CLOSING NOVEMBER 18, 2023: Conceived by nationally renowned artist James Surls, “A Gift From The Bower” is an outdoor, multi-disciplinary exhibition in the natural galleries formed by small clearings in the woods of the Locke Surls Center for Art and Nature in Southeast Texas. Originally conceived by artists James Surls and Charmaine Locke, the project is co-curated by Jack Massing and Xandra Eden to include newly commissioned works by 14 artists and artist teams:
Leticia Bajuyo (Oklahoma), John Calaway (Texas/Mexico), Carlos Canul (Texas) and Rachel Gardner (Texas), Alton DuLaney (Texas), Lina Dib (Texas), Ronald L. Jones (Texas), Sharon Kopriva (Texas/Idaho), Charmaine Locke (Colorado), Jack Massing (Texas), Sherry Owens (Texas) and Art Shirer (Texas), Patrick Renner (Texas), Kaneem Smith (Texas), James Surls (Colorado), and George Tobolowsky (Texas), and Susan Budge (Texas).
Each of the artworks was created in collaboration with musicians, performers, and writers to create a unique experience in nature. As implied by its title, “A Gift From The Bower” has its starting point as a view of nature as a restorative, benevolent source. As the world experiences the unprecedented impacts of climate change, aspects of the flora and fauna on the center’s grounds take a central role in a number of the artists’ works, while others focus on community, the environment, and relationships to nature and land.
This exhibition opened during the 2023 Earth Day Weekend (April 22-23), which also marked James Surls’ 80th birthday and DiverseWorks 40th anniversary. Surls played a significant role in the early days of DiverseWorks and the overall development of artists and the arts scene in Houston.