UL Live

by Christina Cavazos

Arts!Longview brings new sculptures, and marks milestones in 2022.

From installing new sculptures that inspire children to dream to revitalizing a historic landmark building and celebrating a milestone for a beloved community festival, Arts!Longview continued its mission to spark a love of the arts, history, and culture.
Dedication of the sculpture “Life is a Balancing Act” on August 29, 2022 at the Belcher Center - Photo by Michael Cavazos

“Life is a Balancing Act”

Cindy Debold, Artist

LeTourneau University Belcher Center

2100 South Mobberly Avenue

Christina Cavazos Executive Director - Photo by Michael Cavazos

We experienced tremendous growth in 2022, and it continues to be exciting to see the transformation taking place in our Cultural District,” Executive Director Christina Cavazos said. “We have brought and encouraged new public artwork, seen new business development and historic revitalization, and continued to reach new audiences and generate tourism with our quarterly ArtWalks. We’re not slowing down – 2023 will be another exciting year.”

Arts!Longview began 2022 by moving into the iconic Longview Community Center with a new, full-time executive director. Cavazos started with the nonprofit organization in January 2022, taking over from Cynthia Hellen who retired. Through a partnership established with Gregg County in late 2021, Arts!Longview assumed management of the historic Longview Community Center in 2022.

“Since it opened in 1940, the Longview Community Center has been a place where many families have made special memories over the years. From weddings and baby showers to dance recitals and concerts, it has been a hub for activity,” Cavazos said. “We’re proud to have played a role in helping bring new life and energy to this building.”

In partnership and agreement with Gregg County, Arts!Longview began managing rental activity for the building.  Since reopening in 2022, the building has played host to baby showers, receptions, church gatherings, jazz concerts, vendor fairs, theater plays and more. Theatre Longview, one of Arts!Longview’s nine partner agencies, chose to make the Longview Community Centers its home once again.  

“The Longview Community Center has always been synonymous with live theatre in the greater Longview area,” said Denise Knutson, 2022 president of Theatre Longview’s Board of Directors. “Being back in the center is akin to coming home after a long trip. We are excited for the future of community theatre and all of the arts in the building and are grateful for our relationship with Arts!Longview and all they have done to build up the arts in our city.”

Arts!Longview also continued its mission to transform the community through art. Thanks to a $55,000 grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and matching funding from the Rosa May Griffin Foundation, Arts!Longview installed two new entryway monuments and three new sculptures in the Cultural District.

The entryway monuments help denote the boundaries of the Cultural District. The two new monuments installed in 2022 were placed at the Longview Community Center and at LeTourneau University at the corner of Green Street and Mobberly Avenue – the southernmost point of the Cultural District. The new monuments add to two previously installed by Arts!Longview at the corner of High and Tyler Streets in downtown Longview and at the Longview Multimodal Transportation Center.

Meanwhile, the three sculptures brought a new art form to the Cultural District which had previously focused on public art through large-scale murals. The three sculptures were installed during the summer of 2022 at locations throughout the Cultural District:  the Longview Public Library, the LeTourneau University Belcher Center, and Longview City Hall.  The sculpture at the Longview Public Library is called “Books Make Dreams.” Created by J.P. “Pat” Childress, the bronze sculpture features a young Black girl exuberantly holding two books, both of which were written by Black authors.

Childress now resides in Boerne but grew up in East Texas, graduating from New London High School (today known as West Rusk High School). He is the twin brother of the late Mike Childress, who worked for Eastman Chemical Co. for 38 years and served as a community leader in Longview. Childress said when he learned about the art project in Longview, he wanted to do something to honor his late brother.

“It is my hope that this sculpture “Books Make Dreams” will serve as a welcoming portal for all children to engage themselves in the pastime of reading, which, of course, can lead to many dreams made and fulfilled by the individual,” Childress said.

At the Belcher Center, “Life is a Balancing Act” is a bronze sculpture that features a young girl wearing a leotard practicing balance. It was created by artist Cindy Debold, who resides near Lake Travis. In her sculptures, Debold strives to create work that is realistic and that captures emotion.

The sculpture “Life is a Balancing Act” depicts a relaxed, confident young girl with one eye closed as she balances on one foot. The sculpture is a visual metaphor of its title, in that maintaining a balance between health, family, work and play is very important, though not always easy,” Debold said. “The closed eyes are symbolic of trust in the future, our intuition, and on another level, the ultimate benevolence in the universe. My hope is that someday all children can enjoy the adventures and challenges of life with a sense of trust in themselves and each other.”

Photo by Michael Cavazos


J. P. ‘Pat’ Childress, Artist

Longview Public Library

222 West Cotton Street

Meanwhile, at Longview City Hall, “Pegasus IV: Liftoff” was created by artist Tom Gingras of Spicewood. The sculpture, which stands more than 7 feet tall, was fabricated from welded mild steel, bronze and copper. Gingras said he hopes Pegasus serves to inspire the community in Longview.

“Dream the impossible dream, and put yourself in it,” he said.

Cavazos said Arts!Longview hopes the new sculptures serve as further inspiration for the community.  “These sculptures are part of our ongoing efforts to continue enhancing our community through the arts. We hope all three of these pieces will serve as inspiration for those in our community and beyond,” she said.

In previous years, Arts!Longview worked to enhance downtown Longview by installing four murals, street sign banners, wrapping utility boxes, and entryway monuments.

For its work to enhance the Cultural Districts and downtown, Longview Main Street nominated  Arts!Longview in the Texas Downtown Association’s President’s Awards in the category “Best Downtown Partner.”  In its nomination, Longview Main Street cited that Arts!Longview has done a lot to help Downtown Longview grow over the past three years including raising awareness, bringing in grants and funding beautification projects. Arts!Longview was selected by the state association as a finalist in the category.

