San Angelo, Texas — For the next ten years San Angelo holds the designation of the Visual Arts Capital of Texas. Diann Bayes the Vice President of San Angelo Convention and Visitors Bureau says the art community made this accomplishment happen. After speaking with artists across San Angelo one thing reins true; that art is a part of the city, both its past, and its future.
“You start to see that art is somehow a part of a lot of different things that are happening in San Angelo,” Alejandro Castanon a member of art community said.
Governor Greg Abbott made the designation of San Angelo being the Visual Arts Capital of Texas Monday night.
Diann Bayes, who submitted the proper work to Representative Drew Darby and Senator Charles Perry, says this all started when she saw other Texas cities with different designations and wanted one for San Angelo.
“We are blessed to have the visual arts in our community that we do and we hope that the citizens and visitors will take advantage of going out and seeing those things and appreciating what they mean,” Diann Bayes the Vice President of San Angelo Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Up until pen hit paper in the state capitol Bayes says it was a waiting game and once it passed congress, she checked on its status every day.
“I was elated and looked so forward to telling all of those who supported us in our arts,” Bayes said.
The arts have been a part of San Angelo’s history for decades, such as the Chicken Farm Art Center, which has nurtured the talents of artists like Kassie Dillworth, since the early 70s
“1971 was its founding so, this year we’re celebrating 50 years and some people in the community, some of our artists, they remember since they’ve been here that whole time,” Kassie Dillworth an artist at the Chicken Farm Art Center said.
For Alejandro Castanon when he came to San Angelo ten years ago he says he just sort of fell into the art scene and throughout that decade he has even opened an art gallery. He credits success to the acceptance within the art community.
“Really helped push the art community by doing interesting things and interesting shows so, that was kind of my experience here,” Castanon said. ‘It was just welcoming, everybody was ready to get involved and do something.’
Becoming the Visual Arts Capital of Texas is more than just a title for Castanon and Dillworth, it’s validation.
“Doing shows and just trying to put the arts in front of the community and get those things to kind of marry each other. It’s just validation for all that hard work,” Castanon said.
For Dillworth, the designation is humbling.
“Actually, inspiring and a little bit motivating to have that,” Dillworth said. ‘So, it’s part of that validation too it’s like, no, now I’ve got to make art and I got to prove that we are this, you know, Now I’ve got some fire under my butt.’
Castanon weighs in on what’s next for San Angelo and the art community.
“I think after 10 years we’re going to re up, and I have no doubt that San Angelo is going to get the same designation again,” Castanon said.