A new set of exhibits for the 2019-2020 Main Street Art Tracks has come to downtown Palestine.
In its eighth year, the revolving showcase of art continues to enhance and beautify the city.
“This year, we looked for sculptures that were more interactive and would allow people to take photos with them,” said Jean Mollard, a Palestine Tomorrow Inc., board member. “We have noticed a trend in those types of sculptures as a well-received draw to the community.”
Since the first show, over 100 sculptures have graced Main Street. The new exhibit features 18 diverse sculptures created by 11 artists. They will remain in Palestine for the next year.
A committee, made up of members from Palestine Main Street and Palestine Tomorrow, reviews each application and submission to ensure the display consists of only the highest-quality artwork. Installed in prominent downtown areas, it's called the Main Street District.
Each piece for the outdoor exhibit was chosen by a committee for quality, workmanship, and family-friendliness. Each exhibit has been widely eclectic, combining elegance, modern art, and green art.
This year's work includes, a metal ostrich on Spring Street, an interactive dogwood tree perfect for photo ops at the Palestine Visitor Center, an interactive trike, a butterfly on a cactus, a school of fish, and a birdhouse.
“No only does the program bring color and design elements to our Main Street, it also encourages art lovers to return to Palestine each year to view the self guided exhibit,” said Tourism Marketing Manager Mary Raum. “Featuring artists from across Texas, the Art Tracks installation has become a staple in our community that locals and visitors enjoy as they visit the area.”
The idea for the trail was born in 2010, after sculptor Dale Montagne visited Palestine. He offered Mollard, Jackson Hanks, and others a vision of sculpture art as a downtown attraction by installing train motifs or railroad history in Palestine’s public spaces.
The group formed Palestine Tomorrow, a nonprofit to promote parks and the arts. In 2012, the group, along with Palestine Main Street, sponsored its first Art Tracks Trail.
Each year, artist are invited to apply with photos. Selected artists receive various stipends for expenses; $2,000 in prize money will be awarded to select entries in late 2020.
Many of the exhibits can be purchased for private display, or given to the city for the sculpture park under development across from the Visitor Center.
During the sculpture tour, check out the base of each sculpture, used for the initial exhibition. This unique touch was created from railroad wheels donated by Union Pacific Railroad. These stands serve as the exhibit's cohesive design element.
PTI is working to establish a rail-themed park that could include additional static displays of historic railroad equipment. “Forging History” will move to the railroad park, where it will remain on permanent display.