It has been called an “oasis” in West Texas, and San Angelo is certainly making a refreshing splash on the scene.
It's home to one of the first Conrad Hilton hotels, a 1920s beacon that stretched 14 stories into the sky and is now known as The Cactus Hotel venue. It boasts one of the best tennis courts in the country at Bentwood Country Club. And it’s also the newly designated Visual Arts Capital of Texas.
That's because you'll find more than 250 sculptures and statues and a range of vibrant murals along with nearly three dozen museums and galleries showing off work from local artists, plus traveling displays.
Here are a few of the ways you’ll see San Angelo waving the banner as a vibrant beacon for the arts in Texas.
Check out uncommonly placed art that makes a scene
Local art-focused initiative Art in Uncommon Places has been beautifying San Angelo and the Concho Valley since 2006 with public art that’s known for its eccentric and creative aesthetic.
Founded as a passion project by retired art teachers Julie Raymond and Joy Thomas, AIUP has more than 300 locally made art installations in the area along with two outdoor museums: Pop Art Museum and Paintbrush Alley.
At the Pop Art Museum, a former bowling alley houses 31 snappy pieces, including one from James Gill, who once worked with Andy Warhol.
Paintbrush Alley spotlights work from more than 50 artists who donated their time to beautify and embolden an alleyway.
You can also see some of AIUP’s outdoor art installations along the Concho River Walk, a four-mile public walkway with river views, gardens, water displays, and more.
As you stroll around, you’ll also undoubtedly run into some of the town’s famously quirky sheep statues. There are 100 of them, and they’re decorated by local artists to commemorate San Angelo's historical importance as a wool marketing center. Each statue is painted specifically for the business it represents.
Explore the convergence of art and history
See history come to life through an artistic lens with the Historic Murals of San Angelo, featuring a dozen monumental works including Chadbourne St. Mural, which depicts the carefully researched placement of businesses that existed on the street in 1908.
It’s a cool way to simultaneously see the block in its past and present forms.
Near the heart of downtown and overlooking the Concho River, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts boasts 100 major works of Spanish Colonial and Mexican religious art — and that’s in addition to 300 contemporary ceramics and more than 60 contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Don’t miss the architectural gem that is Murphey Performance Hall, originally built in 1929 and now home to performances from the San Angelo Performing Arts Center, the San Angelo Symphony, and more.
Get set to fest
The art of music is handled via annual country music festival Wild West Fest, which ushers in eight days of tunes from July 29 through August 5.
Headlining acts like Whiskey Myers, Turnpike Troubadours, Muscadine Bloodline, Austin Meade, and many more take to the San Angelo River Stage and after parties keep the music going at groovy places like The House of FiFi DuBois and Blaine’s Pub.
For more artsy indulgences in every category, head over to Discover San Angelo.