May 9, 2017

Lost Pines Art Center Dazzles

by Maria Hohenstein

The Lost Pines Art Center, which opened its doors last December, may well be Bastrop's best-kept secret. But its supporters are working to assure this secret doesn't last for long. Located in the Chestnut Street Corridor, it has been a six-year labor of love for its members. And, like a phoenix rising from the ashes – as the city did after the 2011 disastrous Bastrop Complex Fires – its open house last December dazzled visitors with the resilience, scope, and vision of its builders.

Lost Pines Art Center, Bastrop, Texas
Lost Pines Art Center, by Paul Licce Photography

At its opening, about 200 people came out to see the $4 million art complex, the vision of the nonprofit Lost Pines Art League that began in 2010. But visitors expecting to see a museum where they could admire art works, found that the center, instead, is an organic, living entity. The Lost Pines Art Center is the largest comprehensive art center in the state of Texas. It's not a diamond in the rough, but one that is constantly being cut and polished so that it will be a jewel anchoring a resurrected town.

Today, visitors enter the 12,000-square foot glass and metal building and are pleasantly surprised that this is a place that has free admission and is open 7 days a week. You are greeted by one of the 150 members who docent as part of their commitment to the center. It could be mildly intimidating not knowing where to start. There is so much to see and experience. You stand in awe inside the expansive professional gallery two stories tall. There are member galleries, working studios and galleries on the second floor, classroom space, a gift gallery, and a wine and coffee shop. You are sure to meet at least one of the professional artists or see an artist in action.

Photo by Paul Licce Photography

“We want to be a creative center where people go and spend time either learning art, making art, selling it or even just being around that creative vibe,” said Executive Director Patricia Rendulic. Programming continues to include the much-loved First Friday Art Walk, adding collaborative painting for children on the first Friday affair. The children's class is free of charge. The Artist in Action program occurs every first Saturday and is a day filled with artists demonstrating their work for art center visitors. The Art Getaway, which is scheduled for every third Saturday of the month, is quickly becoming a favorite with Bastropians. You can get away without leaving home. At the Art Getaway there are introductory classes, family-friendly demonstrations, live music, and all other kinds of creative experiences from the minds and hearts of the art center membership.

As a living, organic entity, the center is still evolving and is a little over 90 percent complete. Still on the drawing board are several planned projects in back, including a sound stage for outdoor concerts, a water feature replica of the Lower Colorado River, a sculpture garden, and conversion of four silos into maker spaces and an artist in residence, which will memorialize the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire.

The art center is a place that should come to mind if you are thinking of dipping your toe into a new art experience or immersing yourself in stimulating energy that comes from being around other creatives. Either way, the members want you to know that this is YOUR art center. The welcome mat is out and they want to show you around.

And so, out of the ashes, the Lost Pines Art Center is showing the rest of Texas and the country its determination not only to to return, but also to make an eloquent statement about the resiliency and spirit of its deep Central Texas roots.

Lost Pines Art Center
Address: 1204 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX 78602
Phone: (512) 321-8055
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-3pm

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