamp invited to attend the roundup. Her genre focuses on scenes from western Oklahoma and parts of the Texas Pandhandle.

"There are a lot of great people here," Harless said. "It is very inspiring."

And after this weekend's events, inspiration for 2022 will not be hard to find.




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