Rockport Center

Private events Dec. 10 celebrating the new facility with public opening Dec. 11

ROCKPORT, Texas (Nov. 28, 2022) — Rockport Center for the Arts [1] (RCA) today announced official opening plans for its new 14,000-square-foot visual arts and education building located at 204 S. Austin St. in the heart of downtown Rockport.

The new RCA, a partnership with the City of Rockport, will officially open to the public on Sunday, Dec. 11, at noon, with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and invitation-only activities taking place Saturday evening,  Dec. 10, as part of the Rockport Center for the Arts Grand Opening
Festivities, presented by PNC Bank.

“We are so pleased and proud to be opening this amazing new facility,” said Luis Purón, executive director for RCA. “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.”

With its Dec. 11 opening, RCA begins its new expanded 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 is always free. The Dec.10 invitation-only event will begin at The Rockport Conference Center (The ROCC) on the new RCA campus at 4 p.m., featuring remarks by state and local dignitaries commemorating the completion of the project. Scheduled guest speakers include State Representative Todd Hunter; Aransas County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills; City of Rockport Mayor Tim Jayroe; U.S. Economic Development Administration Regional Director Jorge Ayala;  Aransas County Partnership EDC President Jeffrey Sjostrom; Richter Architects President David Richter; Teal Construction Company President John Murray; Rockport Center for the Arts Executive Director Luis Purón, and PNC Commercial Banking Relationship Manager Kirk Bourland. There will also be a ceremonial ribbon cutting around 5 p.m., followed by a reception for invited guests and the nearly 800 RCA members.  

“In the best and in the most challenging of times, communities grow and succeed when they come together,” said Susana Melendez-Valencia, PNC regional president for the Texas border. “There is no other experience that can bring us all together as one community quite like the arts. As a National Main Street bank, PNC has long recognized the power of the arts and culture and the role it plays in improving the quality of life in a community.”

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 Richter Architects [2] of Corpus Christi designed the new coastal contemporary facility, with Teal Construction
Company [3], of Houston and Corpus Christi, serving as the general contractor for the project.

The new $12.5 million campus includes the two-story, 14,000-square-foot visual arts and art education building, serving as the home to hallmark art programs with four spacious galleries and five classrooms, as well as The Rockport Conference Center (The ROCC), an adjacent 8,000-square-foot conference and event center on the RCA campus, which hosted the Nov. 10–13 Rockport Film Festival as its inaugural event.

Three of the RCA galleries will be located on the upper level of the visual arts and education building, including the 1,600-square-foot HEB Gallery, the largest of the four spaces, and the 850-square-foot McKelvey Charitable Fund Gallery, both of which will host a variety of exhibitions throughout the year. Also on the upper level is the 500-square-foot Jeanie and Bill Wyatt Gallery, featuring small-scale sculptures. The 850-square-foot Mendez Family Gallery is located on the main level and will serve as the permanent exhibition area for member

“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 Rockport Center for the Arts. “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!_ [4], the annual all-members exhibition formerly known as _Currents_, showcasing the work of 170 of RCA’s member artists in the HEB Gallery; along with _Standing Out 2022_ [5], a merit shown in the McKelvey Gallery featuring the work of member artists Alison Schuchs, Jim Blaylock and Shelly Wierzba, selected as Merit Artists by a juror from last year’s all-members exhibition. Both shows will run into January 2023.

Other RCA features and highlights include:

     * Five spacious classrooms on the main level dedicated to the making of art: the Fernandes Family Studio, the main classroom for advanced workshops; the Margaret Sue Rust Foundation Studio; the June Ainsworth
Studio; the Bridgie & John Barrett Studio; and the Bill Hildebrand & Sam Williams Ceramic Studio, the main classroom for advanced clay workshops. Home to Art Education programs, the public can sign up online [6] for
hands-on classes and workshops including painting/drawing, jewelry, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, clay, and new media.  
     * The 16,000-square-foot Patricia Bennett Moore Sculpture Garden with greenery, water features, bench seating, and nine works from the RCA permanent collection by artists with state, national and international recognition.
     * The 450-square-foot Kelly and Scott Biar Terrace, provides beautiful rooftop views of the bay and garden below.
     * The Mary and John Willrodt Gift Shop [7], features only handmade works from member artists including jewelry, pottery, paper craft (cards and prints), and some fabric art.  
     * A new 60-space surface parking area is located one block away at 101 N. Magnolia St., with parking spaces also available on surrounding streets.

For general information, visit [8], follow RCA on
Facebook [9], or call (361) 729-5519.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here [10] for select photos of the new Rockport
Center for the Arts campus. Photo credit: Pam Fulcher.

About Rockport Center for the Arts

Slated for a December 2022 opening, the new 1.2-acre Rockport Center for the Arts is located a block away from Aransas Bay in the heart of downtown Rockport. The new state-of-the-art campus features a two-story, 14,000-square-foot, visual arts and education building with four
galleries and five classrooms (204 S. Austin St.); a one-story, 8,000-square-foot conference and event center, known as The ROCC, including a 4,400-square-foot ballroom and culinary arts kitchen (106 S. Austin St.); with a 16,000-square-foot Sculpture Garden serving as a
visually inspiring transition space between the two buildings.

Hours of operation for the showroom, galleries, and gift shop will be Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday from noon–4 p.m. Admission is always free.

For general information, visit [11], follow RCA on Facebook [12], or call (361)729-5519.

For information on event space, or to book an event, contact Paulette Kluge at (361) 960-2090.

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