“Texas is filled with many fantastic downtowns and downtown partners that are doing wonderful things. It was such an honor and so exciting for Arts!Longview to be recognized as a finalist,” Cavazos said.

Looking toward 2023, Cavazos said additional funding from the TCA will allow Arts!Longview to continue making enhancements within the Cultural District.

In addition to making enhancements to the district, Arts!Longview also continued to support and celebrate the work of its arts partners. While Theatre Longview marked its 10th anniversary with renewed performances at the Longview Community Center, ArtsView Children’s Theatre experienced much-awaited improvements to its building. Thanks to a TCA grant, ArtsView added an accessible ramp that goes from the parking lot to the front door and upgraded restrooms to make them ADA-compliant. The children’s theater also gave its exterior signage a facelift.


J. P. ‘Pat’ Childress, Artist

Longview Public Library

222 West Cotton Street


ur big project in 2023 will be to bring artistic improvements to the historic Train Depot. We look forward to continuing our reach within the boundaries of our Cultural District as we begin to move out of downtown Longview and stretch toward Mobberly Avenue,” Cavazos said. “In future years, we hope – in conjunction with City of Longview improvements on Mobberly Avenue – to make major artistic enhancements along Mobberly between the Train Depot and LeTourneau University.”

ArtWalk Downtown
Longview Symphony Orchestra

In the realm of music, the Longview Symphony Orchestra and the East Texas Symphonic Band each attracted hundreds of patrons to their concerts to experience a variety of music. In the 2022-2023 concert season, the East Texas Symphonic Band will celebrate its 35th anniversary; meanwhile, the Longview Symphony will bring the music of “Stars Wars” to East Texas with a springtime performance funded in part by a TCA grant.

Longview World of Wonders opened a new train exhibit that educates children while also promoting safety and received a nearly $50,000 federal grant to fund a new STEAM Train exhibit. And the Gregg County Historical Museum delighted attendees with its annual events, including Dalton Days, Landmarks of Longview and the December return of its much loved Living History Christmas.

Meanwhile, Longview Museum of Fine Arts continued making improvements to transform a former bank building at the corner of Methvin and Fredonia Streets into its future home. LMFA is working to preserve features of the historic building, such as a 75-foot tile mosaic counter created by the late Herbert Mears, and add new features to the facility, such as a visual vault. The former bank’s drive-through entrance across from the Gregg County Courthouse will become a pedestrian walkway with former teller windows turned into public art viewing cases.

Additionally, Arts!Longview experienced growth in 2022 at its quarterly ArtWalks which bring together all of the Cultural District’s partner agencies as well as downtown businesses, artists and the community. From 140 registered artists in April to 200 registered in October 2022, the festival drew artists from far beyond East Texas throughout the year.

“In October, we saw artists attend from Louisiana, Arkansas and as far as Oklahoma City,” Cavazos said. “Artists also came to ArtWalk from Dallas, Houston and other areas of Texas, and some of those artists returned in December to participate again. It has been exciting to see ArtWalk generate such interest from across the state, truly cementing its place as a premier arts festival in East Texas.”  The quarterly ArtWalks are free to artists to participate and free to the community to attend. Arts!Longview pairs artists with downtown businesses and places them on sidewalks throughout downtown. In addition to art, there is also live music, food vendors and more at the events.

“I enjoy participating in ArtWalk because it brings me joy to see the community come out and support local artists of East Texas, and it gives me joy that my art brings a smile upon their face,” said artist Kelly Ramon, who can be found on social media at Kelly la Artista. Ramon participates at each ArtWalk, typically setup on the sidewalk at Silver Grizzly Espresso. “I hope to continue to be a part of this for as long as possible.”

ArtWalk pairs artists with downtown businesses, and as more business development has occurred in the Cultural District, the ArtWalk map has grown. Since 2019 when Arts!Longview was designated by the state as a Cultural District, more than 20 new businesses have opened downtown.

Arts!Longview 2022 Board President Toni Erskine said it was exciting to see the Cultural District’s growth and progress in 2022. 

“The most exciting change has been the continued growth of the Cultural District, which began in 2019.  The district continues to draw new businesses—20 and counting—and people to the downtown area,” Erskine said.  

“Our mission to create a district that welcomes artists and art lovers and locals and tourists while showcasing our creative community is on track with exciting opportunities ahead of us.”      

Longview Museum of Fine Arts - Photo by Michael Cavazos
LeTourneau University Belcher Center - Photo by Jim King
ArtsView Childrens Theatre - Photo by Michael Cavazos
East Texas Symphonic Band - Photo by Michael Cavazos


Tom Gringas, Artist

Longview City Hall

300 West Cotton Street

Cultural District

  1. ArtsView Children’s Theatre
  2. Central Fire Station
  3. City Hall / Visitors Center
  4. First Baptist Church
  5. First Presbyterian Church
  6. First United Methodist Church
  7. Gregg County Courthouse
  8. Gregg County Historical Museum
  9. Heritage Plaza
  10. Historic Longview Farmers Market
  11. Historic Longview Train Depot
  12. Kilgore College – Longview
  13. Longview Chamber of Commerce
  14. ARTS!Longview Community Center
  15. Longview Museum of Fine Arts
  16. Longview Public Library
  17. Longview Safety City
  18. Longview Symphony
  19. Longview World of Wonders
  20. Magrill Plaza
  21. Pelaia Plaza and J.T. Smith Sculpture Garden
  1. Belcher Center
  2. Servant Sculpture
  3. Ingenuity Sculpture
  4. R.G. LeTourneau Museum
  5. Speer Chapel