News & Press Releases
For Immediate Release

Story Photo
Michael Frary
Friday, May 4th, 2007
Major Retrospective Exhibitions - Michael Frary and Estelle Stair
March 26, 2007




ROCKPORT, TX --  The Rockport Center for the Arts is honoring the art of Michael Frary and Estelle Stair, two artists who were important to the founding of Rockport’s art community, with a retrospective of their work April 11 – May 12.  Most of the artwork is from the private collection of relatives and has never before been on public display or offered for sale.A special reception will be held at the Art Center, which is located at 902 Navigation Circle, on Saturday, April 14th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  On the same day as the reception, Lisa Baer, niece of Estelle Stair, will give a gallery talk, which will start at 4:00 p.m. Then at 4:30 p.m., Frary collector, Carl R. McQueary will give a talk on his late friend, Michael Frary and his work.  Special guest, Mrs. Michael (Peggy) Frary will be recognized at the reception. The gallery talks and exhibition are free to the public.During a career spanning almost seventy years, Michael Frary influenced the course of art, not only in Texas, but in the United States as well.  He was a seminal figure in the art movement known as “modernism” and with his contemporaries on the faculty of the Art Department at the University of Texas, changed the face of art on a national scale.His artwork and love for the state, in which he lived for more than half a century, resulted in the publication of three books.  Through his writing and watercolors, these books vividly convey the breadth and scope of the land that provided his inspiration.  Widely celebrated as a Texas Modernist, his influence has also shaped the lives and careers of the countless thousands of students whom he taught both in the classroom and in on-site workshops.


Rockport Center for the Arts Frary and Stair exhibit – Page 2

During his career, he received more than 175 awards and was featured in over 200 solo exhibitions. 

His works are housed in private and public collections worldwide, including the National Museum of Art and Smithsonian Institute.Estelle Stair (pronounced “star”) moved to Rockport in 1962, where she began her art studies under the tutelage of Simon Michael.  In 1967, Stair joined with Jan Wendell and other local artist to form the Rockport Art Association, which thrives today as the Rockport Center for the Arts.

An avid supporter of the Rockport Art Association, Stair assumed the organization’s debt when they were struggling, and told them that they would always have a home for their group within her gallery. 

When she moved her gallery business into the historic ship chandlery and grocery building on Austin Street in 1978, the Association followed suit.

Stair’s warmth, talent and appreciation of art made her a major force in the Rockport art community. 

She taught and encouraged artists of all ages and interests. Her weekly “paint-along” sessions were very popular with residents and visitors alike.  The gallery on Austin Street, which still bears her name, is currently owned by her niece, artist Lisa Baer of Rockport, and is undergoing extensive renovation.

A non-profit organization, the Rockport Center for the Arts is dedicated to providing an environment that nurtures the expression and appreciation of art for residents and tourists alike. For more information on the exhibits and other Center programs, please call 361-729-5519 or visit