Engaging Public Art on the Upper Texas Coast
It’s always amazing to see what a talented artist can create out of blank space, dead trees, or even trash. These artistic expressions remind us to appreciate what we have and maybe even give it another look. The Upper Texas Coast, like other parts of Texas, is discovering ways to give typically mundane objects another look.
While visiting Jefferson County, make sure to download the City of Beaumont’s Mural Guide, which lists 15 murals to visit. Highlights include the Mermaid Mural and Barbara Lynn Tribute Mural. There are a variety of themes, and all are worthy of a quick picture and post to Instagram.
Texas Artist Museum in Port Arthur
Going through Port Arthur, plan to stop at the Texas Artist Museum. Residents started the museum in 1972 to feature artists of the Golden Triangle region. The museum is open Monday thru Friday from 1 to 4 pm.
Galveston Tree Sculptures
The tidal surge of Hurricane Ike in 2008 killed thousands of trees in Galveston. Some homeowners decided to hire local artists to repurpose these trees into works of art. Galveston has more than 20 tree sculptures scattered across the east end of the island. Some of the more popular are the Tin Man and Toto, a great dane whose owners dress him for every holiday, and two crested herons. The Galveston CVB offers a listing on its website.
League City Butler Oak Sculptures
Similarly, League City repurposed two dying Butler Oak Trees into works of art. Jimmy Phillips, who worked on the tree sculptures in Galveston, is creating a series of four sculptures for League City, including a firefighter rescuing a puppy, a young girl reading a book to a dog, and a railroad engineer holding a signal light. The engineer pays homage to the town’s history as a stop on the rail line. You can find the first two sculptures of the series at Hometown Heroes Park, 2105 Dickinson Ave. and Helen Hall Library, 100 W. Walker St. The city website also offers a map of their newly painted traffic boxes.
Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea (Dec. 10 thru March 5, 2023) in Galveston
Galveston Island is hosting a temporary exhibit to create awareness around the effects of plastic in the world’s waterways. You’ll find 19 art installations across the island. Imagine a shark made of plastic and a bald eagle with a 17-foot wingspan. You’ll see buckets and shovels as a reminder of the importance of keeping our beaches clean. This is the first time these sculptures are available free to the public for viewing in the United States, so it’s a great excuse to go for a road trip.
Angleton’s Traffic Box Art
Typically, traffic boxes are pretty plain except in the City of Angleton. The City of Angleton’s Keep Angleton Beautiful partnered with the Texas Department of Transportation to create temporary traffic box wraps to beautify the city’s right-of-way. Area artists created stunning designs focusing on nature. Among the highlights are an ibis, butterflies, blue jays, and cardinals. It will give you an excuse to smile during your drive.
Murals and 1836 Pocket Park in West Columbia
West Columbia makes another great option in Brazoria County for murals. This small town offers 11 murals, with most painted on Brazos Avenue. You’ll want to spend a little time at the 1836 Pocket Park, which was recently revitalized from a vacant lot to a welcoming park with seating, a mural, and a fountain. A park grant through Texas Parks and Wildlife funded the updates along with the West Columbia Economic Development Corporation and its partners.
Statue and Mural in Palacios
In Palacios, you’ll want to see the Fisherman’s Memorial, which overlooks Matagorda Bay. The 15-foot statue of Jesus serves as a memorial to all fishermen lost at sea and to protect those sailing out. Palacios, home to roughly 400 vessels, is the third-largest shrimping port in Texas and proclaims itself the Shrimp Capital of Texas. Currently, a mural is painted at the Pirate Queen Designs building, 405 Main Street-a shop with a little bit of everything. The city expects more murals to come.
Murals in Bay City
You’ll find at least four murals in Bay City. In celebration of being one of the top locations for birding, you’ll find a “cheat sheet” of birds painted on one mural called Birds of a Feather Flock Together. Look around town for Zeinab Ghais’ numerous Wings of Matagorda County murals. They are definitely IG-worthy.
For more ideas on exploring the Upper Texas Coast, click Things to Do and search by category.
Lone Star Coastal Alliance is committed to promoting nature and heritage tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities in Jefferson, Galveston, Brazoria, and Matagorda Counties.