By Derrick White

A quick peek behind the curtain. The truth is I am sitting in my chair with my laptop, a football game quietly playing on the television, and I am writing this article in mid-October. Though I am currently speaking to you from the past, I am doing so in the full faith you are out there, and you are well. 

I choose to optimistically believe our country did not immediately devolve into bedlam or a second civil war after the first week in November. 

So, cheers to you, dear reader. I am proud of you. Keep on keeping on. 

And if in fact, you are not living in a dystopian, Mad Max, nightmare world, then please take full advantage of these opportunities to spend some time with art and artists in our East Texas region and beyond.

If you are looking local and want to stay in Tyler for art, dining, and drinks head straight to the square Downtown Tyler. There is a variety of restaurants, an events theater, and coffee and adult beverage bars all within walking distance. 

You can stroll downtown’s Gallery Main Street (110 N. College Ave. Suite 105, Tyler, TX 75702) to view local talent while also grabbing a beer at True Vine on the Square (110 N. College Ave. Suite 102, Tyler, TX 75702) and ETX Brewery (221 S. Broadway Ave. Tyler, TX 75702), or, if you’d prefer, an Andy’s Frozen Custard on the Square (110 N. College Ave. Suite 104, Tyler, TX 75702). Liberty Hall Theatre (103 E. Erwin, Tyler, TX 75702) presents their virtual event Liberty Live: Concerts from the Couch (a series in which Liberty Hall live-streams concerts from their very own stage featuring local musicians). Tune in Saturday, November 14th, 2020, 11am-1pm. More information at: libertytyler.com

Also opening the evening of November 14th is The Arcadia Art Show, an annual international juried fine art show featuring painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and printmaking at the Arcadia Theater, inside Martin Walker P.C. Building downtown (121 N. Spring Ave. Tyler, Texas 75702).

Venturing out of East Texas, if you are up for a little road trip, the hip Bishop Arts District in South Dallas is an area known for the nightlife, fashionable, independent stores and galleries, and vibrant street art. There is a wide range of dining choices, relaxed bars, and theaters. 

A staple Bishop Arts gallery for the last decade and a half is Mighty Fine Arts. It is an artist-run gallery located in a scenic and historic Oak Cliff neighborhood. Artist Steve Cruz started the gallery in 2004 with the intention of providing an alternative space for innovative and underrepresented artists. His gallery presents an eclectic array of shows with the guiding criteria of presenting work that is resonant, thoughtful, and highly accomplished. From mid-career to fresh and unknown artists, Mighty Fine Arts hopes to enlarge the perceptions of contemporary art in North Texas. The gallery is located at 409A N. Tyler. Gallery hours are 12 noon-5pm. Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment: phone (214)942-5241 or email: steve@mfagallery.com. Check out S#!% Show featuring 13 artists’ responses to the year 2020 including Brett Ardoin, Dwayne Carter, Kelley Cheek, Jason Cohen, Steve Cruz, Susan Duval, Andy Don Emmons, Katherine Lilley, Teresa Megahan Cynthia Ann Miro-McDaniel, Manuel Pecina, and, yours truly, Derrick White, on view November 14th – December 20th, 2020, with an artists’ reception Saturday, November 14th, 2020, 6-9pm.

Back home, The Department of Art & Art History at the University of Texas at Tyler is hosting their Fall 2020 Student Exhibitions. Student exhibitions are the capstones of their art program, and students spend many semesters preparing for their respective shows. The galleries are open to the public, with a limited capacity. 

On view in the Meadows Gallery located in the UT Tyler Cowan Center (Meadows Gallery, Circle Dr, Tyler, TX 75799) is Will Cannings and Shannon Cannings Visiting Artists’ Exhibition 20:20:20, through November 6th, 2020 and Master of Fine Art Exhibition: Lorianne Hubbard, November 16th – December 11th, 2020. 

On view in the University of Texas at Tyler’s Fine Arts Complex Gallery is Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition: Rebekah Ayers, Christian Chester, Brady Collings, November 2nd-13th, 2020, and Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition: Justin Rives, Lisa Batchelder, Alexys Odama, November 16th-27th, 2020.

The Longview Museum of Fine Arts will host Live Music: Bernice Lewis on November 6th, 2020, doors open at 6:30pm. On exhibit is the American Watercolor Society – Traveling Exhibition through November 29th, 2020. This is one of the most revered watercolor exhibits in the world. Forty paintings were selected from more than 1,100 artists worldwide for this excellent exhibit. 

If you are feeling more hands-on, LMFA has their ArtWorks’ workshop Experimenting with Pastels on November 17th, 2020, 10am-3m. Students will learn how to print, paint and layer surfaces in preparation for soft pastel experimentation. Apron and gloves recommended. Holiday art for the kids ArtWorks’ workshops include Autumn Fox and Grateful Turkey, November 23rd-24th, 10am-12 noon for 1st – 3rd graders and 1-3pm for 4th grade and up.

The Tyler Museum of Art is exhibiting Ode to East Texas: Paintings by Lee Jamison, November 7th, 2020 – February 7th, 2021. The museum is following occupancy guidelines. Please take a moment to review the Health Protocols for Museums by clicking the link here before planning your visits –  tylermuseum.org/visit/health-protocols/

Also, on view at the Tyler Museum of Art From the Vault works from the Art Museum of Southeast Texas exhibiting through November 29th, 2020. The exhibition features a variety of works by contemporary Texas artists from the Art Museum of Southeast Texas’ Permanent Collection. The works are diverse and include drawings, mixed-media collages, paintings, photographs, and prints.

And check out the Tyler Museum of Art’s Education Blog where you can find all sorts of information about what is going on at the museum, local schools, and East Texas’ art community. Also, check out their YouTube channel. There you will find videos of students’ work, interviews with artists and educators, virtual tours of the TMA’s exhibitions, and resources for educators and parents. You can follow their Facebook and Instagram pages and visit the TMA’s website at tylermuseum.org.

So, there you have it, a voice of recommendations coming to you from the past. If there is a world out there, let’s share it. And hey, let’s get a beer sometime.

Goodbye, I will be back. Is there anybody out there?