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City of Cleburne News

Posted on: September 1, 2023

Exhibit Highlights Johnson County History

Hallmark Painting

The Layland Museum of History is gearing up for one of its biggest exhibits of the year. “The Mustang Foundation Collection,” featuring 47 works of art that were donated by the Mustang Foundation, will be on display at the museum from Sept. 22 through Dec. 30.

The artwork was commissioned and collected by Lowell "Stretch" Smith, Jr. between 1984 and 1997. Many of them appeared in marketing materials for First State Bank of Rio Vista, affectionately nicknamed Cowpasture Bank, due to its country setting.

The works focus on the history of Johnson County and surrounding areas, many by Cleburne-born artist George Hallmark. Smith was the first to offer Hallmark a major commission, which was the springboard for a national career that includes being named Artist of the Year by the Texas Legislature twice and having artwork in six museums. The relationship of painter and patron continued for decades, and many of the works are personally inscribed to Smith.

Other artists, like Lex Graham, are also featured in the elaborate showcase.

The opening celebration of “The Mustang Foundation Collection” will be on Friday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. It will feature remarks by artist George Hallmark, followed by a reception in the exhibit gallery.

Reservations for the opening event are free to Friends of the Museum or $20 for guests. Please call 817-645-0940 or email [email protected] to sign up.

After the debut event through Dec. 30, admission is free during museum hours. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A lineup of programs to align with the exhibit will be announced soon. Group tours for groups of eight or more are free of charge but must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance at 817-645-0940 or [email protected]

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