Can you imagine being asked what you would like for your birthday and having an entire building built at your request? That’s what one of our founders did! Mrs. Flora Kemp asked her husband, Joseph Kemp, for a public library and in 1918 it opened its doors with a donation of 4000 books. Eighty years later the derelict building was leased to the Arts Council and then restored to house 5 gallery exhibit spaces, 3 classrooms, and an auditorium. The Kemp Center for the Arts now stands proudly as a beautiful, historical marker to nurture the artistic and cultural spirit in Wichita Falls.
As a nonprofit, The Kemp has artwork all over the building and an outdoor sculpture garden with each space displaying art from local, state, and international artists established in memory of Minnie Rhea Wood. Another notable female pioneer of Wichita Falls, Minnie Rhea Wood, wife of Lamar Fain, generously poured millions of dollars into our community providing scholarships at Midwestern State University, programs at Kemp Center for the Arts, and countless other endeavors. Minnie Rhea Wood’s lifelong commitment to enhancing Wichita Falls has left an invaluable impression. Mrs. Wood’s legacy continues through her contributions, on behalf of The Fain Foundation, in which part of this exhibit was made possible.
The Art on the Green Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, debuting each May, contains eight permanent pieces of art and nine to ten sculptures that participate in an annual exhibit for a full calendar year. This non-person show started as a way for artists to interact with each other as the Texas sculpture community is limited in outdoor pieces. Pieces differ as some are fabricated with cast-iron, others with reclaimed materials and a limited amount are interactive or kinetic. Installations can vary in size from larger sculptures with bright colors to small, intimate pieces. Each sculpture is unique in that each piece is specifically made for the exhibit that’s hosted over 120 artists. Art on the Green Sculpture Garden is an oasis in downtown Wichita Falls, adding year-round art to the beautiful grounds of the Kemp Center for the Arts.
If you find yourself enjoying the After Hours Artwalk in Downtown Wichita Falls you’re invited to the Sculpture Garden After Dark: a limited-time event offering a relaxed evening on the Kemp grounds in which guests enjoy live music, art, and fellowship with other guests. Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket or bag chair, your own beer or wine, and appreciate the ambiance.
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