One of the goals of the Downtown Revitalization Task Force is to revitalize the downtown area through adding art to create interest using the vacant windows. The process has begun, thanks to the efforts of local artists Nadine Eby and Alan Hartt. Their projects were installed in the windows of Charles Evans’ property at 618 Main Street in time for the homecoming events and Rodeo Parade.
Nadine Eby was the first artist to accept the challenge to help create art for empty downtown windows. She was excited to be a part of a movement that is spreading across rural America. Artists using a variety of styles and media are commemorating America’s heritage all across the country. Nadine began her project with a visit to the Junction Museum to learn from Frederica Wyatt, Museum Director. Ms. Wyatt shared a vintage (1920’s) promotional brochure and some old photos of Junction, including one depicting the posts of the Old Spanish Trail down the center of Main Street. This photo gave Nadine the idea for her large painting mounted in the window of the Evans’ building.
Nadine’s artistic background began with fine arts training in New York and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, along with time spent in museums, galleries and workshops across the country. She began her career as a potter in Granbury, Texas, 35 years ago, working with other artists, shop owners and townsfolk. She has also traveled to markets in Fredericksburg, Wimberley, and Gruene, as well as in Texas’ large cities. In 2003, Nadine and her husband, Darryl Eby, moved to Sonora to rebuild his family’s ranch. While living in Sutton County, Nadine worked at the Caverns of Sonora and taught art at Sonora High School.
For health reasons, they gave up ranch life and moved to Junction, buying a home on the banks of the North Llano River. Nadine has become very involved with the youth and the ladies at First Baptist Church. She will be a substitute teacher at Junction ISD in the fall. She has a vision of getting the artistic community of Kimble County to come together and get actively involved in bringing an interest in art to this area. She is currently traveling to Mason to meet with an artist group there; she hopes to see that same level of enthusiasm for art in the community generated here in Junction.
Alan Hartt jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the project. He researched and created a written and pictorial history of how the Old Spanish Trail (OST) was developed. The project includes a map of the OST from St. Augustine, FL, to San Diego, CA, with Junction at the mid-point. Alan added a historical narrative of the development of the OST during the late 1920’s. In addition, the project includes a variety of pictures of Junction in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Alan and his wife, Patsy, moved to Junction six years ago, coming from the Houston area. They built a home on their place just off 377 N. with their own hands. Alan brought his job with a large computer company with him until he was laid off last year. Patsy works for the local Health and Human Services’ office. Alan’s career includes stints with Xerox, Personix and Hewlett Packard, working as a financial analyst, production manager, and job data analyst. His skills include expertise in numerous computer programs, website designs, and technical writing.
Alan, a self-taught artist, loves working with watercolors and mixed media projects. He says, “Just start with an idea, and see where it takes you. That is where the fun is.” He jumped at the chance to get involved in this project especially when he learned that he had lived most of his life not far from where the Old Spanish Trail ran through the Houston area. Now he lives in Junction where the OST ran right through Main Street. It definitely is a small world!
The hope is that this project is a catalyst for future artistic endeavors in and around Junction. Nadine has tried to contact as many of the local artists as she can identify. Her dream is to get an active artist group started in the community, ones like she was involved with in Granbury and Mason. Nadine says, “With a list of local artists to inspire us to move forward, Alan Hartt and I began with one theme and two windows, but we look forward to adding to this with local artists of all ages.” Their hope is that other local artists in this area, trained or self-taught, will join together with them to continue this project throughout the community.
(Article and Photos Reprinted With Permission from The Junction Eagle.)