The Friends of the LBJ National Historical Park Announce Call for Artists

by Jessica Fuentes March 8, 2022

The Friends of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park — a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 in Stonewall, Texas to provide support for park restoration, preservation, and education — has announced a unique open call for artists.

A photograph showing several stacks of cut wood.

Assortment of wood pieces from the oak tree. Image courtesy of The Cabinet Oak Project.

The Cabinet Oak Project is a juried exhibition with a live auction event scheduled for spring 2023. Artists selected to participate in the show will have the opportunity to work with a piece of historic oak wood, sourced from a large fallen limb of an oak tree that sits in front of the LBJ Ranch House. This home of President Johnson was often referred to as the Texas White House because he used it to frequently host leaders from around the world. Because President Johnson often held staff meetings under the live oak tree in the house’s front yard, it became known as the Cabinet Oak.

A black and white photograph by Mike Geissinger of President Lyndon B. Johnson holding a meeting with representatives of the press seated in chairs below a large oak tree.

Lyndon B. Johnson and members of the press beneath the Cabinet Oak, on July 8, 1967. Photo by Mike Geissinger

Artists for the show will be selected juror Katie Robinson Edwards, the Executive Director and Curator at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum in Austin. Mark L. Smith (artist, writer, and co-founder of Flatbed Press in Austin) and Kevin Tully (artist, designer, and co-director of A Smith Gallery in Johnson City) are acting in advisory roles. Selected artists will be provided with a piece of wood from the fallen limb. Final works are due by September 1, 2022.

There are no restrictions on how the wood can be used, and artists working outside of the realm of sculpture are encouraged to apply. The website specifically states that all forms of contemporary art will be considered, “including photography, video, printmaking, conceptual art, minimalist art, installation art, cast bronze, etc.”

All works of art created for this project will be available for sale at the spring 2023 auction, and the participating artists will have the opportunity to select the amount of the hammer price that will be donated to the Park (55%, 65%, 75%, or 100%). The funds from auction sales will go to the Texas White House Restoration and the creation of an onsite Artist-in-Residence program. 

Mr. Smith told Glasstire that while some artists are already committed to the project, including James Surls, Margo Sawyer, and Michael Ray Charles, the panel is looking forward to reviewing applications from a diversity of artists working in a variety of mediums.

To learn more and apply, access the application portal through CaFÉ. The application deadline is April 1, 2022. 

A black and white photograph of President Lyndon B. Johnson with Senator J. William Fulbright looking at a large abstract work of art.

Lyndon B. Johnson with Senator J. William Fulbright, looking at “Squaring the Circle” by Richard Anuszkiewicz on June 14, 1965. Photo by Yoichi Okamoto.

“Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” – President Johnson

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