Identifiable subjects are only part of the enduring allure of realism. Each generation of realist artists brings new subjects, new media, and new viewpoints to the genre. The AS IS: rural realism exhibitions feature the art of contemporary realists who focus on off-road subjects to create unique ways of seeing just how significant the seemingly insignificant can be. Following the lead of earlier American realists who shunned romanticized views of their world, artists Randy Bacon, Daniel Blagg, Julie Bozzi, Lloyd Brown, Brian Cobble, Pat Gabriel, Woody Gwyn, Katie Maratta, and Sarah Williams draw on personal experience to capture current rural landscape AS IS.
The growth of Mexicans/Mexican-Americans/Hispanics in Abilene can be attributed to the need for workers for the growing town of Abilene. Today, Hispanics are a very important group in Abilene and contribute greatly to the community as business owners and educators, as professionals in the public and private sectors, and as active members in other arenas such as involvement in churches, volunteer and charitable organizations, and the arts.
The Children's Museum at The Grace is a fully interactive space focusing on Art and Science Concepts through hands-on play. There is also a special area just for small children under 4 years old.
Ashton Thornhill is a fine art photographer currently working on the Llano Estacado of Texas. He spent several years working as a photojournalist before he returned to him alma mater, Texas Tech University, to share his love of the medium and teach photography.
The small scale of Katie Maratta’s vast miniature vistas demands closer examination. Only then are you rewarded with the impeccable detail of her horizontal narratives of the vast Texas landscape.
Art exhibitions at The Grace Museum focus on historic and contemporary American art and artists with Texas connections. Group and solo exhibitions are curated by the chief curator and occasionally include significant traveling exhibitions that inform the exhibition focus. Three exhibitions of fine art photography are presented annually in the Alice and Bill Wright Photography Gallery on the third floor. First and second floor art galleries change every few months to accommodate 10 to 12 unique art exhibitions each year.
The 3rd floor history gallery is dedicated to displaying exhibitions of historically significant objects that tell the story of the evolving cultural and social history of Abilene and West Texas between 1880 and 1950. Period parlor and kitchen room displays from 1910, 1928, and 1948 bring the bygone eras to life. The Mallouf Boot Shop presents a recreation of the 1940s-era workshop of longtime Brownwood boot-maker Albert Mallouf. The history gallery also presents changing exhibitions of artifacts curated from The Grace Museum history collection.