“Smithville, Texas – A City of Culture”
Smithville’s Richard D. Latham Cultural District is located in scenic Central Texas, just a short journey from Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. Sitting on the banks of the beautiful Colorado River, Smithville received this prestigious designation because, within the one mile radius that encompasses our city limits, Smithville boasts a great number of important works of art and culture as well as many significant historical sites.
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Richard Don Latham
B. 7/29/38, Ranger, Eastland County, Texas.
D. 2/6/2021, Smithville, Bastrop County, Texas
Smithville’s Richard D. Latham Cultural District lost a major patron and namesake on February 6, 2021. Richard lived his life in service of the community and in pursuit of a higher connection between people. In 2017, when the Cultural District applied for the National Endowment for the Arts grant for its “Easy as ABC: Arts Bridging Community” program, he said “There is no Us or Them… There is only US!” This has been a mantra for the Cultural District since then, as it works towards seamless inclusivity to bring arts experiences and opportunities for all. Richard moved to the Smithville area in the mid-1990s, and worked diligently towards the possibility of public art projects throughout this part of Texas. He helped the Lost Pines Artisans Alliance when it was struggling and rudderless, instituted the “Art on a Stick” program, provided funding and guidance for the Fire Plug Art Project, supported many of the murals we enjoy today including the Steam Train at Loop 230 & Main and the mosaic at the Skate Park, and backed the Steam Train sculpture project and the 1911 Boiler Explosion Monument. His legacy lives on in these works of art throughout the community, and in his philosophy of the possibility of public art for all. He served on numerous other boards and committees as well, including the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club, and for all his work, he was the very deserving recipient of the 2011 Smithville Area Chamber Of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award. We will miss him greatly. His family asks that any donations in his name be sent to the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 716, Smithville TX 78957.