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An Undiscovered Gem

Story and Photographs by Megan Kramer


osque County prides itself on the abundance of natural beauty found across its terrain -- the meandering Brazos and Bosque rivers, highways and rocky hillsides lined with trees of bright seasonal colors. It’s easy to pass through the county without realizing that amid this rural setting lies a rich art community flourishing with a beauty all its own. Located in Clifton, the non-profit Bosque Arts Center houses a fine collection of Western and traditional art. Paintings, drawings, and sculpture by both national and international artists are displayed in the Roland Jones Memorial Gallery. A new piece is added each year in September after the Bosque Art Classic, a nationally judged show. According to Jane Scott, managing director of the BAC, there were about 770 entries in this year’s Art Classic from around the United States, Canada, Mexico, and India. What really gives the BAC its unique quality is that its spectrum is not limited to the Roland Jones Gallery. At the BAC, “all the arts are under one roof,” said BAC President Joyce Jones. There are photography, pottery, and artisan guilds; culinary, book, and gardening clubs; the Civic Music Association, which encourages the appreciation, education, and development of the musical arts; and the center’s Tin Building Theatre, which hosts performances throughout the year. The BAC even holds a variety of classes and workshops, including those for yoga and martial arts. The BAC, first known as the Bosque County Conservatory of Fine Arts,

now occupies what once was the administration building of the old Clifton Lutheran College. The idea for making the building into an arts center came from the mind of Joan Spieler, who moved to Clifton in 1956. An artist and photographer for the majority of her life, Spieler worked with the buildings donor, Pat Olsen, in getting the center planned out and certified. The doors officially opened in 1982, and it has been growing and thriving ever since. “A lot of members live out of area, it’s not just a Clifton thing,” Scott said. “We definitely reach out to the surrounding communities; our recent gingerbread workshop brought in people from Waco, for example.” The allure of the center is stronger than one might think. “Many people have told me they moved because of the art center,” Jones said. “They wanted the feeling of living in a small town, but also access to the amenities found in large town, the best of both worlds.” Of course, the BAC is always looking for new members and to foster new relations with the residents of Bosque County and surrounding communities. It’s just a matter of getting the attention of those unaware of their proximity to the BAC and its thriving culture. “We’ve had a number of people with no interest in art become very involved with the center,” Jones said. The BAC is dedicated to its mission of promoting and supporting the visual and performing arts, as well as encouraging the development of skills and interest in the arts. Scott said, “To some people, we’re just an undiscovered gem.”

Events John A. Lomax Texas Music Gathering Bosque County Historical Comission April 13-15

Fourth Annual “Mind’s Eye” Artisian Craft Show and Sale Clifton Chamber of Commerce April 14-15 BAC Bosque County Photography Show Bosque Arts Center March 31- April 16

Lodging Best Western Velkommen 1215 N. Ave G, Clifton 254-675-8999

Circle Motel

9307 Highway 6, Meridian 254-435-2851

Meridian State Park

173 Park Road #7, Meridian 254-435-2536

White Bluff Resort Lake Whitney 20022 Misty Valley Circle, Whitney 254-694-4000

Profile for Cross Timbers Trails

Cross Timbers Trails - Spring/Summer 2012  

A magazine for the Cross Timbers region of Texas

Cross Timbers Trails - Spring/Summer 2012  

A magazine for the Cross Timbers region of Texas