Press Release, November, 2017
City of Smithville (Richard D. Latham Cultural District) Hires Project and Mural Coordinator
Smithville, TX. Through the Public Library, the City of Smithville this year received $60,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for the “Easy as ABC (Arts Bridging Community)” program. This project’s central idea to use public art to help engage and build community. Between January and March, the Library will sponsor “community picnics” that will bring neighbors together to talk about what is important and what makes Smithville interesting and unique. With the help of local artists, the community will use that information to create signage to take people to important locations, to create public art installations, and to create a mural to be installed at the DAEP (the metal SISD bus barn/Tiger Academy located on SH 95 where Loop 230 intersects). Each event is designed to maximize community engagement, and to seek input from as many people in Smithville as possible.
Clover Cochran has been selected as the Project Coordinator/Mural Artistic Director. Clover is an artist herself, having studied Sculpture (aka Studio Art) at Texas State University. She grew up on a working cattle ranch, and primarily creates sculpture from her explorations on the ranch and work as a cowgirl. She owns Clover Cochran Sculpture. Clover will coordinate Smithville’s Art in Public Places program, and will create the mural to be installed at the DAEP, with the help of local volunteers.
The Smithville Richard D. Latham Cultural District, a partnership between the City of Smithville and the Lost Pines Artisans’ Alliance, was designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts in 2013. These and other partners, including the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Smithville Community Gardens, the Smithville Independent School District, and many others, work together to find projects and leverage funding to support Smithville’s eclectic population through arts and culture.
The mural, the public art, and the wayfinding signage will be constructed with the talents of local artists directing youth and adult volunteers in creating the artwork. The large mural will portray Smithville’s historic & cultural heritage. This location is adjacent to Independence Park, which demarcates the site where the first settler of European descent, Dr. Thomas J. Gazley, built his home and general store. Local will also develop and create additional “art on a stick” wayfinding markers to help visitors find their way in town. Both programs are well established and have terrific community support. Additionally, new public art will be created through a process that involves community input from where to locate the art to what the art should portray and how it should be made, and community members will help in creating the artwork.
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.