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Rockport art scene grows with artist-in-residence program

By Carolina Astrain
Aug. 30, 2014 at 3:18 p.m.
Updated Aug. 30, 2014 at 10:38 p.m.

Pamela Fulcher shows her proof of the 2014 Rockport Art Festival Poster in her home. The poster includes her photograph of a fishing boat.

BIO BOX

• Name: John Aasp

• Age: 37

• Hometown: San Angelo

• Profession: Visual arts director

• Favorite restaurants: Glow, Latitude and Moondog

• Favorite date spot: The public piers at sunset

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Rockport Center for the Arts

• WHEN: Closed Mondays; open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

• WHERE: 902 Navigation Circle, Rockport

• COST: Free admission

•  FOR MORE INFO: 361-729-5519

ROCKPORT - The Rockport Center for the Arts has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, said visual arts director John Aasp.

Their latest feature is an artist-in-residence program, which has allowed for an enhanced cultural exchange to cultivate within the coastal community.

"We've expanded our apprentice program to photography as an art form and taken a more academic approach to art," Aasp said. "It's been part of the success we've seen the last 10 years."

A college student art competition hosted by the art center has also sprouted from the residency program.

The Rising Eyes of Texas 2014 winners won cash prizes that ranged from $200 to $500.

Students from across the state - University of Texas at Arlington, University of Houston-Clear Lake and Baylor University - all placed in last year's top three.

"It's a really fantastic show because it shows our community what is going on in other parts of the state," Aasp said. "We may be the only statewide juried show for college students," Aasp said. "It's introduced this community to different art forms that they weren't used to before."

Aasp, who also oversees the Rockport Film Festival, said he enjoyed being a part of the coastal town over the last few years.

In June, photographs from Cuba taken by two Victoria artists, Dr. Buddy Lee and his wife, Jerra Lee, were on display.

"There's a huge interest in Cuba right now," Aasp said. "It's been viewed as enemy territory since I was born, and it's just starting to open up more now. These photos really show us the rediscovery of Cuba."

Aasp said while loyal and regional talent have been the cornerstone of the museum's personality, bringing in more out-of-town artists has strengthened the center.

As the art community continues to flourish in Rockport, Aasp, 37, said he hopes to see younger faces in town.

"Last year, we had two artists from San Francisco who picked plastic from the beach and created a whole installation," Aasp said. "It was depressing but also incredibly inspiring."

The couple took a boat to Matagorda Island and collected tons and tons of plastic, Aasp said.

The artist-in-residence program is three weeks long. During the first two weeks, the artists give workshops to art center members.

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