Arlington Citizen-Journal

Arlington museum picks ‘Star of Texas’ theme for public art project

Arlington Museum of Art leaders were looking for inspiration for their next public art exhibit when the city rebranded itself the “American Dream City” last year. “We thought this would be a good match to promote the city, the cultural arts and the downtown,” said Chris Hightower, executive director of the museum. “The timing just seemed right.”
Arlington Museum of Art leaders were looking for inspiration for their next public art exhibit when the city rebranded itself the “American Dream City” last year. “We thought this would be a good match to promote the city, the cultural arts and the downtown,” said Chris Hightower, executive director of the museum. “The timing just seemed right.” Star-Telegram archives

Arlington Museum of Art leaders were looking for inspiration for their next public art exhibit when the city rebranded itself the “American Dream City” last year.

They came up with “The Star of Texas,” an exhibit to include 20 human-size fabricated fiberglass stars installed throughout downtown and the entertainment district. Each star will be decorated, painted and/or augmented to reflect the city through the eyes of accomplished Texas artists.

“We thought this would be a good match to promote the city, the cultural arts and the downtown,” said Chris Hightower, executive director of the museum. “The timing just seemed right.”

The museum has set a $150,000 budget target for the project. Two $50,000 chunks of that already have been donated by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation and Women Inspiring Philanthropy. The museum has raised about $28,000 toward the remaining $50,000.

Officials plan to unveil the stars in September.

“The board of the foundation really recognizes the value of public art and what public art does to enhance the aesthetics of a community,” said Carolyn Mentesana, executive director of the foundation, whose grants are funded by an endowment built of the city’s natural gas royalties.

The stars will stand 6 feet tall, 6 feet wide and 1 foot thick, Hightower said.

The 20 artists will be selected by a committee of knowledgeable art devotees. To assure a high-quality candidate pool, the museum has invited about 200 high-profile artists around the state to submit proposals.

Arlington isn’t the first city to host a self-themed public art exhibit, but Hightower believes it’s the first to claim the star as its centerpiece.

“Fort Worth did longhorns, Dallas did Pegasus,” Mentesana said. “Amarillo did armadillos.”

The finished Arlington stars are tentatively set to be revealed at the Levitt Pavilion on North Texas Giving Day in September. Then they will be installed at their assigned public places.

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641

Twitter: @Kaddmann

Donations can be made by calling the museum at 817-275-4600 or visiting www.ArlingtonMuseum.org.

The museum also welcomes sponsorships of individual stars.

Artists wanting to decorate a star should call the museum or email it at ArlingtonMuseum@gmail.com.

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