In 2019, a huge limb fell from the Cabinet Oak, the massive, 300-year-old tree just outside the doors of the Texas White House.
But instead of tossing the wood in a fire or hauling it away, crews sawed it into chunks, then distributed it to more than 50 carefully selected artists. The artwork is now part of a juried art competition and auction called the Cabinet Oak Project.
A lot of historic work unfolded beneath the leaves of that huge oak. President Lyndon B. Johnson gathered there with his staff to hammer out policies. He plotted the creation of the National Endowment for the Art and the National Endowment for the Humanities there.
I zipped over to see a free exhibit of the art at the Hangar Visitor Center at the LBJ National Historical Park last week. It’s fun to look at the pieces and think about the origin of the wood used to make them.
My favorites included a smooth, polished buffalo carving by Reynaldo Alaniz, a painting by J.R. Rapier, and what I can only describe as a phallic interpretation (or maybe that’s just me) by musician Bob Schneider.
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See the artwork
The free exhibit continues from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily through May 31. Check out this list of participating artists here.
An online auction of the works continues until May 6. A live auction of seven juror’s award pieces and one People’s Choice will take place at a celebration from 6-9 p.m. May 6 at Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas. Proceeds will fund a future artist-in-residence program at LBJ National Historical Park and help pay for restoration of the Texas White House.