By Lyn Dunsavage,
James Surls, who was recognized March 4 in Austin as the biennial Texas Medal of Arts’ winner in Visual Arts, will be returning to Texas April 27-28 to spend two days visiting in Malakoff with his friends, former students, colleagues, and fans during a tour opening of the James Surls’ Sculpture Gardens: A Memorial to Joe Surls.
Surls will introduce two major recent pieces he is placing in his father’s and Jo Ann Price Surls’ East Texas ranch, which already features the largest concentration of Surls’ works in the country, with over 40 of his early works.
A former student of Surls at SMU, Dallas attorney and, now, full-time sculptor George Tobolowsky will also attend the East Texas Artists and Sculpture Gardens tour in Malakoff April 27-28. He will be locating three of his major sculptures in the James Surls’ Sculpture Gardens for the next two years, a major contribution. Tobolowsky already has several pieces in major museums and also serves on both the Dallas Museum of Art’s and the Meadows’ Museum’s boards.
Surls and Tobolowsky will give a presentation on their art at a dinner at the Malakoff Community Center, Saturday evening at 7 p.m. (reservations required).
Charmaine Locke, who will be bringing in her second sculpture this year from Colorado to the Surls’ gardens; and Louisiana native Bill Weiner, who presently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will be introducing two of his works to the Surls’ gardens, also for the next two years. All pieces are significant in size and impression in the four-plus acre James Surls’ Sculpture Gardens.
Former Dallas residents James and Barbara Stewart will open their private sculpture gardens also during the two-day tour in Malakoff April 27-28. Their gardens have been distinguished as the winner of the Landscape Architects’ “Residential Landscape of the Year” Award (2007). Jason Osterberger designed their gardens around the large sculptures by outstanding American sculptors Glenna Goodacre, Gary Lee Price, David Pearson, W. Stanley Proctor, Walt Horton, Jo Saylors, and Terry Jones.
The “Sunken Gardens” of the Historic Bartlett House and Heritage Gardens in Malakoff will also be open to the public, for the first time after a major effort in the last year to restore the east gardens renowned in the 1930s for their roses and thousands of bulb plants, including jonquils, iris, and narcissus (paper whites).
Lunch, early morning sweets, and refreshments will be served from the Veranda overlooking the Sunken Gardens, and a number of outstanding East Texas artists will be showing their works on the Bartlett House premises. Artist Billy Williamson will be sketching portraits for visitors for donations to the Historic Bartlett House and Heritage Gardens, the recipient of all funds raised from the tour.
A book to be published for the event and as a guide to the outstanding East Texas artists’ studios and galleries in East Texas will be available for sale for $29.95 prior to the tour or during the tour for $39.95. Last year’s edition of the art book was sold out.
Tickets can be purchased from www.malakofftexas.com ($25 advance; $35 at the door). The event is sponsored by the Greater Malakoff Area Garden Club, a nonprofit corporation.