Debbie Stevens: Taking Flight 2018 Poster Artist Exhibition
Debbie Stevens: Taking Flight

Cypress, Texas resident and this year’s poster artist, Debbie Stevens, will be Taking Flight very soon.  To the Coastal Bend that is.  Not only is the renowned artist having a solo exhibit of recent works at Rockport Center for the Arts, but she is also relocating to Corpus Christi, where she was raised.  Last year, Stevens was selected as the 49th Annual Rockport Art Festival Poster Artist.  In conjunction with the extremely prestigious honor of creating the official image of the long-standing event, Stevens will have a solo exhibit at Estelle Stair Gallery, located at 406 S. Austin Street in downtown Rockport.  Rockport Center for the Arts rented the space specifically to host the annual blockbuster show.   “Taking Flight will feature more than 40 original, new works created specifically for this exhibit,” says Elena Rodriguez, Curator of Exhibitions.  She adds, “The gallery restoration that Lisa Baer and John Paul Frederick have completed is amazing.  Having the public see art in such a majestic space after all that has happened will have a restorative effect on our community.  It will also allow us to fulfill our mission and our promises to Debbie Stevens for a sensational show.”  Free and open to the public, the exhibit will run from Saturday, June 16 through Saturday, July 28.  A gallery talk, reception and poster signing will take place on Saturday, June 16 starting at 4:30 p.m.  

Adding spirit to the celebration of art, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has signed on as the Title Sponsor.  Rockport Center for the Arts will be releasing the recipe for Rockport Magic, the signature cocktail for the summer event.  “Rockport Magic is a refreshing citrus cocktail prepared exclusively with Tito’s Handmade Vodka.  We are excited to have our art patrons try it during the opening and throughout the summer at other gallery events at the Art Center and at Estelle Stair,” states Luis Purón, Executive Director; who adds that the partnership with the Austin-based brand was forged thanks to the Rebuild Texas Fund.

Debbie Stevens discovered her love for art and pursued it in her studies, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in painting.  She studied landscape, still life, and figure with contemporary masters Dalhart Windberg, Robert A. Johnson, Scott Burdick, and Jeff Legg and has attended workshops in bird photography with nationally acclaimed wildlife photographers Jim Nieger and Arthur Morris. Stevens is a signature member of the Oil Painters of America, signature member of the Society of Animal Artists, signature member of the Artists for Conservation, a member of the International Guild of Realism, and a member of the Contemporary Texas Regionalists. “My work is created with a devotion to traditional realism. I look for subjects in nature and the environment, searching to capture their particular properties of texture, transparency, reflection, and color,” states Stevens.  Her intense passion for birds has grown from visiting zoos and interacting with endangered species. She has conducted research and tracked fly-routes to accurately depict behaviors during spring and fall migrations.  She adds “It is my sincere desire for viewers to experience the wonderment of birds in their natural habitat.”

On May 10, 2018, Debbie Stevens was accepted into Birds in Art 2018.  This is the sixth time that she has been juried into the show.  Birds in Art is a prestigious, international, juried exhibit which travels to several venues across the United States.  Rockport Center for the Arts’ renaissance after hurricane Harvey started with Birds in Art 2016, which was hosted at the Art Museum of South Texas (Corpus Christi) from September to November, 2017.  Stevens was part of this exhibit. 

Stevens’ work is part of important public collections, most notably- the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin; Dr. Philips Hospital in Orlando, Florida; Holmes Regional Medical in Melbourne, Florida; Memorial Hermann TIRR in Houston; Memorial Hermann Hospital in Sugar Land; Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute in Houston; Memorial Hermann Ambulatory Care Center in Houston; and Thibodaux Regional Medical in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

The official image of Stevens’ poster will be revealed the night of the exhibit opening, June 16.  It will be used as the official image for the 49th Annual Rockport Art Festival and be available for sale throughout the event.  The Rockport Art Festival will take place on July 7 and 8, 2018.  The original work of art will be auctioned at the Art Auction Gala, on July 5, 2018.  Posters will be available for sale at the Festival Store, at the Art Center and at Estelle Stair Gallery.  

The Rockport Art Festival Poster Artist is a 26 year tradition.  Renowned watercolorist Harold Phenix (deceased) was chosen as the first poster artist in 1993.  To commemorate this important tradition, a very special Past Poster Artists exhibit will be hosted at the Art Center, 106 S. Austin St.  “June 16 will be a very special evening in Rockport; we will have two openings at two venues located three blocks away from each other.  We are hopeful that our entire community comes to take part in the fun,” stated Rodriguez.