Roving Reporter | "Texas A&M University Press has agreed to publish a book documenting the history of the Rockport-Fulton Art Colony being..."

Texas A&M University Press has agreed to publish a book documenting the history of the Rockport-Fulton Art Colony being completed by the History Center for Aransas County. Kay Betz, Ph.D., History Center Board Member and Development Chair, and Vickie Merchant, Ph.D., President, have been researching this topic since 2016, beginning with an exhibit at the Center. Almost fifty oral histories and many other interviews form the basis of the story of the colony, designated as “one of the top ten coastal art colonies.” The on-going research was also presented at the annual conference of the American Association for State and Local History in 2017.

Steve Russell, renowned Rockport artist and one of the founders of the Rockport Art Association in the sixties, is painting the cover for the book. Dr. Robert Harrist, Jr., an internationally-known Art Historian at Columbia University in New York, has agreed to write the Preface. Dr. Harrist grew up in Rockport and was an art student of Simon Michael, considered the founder of the art colony.

The H-E-B Tournament of Champions Charitable Trust (H-E-B- TOC) has donated $37,500 for printing the book and accompanying educational programs. H-E-B TOC, funded by H-E-B vendors and Partners, has supported projects and programs focusing on education, families, military, and youth for over 30 years. An Advisory Group of local educators and artists will be working on STEAM and TEKS-related curriculum and other educational programs as part of the H-E-B TOC grant.

Art from private collections, much of it never reproduced, will document local historical buildings and homes, as well as the wildlife and landscapes often depicted by artists. The connection between Rockport-Fulton nature and sporting artists as well as environmental and conservation causes will be covered through stories of numerous artists’ roles in the formation of groups such as the Coastal Conservation Association and support of others such as Ducks Unlimited.

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