Jim Burgess Family
|Summary of Magazine Article on Old Jail Art Center
Domain, Supplement to the March 1990 issue of Texas Monthly (R), "The Little Museum That Could" by Michael Ennis, pp. 44-45, 54-55.
A tiny museum near Abilene captivates road-weary travelers with an unexpected collection ranging from ancient Chinese tomb figures to Modigliani and Warhol.
Albany-native Ivy-leaguer playwright Robert Nail based The Time of Their Lives on his undergraduate life at Princeton in the 1920's. Thorton Wilder advised him to go back to his roots and this resulted in the musical Fort Griffin Fandango that has become an annual tourist attraction in Albany. He bought the jail property to use for office space and left it to his nephew Reilly Nail, Jr. The idea for the museum developed in the 1970's. Both Reilly Nail and his cousin painter Bill Bomar had been art collectors for years and already possessed a large private collection. They established a foundation, raised money, and opened the museum in the fall of 1980. Reilly Nail served as temporary director and Fort Worth architect Arthur Weinman was hired to design additional renovations. The exhibits include Chinese tomb figures acquired by Bomar's mother, pre-Columbian ceramics, and modern art which emphasizes figurative sculpture and landscapes. The museum is required by its charter to feature a living Texas artist each year and is actively acquiring works by living artists. It has, for instance, an interesting collection of contemporary British art.
Pictured in the article is the centerpiece of the courtyard, a tall pink granite windmill by Texas sculptor Jesus Bauttista Morales. There is also a picture of Reilly Nail working at a table in front of a row of large screens with pictures attached.
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