Palestine’s Art Tracks offers a walking or driving art tour experience that’s free, family-friendly, and gives a new pop to the town’s Main Street District every year.
Now in its ninth year, Art Tracks is based on Palestine’s railroad heritage. The 18 sculptures along the exhibit’s route bring modern art and culture to the historic downtown district. Main Street Manager Rachel Nichols says the sculptures, which range from three to 14 feet tall, contrast with the historic buildings, adding visual interest and drawing visitors downtown.
The exhibit rotates every year, drawing more than 30 entries from sculptors who enter the juried contest. Each sculpture must be three feet or taller and must be able to withstand weather, but judges also look for visually appealing works without an offensive or suggestive nature.
A map is available at the visitor’s center or by downloading the Visit Palestine app.
Many of the pieces brighten up the district’s intersections. “Cowboy in Trouble” by Gustavo Galvan pops with energy and color. A resident of Garland, Galvan’s sculptures have appeared in outdoor exhibits in Mesquite and at the Texas State Fair.
Palestine’s Main Street district comprises 44 blocks, from the visitor’s center at 825 West Spring Street to the Anderson County Courthouse at 500 North Church Street. Art Tracks covers 42 of those blocks, stopping at the Historic Anderson County Jail.
The exhibit’s two largest sculptures are both colorful and eye-catching. At 14 feet, “Sunburst” by Scott Shubin is the tallest. Shubin describes “Sunburst” as “a contemporary interpretation of the sun.” The steel tubes of different lengths resemble the sun’s rays; the round ring, the sun’s corona; and, the red acrylic disc, the sun’s core. The sculpture’s upper rays reach southward to capture the sun’s trajectory and cast a round shadow.
“Table for Two” stretches 12 feet across the lawn of Palestine’s First Christian Church. Artist Scott Trent of Richardson said he designed “Table for Two” as a gift for his wife on their seventh anniversary. “We love to eat out, we love cake and every chance I get I give flowers,” Trent says. The sculpture is available for purchase, and Trent plans to give the money to his wife.
In an awards ceremony later this year, judges select three sculptures for monetary prizes while honoring the artists. All works are for sale, ranging from $1,500 to $18,000. The city purchases sculptures when funds are available and allows individuals to donate the sculptures to the city’s growing collection.
Artists in the Upper East Side of Texas fared well in the exhibit’s previous competitions, winning top prizes. Jim Robertson of Trinity has two sculptures in the 2020 exhibit: “Cactus Wagon” and “Big Wheel.” The trio of Jan Dean, with Kathy and “Deano” Dean of Jewett are also previous Art Tracks winners. This year, they entered the sculpture called “Red Beauty.”
Palestine Tomorrow, Inc., raised funds and directed the first exhibit in 2012. Union Pacific Railroad donated the iron wheels, which form permanent bases for 12 of the sculptures. Main Street Palestine will ensure the project’s continuation after this year.
Stop by the Palestine Visitor’s Center at 822 W. Spring St. for a brochure of the Art Tracks exhibit, call 903-723-3014, or visit the website at www.visitpalestine.com.