“ Something old, something new”
Welcome to the new website of the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art!
“Something old, something new” by the Fantastics is very much applicable this month as we welcome our new exhibition:
Celebrating 82 years
Brownsville Art League
We kicked off July 8 and will have this wonderful collection up on the walls until mid September.
The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art celebrated its 80th birthday with an exhibition of the permanent collection. In 1935 the founding members started an artist colony, east of Brownsville (now in Southmost) to have their art classes and invite artist in residence to help them improve their skills.
One of the first art instructors was Harry Anthony de Young. He was an outstanding professional artist from San Antonio who made trips to the Valley to conduct classes. He started in 1937 and for three consecutive years he conducted art colonies in this area. The last one was organized in Port Isabel in 1939.
1948 began a new era for the Brownsville Art League when they were allowed to sponsor the Brownsville Junior College Art Gallery. This was part of the Texas Southmost College and college student classes were offered for credits.
Another notable moment in the Art League’s history is when Roy Keister, professional artist from Chicago moved to the Valley and started classes in the new gallery.
Mr. Keister shared his skills with Calla Lilly Magill, Clara Ely, Francis Ray and Ruth Young McGonnigle who all started teaching classes at the College.
In the 1950’s the Art League acquired the historic Neale House and moved it to Fort Brown. It was also converted into an Art Museum, giving our founding members a home.
Later in the early 60’s Ruth Young McGonnigle, the first registered female Architect in the state of Texas and graduate of Rice University, designed an addition to the historic Neale House. For 15 years the building served as an Art Studio and Museum until 1976, when an new building was constructed next to the Neale House.
It took another 25 years until the plans were conceived to build our current building.
Many visiting artists have donated artwork and the founding members have done their share both donating their own works and the works they had collected.
This exhibition, curated by local artist Mark Clark, will show a total of 150 artworks, both from the early years as well as more contemporary works.
As I mentioned something old and something new, I’d like to refer to the total makeover of our website. The architecture and content have been restructured and as a result we now have a more interactive website with less glitches and more up-to-date information.
Please enjoy our exhibit and and website!
Rene van Haaften