From the outside, it is just another brick building, but inside are treasures to inspire the heart and the mind.
Located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., the Tyler Museum of Art opened in 1971 from funds raised by the Junior League of Tyler.
The museum was started by the “picture ladies;” women who took “pictures” of arts to the schools to give students knowledge of what art was about.
“The ladies saw a real need in the community. This got them talking about making a museum,” C.B. Henderson, development assistant and membership coordinator, said.
“This was the start of the first art education the students had,” Betty Summers, board member of the Tyler Museum, said. She has been a member for 28 years.
Having a museum in Tyler brings many tourists to this small town.
“The museum is part of the cultural attraction the city has. It makes the city better and helps the economy, as well,” Robert Owen, facility manager since 1996, said.
The art museum has over 800 items in its collection and keeps adding more.
“The museum is pretty active,” Summers said.
The exhibits are a major attraction to visitors. The museum puts on a variety of shows throughout the year.
The major show of 2009 is going to be the Fashioning Kimono in June.
A new show running from Feb. 22 to May 17 is Scenes from the American West: The Phelan Collection from the Arthur J. Phelan collection.
This exhibit is intended as a historical record of the people who moved west from the Mississippi, the settlements they created, and the Native Americans who were already in those lands.
The TMA will be putting on a Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 15 from 2- p.m.
There will be a signature piece by one of the most respected African-American sculptors, Richmond Barthe.
His sculpture “Alligator” will be on display until March 1.
Every year the museum gives tours to at least 5,000 students in grades 2 through 5. The numbers are rising each year.
“We get more requests than we can handle,” Summers said.
Most exhibits are free to the public, and Tyler Museum members, the exhibits are free. Students can get a one-year membership for only $10.
According to the mission statement, the art museum’s goal is to build awareness of and participation in the arts and culture of the region.
“The museum is good for the heart and good for the mind,” Owens said.
For more information on the Tyler Museum of Art, call (903) 595-1001.