The Sculpture Ranch and Galleries in Johnson City, Texas

 

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About an hour and a half outside of Austin in the small town of Johnson City, TX there is a beautiful ranch nestled in the dramatic Texas hills just a few miles away from the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site. The property, owned by LBJ himself in the 1960s, was the home and studio of the artist Benini and his wife Lorraine from 1999 until 2014. In the fall of last year Historian Tracy N. Poe, PhD and Molecular Pharmacologist Greg F. Sullivan II, PhD bought the property and began their transition from Chicago to Texas. They are currently working on their unique vision for this spectacularly beautiful ranch. 

Through Benini’s network of artists, his own prolific making, and the addition of Poe and Sullivan’s collection, the Sculpture Ranch currently shows the work of 45 artists, 40 of whom are sculptors. Not all 143 acres of the ranch are used to show sculptures- the majority of the work is found near paths that crisscross the property. The areas where most of the sculptures are located can be accessed by car from a meandering, charming roadway that runs from the gallery up the hill to the main house.

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The gallery, a 14,000 square foot Quonset hut originally built by LBJ to house his helicopters, is now a cavernously large gallery space showing work by Benini, Peter Mangan, and several others. Presently 8,000 square feet is finished gallery space and there are plans in the works to finish out the remaining 6,000 feet in the coming year. While honoring Benini’s legacy on the property, Poe and Sullivan have a very specific aspiration for the ranch. They will continue to grow the outdoor sculptural work and run the gallery space, but they also eventually plan to found an onsite residency program that brings together creative minds from all disciplines and fields to create a space that encourages collaboration and idea exchange. Poe and Sullivan met while attending Reed College, a small liberal arts college in Portland, OR, in the 1990s. Their background in the humanities and the broad variety of interesting friends from their time at Reed and beyond led them to the idea of creating a multidisciplinary residency. Be on the look out for the forthcoming residency program and plan a visit in the meantime- the Sculpture Ranch and Galleries promises to have a bright future!

By Gracelee Lawrence

For their open house information or to learn more about the Sculpture Ranch and Galleries please see http://www.sculptureranch.com.

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