Posts Tagged ‘Dogwood Art & Music Festival’

The New Byzantium

March 16, 2023

The Gallery at Redlands (Lobby Window)

The Gallery at Redlands (Oak Street Window)

V.I.P. Artists Tent (Oak Street across from The Gallery at Redlands)

I think if I could be given a month of Antiquity and leave to spend it where I chose, I would spend it in Byzantium a little before Justinian opened St. Sophia and closed the Academy of Plato. . . . I think that in early Byzantium, maybe never before or since in recorded history, religious, aesthetic and practical life were one, that architect and artificers spoke to the multitude and the few alike. The painter, the mosaic worker, the worker in gold and silver, the illuminator of sacred books, were almost impersonal, almost perhaps without the consciousness of individual design, absorbed in their subject-matter and that the vision of a whole people.

William Butler Yeats, A Vision

In less than 24 hours, artists will arrive and begin setting up the 32 booths inside the V.I.P. tent. Today, with cold winds swirling and light rain sprinkling, I have walked all over this part of the city, feeling the spirit of William Butler Yeats and his vision of Byzantium. Already today I have visited with electricians, carpenters, work crews inside the tent, patrons inside the gallery, local artists dropping by to offer assistance, merchants, delivery truck drivers, city officials, police officers–everyone focused on the enormous task at hand. This tent experience already feels like a small village abuzz and under construction.

This will be the third year I’ve felt this “New Byzantium” vibe with all the warmth and unity of artists, musicians, writers and performers working alongside the craftsmen and technical people to put on this show. The stories I read of sixth-century Byzantium and mid-century Manhattan still fill me with enthusiasm. East Texas has spontaneously generated art communities in all the surrounding towns. Palestine has been enriched with the friendship of artists from Tyler, Crockett, Jacksonville, Winnsboro, Athens, Bullard, and Edom (and I’m probably leaving out other towns). Art galleries and performance venues are cropping up everywhere like wild mushrooms and the residents of the towns are aglow with this fresh spirit.

I hope to have time to write more later. Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


Memories from a Life on the Road

March 13, 2022
Spending a Night in “Hank’s” Cabin

. . . the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old . . .

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

In a few days, my lifelong artist friend, Wayne White (alias “Hank” in the short stories I’ve been writing) will be traveling from Missouri to Texas to join us for the 84th Annual Dogwood Art & Music Festival in downtown Palestine. We’ll be under the VIP Tent Friday night beginning at 5:00 with 20 artists, live music, an open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Patrons will pay $20 admission for the presale of the art in the booths and a wine-pull will be available as well (tickets may be purchased online at The following day, we’ll continue under the tent while the festival spreads out in booths all over downtown. At 6:00, Sandi and I will celebrate our first anniversary of ownership of The Gallery at Redlands with a reception honoring Palestine native sculptor Jeffie Brewer, whose monumental works have just been installed all over Palestine, one of them being in our gallery. We’ll be serving wine, food and desserts and invite everyone to come join in the fun, meet Jeffie and the other artists represented in The Gallery at Redlands.

Streetside Newly-Decorated Window of The Gallery at Redlands

All kinds of warm emotions are flooding my being this Sunday morning while I enjoy coffee and bedrest after a week of frantic travel and activity. I have been afforded the leisure this morning to go back over my journals from a year ago when we were preparing for this Dogwood Festival event. I traveled to Missouri on Monday, five days before the VIP Tent occasion opened, to pick up “Hank” and bring him down to Texas to hang his work in the Gallery and participate in the Tent activities with the rest of us. Above, in black-and-white, I’ve posted the photo I took in his guest cabin with my phone late that night after an entire day of driving, and wrote the following in my journal:

The motion picture “Rounders” contrasts two classes of poker players: Grifters and Grinders. Grifters took every shortcut possible to earn a fast buck by fleecing gullible card players. Grinders were the ones who played poker daily, nightly, played it straight, and eked out a living through their endurance.

In the world of artists, I don’t recall encountering grifters, but I have known and loved throughout the years a host of grinders. And I was one of them. Grinders know that the world does not need their art. And the world will not suffer if the artists suddenly choose to quit making art. Grinders make art because of an inner compulsion to express what they feel. As a grinder, I slogged through art festivals while teaching public school by day and college by night. Art remained my mental passion, no matter how worn and tired my body.

Throughout the grinding years, the one good thing that I encountered in the string of art festivals was the arrival of Wade and Gail Thomas. They appeared at festivals, bought my art, encouraged me in my efforts, then later appeared at galleries and continued to buy my art. In good time, they invited me to be their guest, and lodge whenever I wished in an old store they had purchased and moved to their ranch. I traveled many a weekend to live in the sanctuary of that old store, and continue to grind out art.

One day early in 2017, the couple came into the store to tell me of their wish to open an art gallery in Palestine. Would I be interested in participating? Yes! For the next four years, The Gallery at Redlands on the ground floor of the historic Redlands Hotel was my second home, and I loved every moment spent working there.

Soon after 2021 arrived, the Thomases offered Sandi and me the lease to the gallery.


The day after that journal entry, Wayne and I rose early and drove all the way to Texas. The days following remain a blur to me, and no doubt the coming weekend will be the same–VIP Tent event, Dogwood Art & Music Festival. One year anniversary reception at The Gallery at Redlands. We are leaning forward in excited anticipation of those days.

Thanks for reading. We hope you’ll be able to join us next weekend.