In 1981, Clifton photographer and artist Joan Spieler realized a personal dream with the dedication of the Bosque Arts Center. That vision transformed what remained of the former Clifton Lutheran College campus into what today is one of the finest rural fine arts complexes in Texas and the South.
The Bosque Arts Center (BAC) is a popular attraction in Central Texas for those wishing to experience the multitude of arts available in Bosque County and beyond. Clifton has been called “one of the 100 best rural art communities in the nation,” and Clifton is proud to show visitors why it merits this distinction.
The BAC is not only home to an extensive permanent collection and gallery of western art for which the area is known, but contemporary art, as well as a live theater, permanent and rotating photography exhibits, culinary club, art club, pottery guild, and a myriad of classes, workshops, a civic music association, and seasonal offerings to meet the needs of any art fan, whether student or retired.
The nucleus of BAC is housed in the three-story historic 1923 former Administrative Building of Clifton Lutheran College, established in 1896. The college was closed in 1954; and for many years housed a local manufacturing business. The old building and grounds fell into neglect for many years, until Spieler (1925-1997) spearheaded a campaign to bring the arts to Bosque County children. In the 1970s, it disturbed Spieler than not a single art class was being taught in any Bosque County school. The main building of BAC was designated a Texas Historic Landmark in 1975.
Since its formation, BAC has grown and expanded numerous times to become the impressive facility it is today. This was accomplished through the generosity and fundraising efforts of the community and the vision of many who support the arts in Bosque County. The Roland Jones Gallery, housed on the second floor of the main building, boasts an impressive permanent collection of art unmatched by any rural art complex in Texas.
In the 1960s, James Boren and Melvin Warren, two of the most noted Western artists of the day, made Bosque County their home. Boren and Warren were attracted to Bosque County for the unparallel beauty of the county and its uninterrupted vistas which they used for inspiration in their work. Their collectors included governors and presidents. Today, several nationally recognized artists make Bosque County their home, including Clifton native Martin Grelle, Bruce Greene, Tony Eubanks, George Hallmark, George Boutwell, and more than 20 other working artists and sculptors.http://www.youtube.com/embed/jEfdhPg799Y?rel=0
The Tin Building Theatre, housed in an annex with a tin façade, has presented more than 120 live productions since their first show in 1982 with an emphasis geared to family entertainment, including dramas, comedies, and musicals. A sampling of Theater favorites through the years include “The Trip To Bountiful,” “The Odd Couple,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “On Golden Pond,” “Foxfire,” “Nunsense,” “Grease,” “Bosque County, Texas,” and the annual July 4th summer melodrama. The theater typically presents five shows annually; with each production cast with volunteers onstage and off. At least two dinner theater productions are included in each show.