After Hurricane Harvey caused mass destruction to the former location in 2017, the highly anticipated, brand-new Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) campus, is finally ready to be seen in all its glory. Beginning December 11, 2022, at 12 p.m., the new 14,000-square-foot visual arts and education building will officially open to the public.
“We are so pleased and proud to be opening this amazing new facility,” said Luis Purón, executive director for Rockport Center for the Arts. “Our membership, the community and others throughout Texas at large have been so supportive of our efforts to rebuild following the destruction brought by Hurricane Harvey in 2017; this is a testament to their efforts and we are so grateful.”
Located one block from Aransas Bay, the 1.2-acre site is the first original facility to be built for the celebrated 53-year-old non-profit organization. Award-winning local firm, Richter Architects of Corpus Christi, designed the new facility with a “coastal contemporary” feel.
The new $12.5 million dollar campus will feature much more than its prior location had room for. The two-story visual arts and education building will serve as the home to hallmark art programs with four spacious galleries and five classrooms.
Three of the galleries are located on the second level of the visual arts and education building, including the 1,000-square-foot H-E-B Gallery and The McKelvey Charitable Fund Gallery, both of which will host a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. The Jeanie and Bill Wyatt Gallery will feature small-scale sculptures. The fourth gallery, located on the main level, will serve as the permanent exhibition area for member artists.
“Having four galleries allows us to have multiple exhibitions at a time while giving us the opportunity to focus more on the individual artists and their work,” said Elena Rodriguez, curator of exhibitions for RCA. “And everything here is state of the art. The walls are very tall with no windows, giving us great flexibility in our displays, with beautiful lighting capabilities and a great audio-visual setup allowing us to incorporate those elements into the exhibitions. The spaces will be ever-changing; nothing is permanent.”
The two inaugural shows feature RCA member artists. The Big Wave! acts as the annual all-members exhibition–formerly known as Currents–showcasing the work of 170 member artists in the H-E-B Gallery. The second exhibition, Standing Out 2022, is a merit show being displayed in the McKelvey Gallery featuring the work of member artists Alison Schuchs, Jim Blaylock and Shelly Wierzba. These individuals were selected as Merit Artists by a juror from last year’s all-members exhibition. Both shows will run into January 2023.
The iconic Sculpture Garden, a permanent fixture for RCA, has also taken a new form. Rounding out at a whopping 16,000 square feet, the Patricia Bennett Moore Sculpture garden has been reimagined with greenery, water features, bench seating and nine works from RCA’s permanent collection by artists with state, national and international recognition.
With the Dec. 11 opening, the new Rockport Center for the Arts campus will have extended operating hours for the galleries and gift shop: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday from noon–4 p.m. Admission to RCA is always free.
Rockportcenter.com | (361) 729-5519 | 204 S. Austin St.