By Lyn Dunsavage
Special to The News
Gardens filled with sculptures by internationally famous artists, including James Surls, will be open to the public Saturday, April 28 as a portion of an art tour starting in Malakoff and including a “drive-about” portion to focus on studios, galleries, and shops representing approximately 70 professional artists in Henderson, Van Zandt, and Kaufman counties in the Upper East Side of Texas.
The sculpture garden tour will mark the opening of the “James Surls’ Sculpture Gardens: A Memorial to Joe Surls,” featuring the early works of James Surls, an internationally acclaimed sculptor whose works are collected by the Guggenheim, the Meadows, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and dozens of other museums.
Raised in Malakoff, Surls’ career began in the area woods he loved as a child. His father’s home and gardens contain not only many of his early sculptures in the approximately five-acre garden portion of the ranch south of Malakoff, it also features early paintings and drawings in the main house, which will only be open to the public for the tour, as well as the opening of four other houses on the property that are replete with memorabilia, including a log cabin moved onto the property from the Malakoff area, circa 1885.
The “James Surls’ Sculpture Gardens: A Memorial to Joe Surls” portion of the tour will also feature 10 juried Texas sculptors who have been selected and awarded a stipend on the basis of their work and professional achievements and who will have their sculptures located in the gardens for one-year. Their selection will be announced prior to the tour.
After the tour, the “James Surls Sculpture Gardens: A Memorial to Joe Surls” will be available for tour only by arrangement/reservation.
The Cedar Creek Lake gardens of James and Barbara Stewart’s residence will also be part of the Malakoff Sculpture Garden Tour. Their incredible gardens, created by Jason Osterberger Designs, won the 2009 “Best Residential Landscape Award” by the Texas Landscape and Nursery Association.
The Stewart home includes two sculptures by Glenna Goodacre (renowned for her Vietnam Women’s Memorial design); two sculptures by Gary Price, three by David Pearson, two Chinese empire style carved white marble garden benches along the seawall, and numerous pieces by W. Stanley Proctor, Jim Davidson, Horton, and Jo Saylors. Local Upper East Side of Texas musicians will perform in the gardens during the tour.
The tour is only one day. The ticket for the entrance to the two homes’ sculpture gardens is $25 in advance ($35 at the door). For those who would like to visit only the studios and shops, they will be open without cost. Tickets can be acquired prior to the tour at www.malakofftexas.com.
All proceeds will go to the Greater Malakoff Area Garden Club (GMAGC), which will be opening the Historic Bartlett Home and Heritage Gardens, located on Bartlett Street, just south of Downtown Malakoff. The GMAGC intends to restore the Bartlett House gardens, planting only indigenous, heritage plants to teach people about the beauty and tenacity of such plants in Texas.