News & Press Releases
For Immediate Release

Story Photo
Thursday, August 10th, 2017
September in the Galleries






Birds in Art

Featuring world-renowned Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s annual exhibit

September 16 – November 18, 2017

Free & Open to the public

Rockport Center for the Arts

902 Navigation Circle, Rockport, Texas


(361) 729-5519



(ROCKPORT, TX) This fall, birds from land, sea, and sky in multitudes of mediums and artistic styles will fly thousands of miles and find hospitable refuge from their long migrations along the Texas Gulf Coast.  Each painting, work on paper and sculpture will be featured at the Rockport Center for the Arts as a traveling exhibit from the world-renowned Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s annual Birds in Art Exhibition.  Now into its fifth decade, the exhibit has grown, and is widely recognized around the world as the gold standard for avian art. Free and open to the public, Birds in Art will celebrate the timeless appeal of birds through fresh and contemporary artistic interpretations.  It will be on display from September 16 through November 18, 2017 at Rockport Center for the Arts.  Rockport is the southernmost showing for the juried and curated exhibition.


“Mankind’s fascination with birds, bird symbols and avian art is universal.  To be captivated by the harmony and serenity of the natural world is part of the human condition. Art lovers, nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers will find something exciting in Birds in Art - these three simple words have become synonymous with the absolute best in avian art from around the globe,” says Executive Director, Luis Purón.


Since 1976, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s annual Birds in Art exhibit has showcased the remarkable talents of more than 1,000 artists from around the world, who have presented the very best work interpreting birds. Whether the subject is a backyard feeder favorite or an exotic species from a distant part of the world, an international cast of artists interprets avian themes and habitats employing diverse styles and mediums. From its origination point at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin, the show makes 5 additional stops at prestigious institutions including the Museum of York County in South Carolina, Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in New York, the Fullerton Arboretum in California and Rockport Texas.


Purón adds, “Rockport’s status as an important art colony in the United States is well documented.  For five decades, Rockport Center for the Arts has encouraged artists to use the natural elements of our coastal landscape, the delicate movement in the bays’ water, the splendor of the sun, and the shore birds because we are an important migratory area for many species. It goes without saying that this is the perfect exhibit for South Texas - art lovers, nature enthusiasts and bird watchers will find something exciting in Birds in Art


Three artists who live and work in Texas will be featured in the prestigious exhibit including Kent Ullberg (Corpus Christi), Jim Offeman (Missouri City) and Debbie Stevens (Cypress) as well as many other artists with international recognition.  Ullberg needs no introduction. Texas’ Coastal Bend is already a sanctuary for his work with a total of eighteen major monuments, two of which reside in the Sculpture Garden at Rockport Center forthe Arts:  Rites of Spring (2000) and Preening Heron (2017). Offeman has the distinction of being Rockport Art Festival Poster Artist in 2001.  His pastel works are widely collected.  Stevens was recently selected as Art Festival Poster Artist for 2018.


Rockport Center for the Arts presented Birds in Art in 2013.  The show had a very successful two-month run. After the show ended two Art Center benefactors, M. A. and Pete Fischer, expressed interest in making a major financial commitment to have Birds in Art return. Generous support was also received from The Margaret Sue Rust Foundation, TexasCommission on the Arts and the City of Rockport.


Purón notes, “Birds are beautiful creatures. Whether you are an artist who draws or sculpts them, a poet who writes about them, a naturalist who observes them, or an advocate for conservancy; the mere fact that birds can unpredictably take flight, make songs with fluttering wings and coordinate other birds into a rhythmic elevation is fascinating.”


The Art Center plans to capitalize on the many possibilities for Birds in Art as an educational resource for the community and its fall-time visitors.  This traveling show is one-of-a-kind opportunity for people in Texas, its four bordering states and Northern Mexico to experience the finest avian art being produced at an international level.


A total of 918 entries by 518 artists from around the world were submitted for Birds in Art . One hundred pieces were chosen by three jurors: Mindy Moak, principal of MME Fine Arts in New York; Michael Panhorst, curator at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama; and Graeme Reid, director of collections at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend- for display at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.  The traveling exhibit includes fifty paintings and works on paper and ten sculptures. 

A fully illustrated, color catalogue accompanies each Birds in Art exhibition. Catalogues are available for sale at Rockport Center for the Arts for $20.


Birds in Art opens Saturday, September 16, 2017with a Member’s Appreciation Day from 10 AM - 4 PM.  A Member’s only reception will take place from 5 PM to 630 PM the same day. 

To renew, update or purchase a new membership ahead of opening day please visit or call 361-729-5519.  Memberships can also be purchased by visiting the Art Center. The exhibit opens to everyone on Sunday, September 17, 2017 with special hours for HummerBird Celebration visitors from 11 AM to 4 PM.  The show has a two month run through Saturday, November 18, 2017.


Birds in Art is organized by the Leigh YawkeyWoodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.