Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Summer 2011


Great Plains Quarterly 31:3 (Summer 2011).


Copyright © 2011 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska.


Texas historians, acknowledging women as art pioneers in Texas, rely on the old saw that while men were settling the state, women led the charge for cultural pursuits. Groups of women-trained artists among them-began organizing art activities in all parts of the state in the early 1880s on the heels of settlement, recognizing the importance of an appreciation of aesthetics and beauty to the development of a significant culture. Since most public school teachers in Texas were female, teaching art and bringing art to students were natural developments; women also founded Texas's first public art museums.

While scholars have acknowledged women's contributions to the areas of art appreciation and art education in Texas, the accomplishments and importance of Texas's women artists are rarely addressed. Old patterns persist, however, and in recent historic Texas art exhibitions, women artists continue to be discussed as late comers or second-tier members of the artistic community. Experimentation became almost de rigeur for women artists as they fought their way out from under the shadows of their male counterparts. Ironically, many were taken more seriously in their own time than in our "enlightened" present.