A limb fell from the Cabinet Oak at LBJ Ranch and artists turned it into Texas treasure
Apr 25, 2023
Cabinet Oak at LBJ Ranch

President Lyndon B. Johnson gathers with staff beneath the Cabinet Oak at the Texas White House. Photo courtesy Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

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.

Reynaldo Alaniz

Reynaldo Alaniz carved this buffalo from part of the Cabinet Oak. Pam LeBlanc photo

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.

Bob Schneider

Bob Schneider made this wooden sculpture from part of a limb that fell off the Cabinet Oak at LBJ Ranch in 2019. Pam LeBlanc photo

Read more: Luxury boutique Albert Hotel aims for late summer opening in Fredericksburg

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.

JR Rapier

This painting by JR Rapier is based on a photograph of LBJ gathered with staff members beneath the Cabinet Oak.

 

 

 

 

 

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