by Larla Morales
The Center for Contemporary Arts would like to thank every artist who has contributed to The Center throughout the years. It is through your passion, imagination, tenacity and vision that we have become the organization we are today. We thank you for all the work you have done and all that you continue to do as creatives in our time. It is an honor to support you and demonstrate the value of art and community alongside you.
- The Staff of The Center for Contemporary Arts
The Center for Contemporary Arts grew from the roots established by the artists’ co-op known as the Artists League of Texas in 1984 in Downtown Abilene Texas. The creation of this artist-led co-op space created an unparalleled environment for contemporary artists to establish themselves in Abilene. In this space, the artists hosted numerous exhibitions as the studios teemed with activity, generating art in an impressive range of styles, mediums, disciplines and techniques.
Pictured: Downtown Abilene Texas (from www.downtownabi.com)
Local artists, many who are familiar names and faces within our community, spent countless hours laying the groundwork for the growth that allowed The Center to become what it is today, their efforts are quite literally in the bones of our organization. During the transition from The League’s original studio and gallery space at 1140 ½ N. 2nd Street to our current home at 220 Cypress Street, the Artist Members and Board Members gathered to renovate the galleries and studios just as they had five years prior at the space on N. 2nd.
Pictured: Artists and Board Members Renovating 1140 ½ N. 2nd Street Galleries and 220 Cypress Street, photos by Max Brinson and Unknown Photographer
The Center for Contemporary Arts offers itself to local and visiting artists and art enthusiasts as a haven of continual creative innovation. With an ever growing membership of local and regional artists, The Center houses the working studios of a number of resident artists on the second floor of our space. The opportunity to see artists at work is an exciting and unique offering that echoes League’s desire to invite the public into creative spaces and allow the world a glimpse into the often unseen aspects of each artist's respective processes within the studio.
(1) Jana Culp in Studio, 1998, Photo by David Kent, Abilene Reporter News (ARN)
(2) Ruth Jackson in Studio, 2000, Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich, ARN
(3) Patty Rae Wellborn at work, Date Unknown, Photographer Unknown
In our galleries, we have housed work by many notable artists of local, regional, national and international significance. The Center also offers educational events for artists or all ages and skill levels throughout the year and boasts a membership of diverse, prolific creatives that make up the inspiring community that peoples The CCA today.
The Center’s axiom states “The Mission of The Center for Contemporary Arts is to encourage, empower and inspire artists, children and the community through the arts.” It is with this mission in mind that The Center continues into our 4th decade of existence. By supporting our local artists, fellow art organizations and art collectives The Center strives to continue our contributions to the ever diversifying rich cultural scene of The Big Country and West Texas and maintain the legacy and purpose of the individuals who created The Artists League of Texas.