Public Art Showcased in Lubbock, Texas

Written By Guest Blogger

January 20, 2023

By: Stacy Keith and Sean Robertson

Art is everywhere in Lubbock, but especially thrives around the Texas Tech University campus and what is known to be not only the first designated Cultural District in Texas, but also one of the largest, located in downtown Lubbock. The diversity of public art throughout the city is offers unique pieces from bronze statues to storm drain murals. Below are five public art pieces to ignite curiosity and inspire a visit. 

Storm Drain Art Project 

Water is treasured in Lubbock and the Storm Drain Art Project sponsored by Civic Lubbock and the City of Lubbock, is a fun way to encourage water conservation while also educating about the process.  The art project selects artists each year and assigns them to paint their selected design on the sidewalk near a storm drain.  This project takes public art to the streets and makes a stroll on downtown’s Ave K a unique experience.  The pictured mural is by @Taybleware – one of the winners of the contest in 2022 and is located just north of The West Table on Avenue K. 

Read Reader 

 The Texas Tech University System has one of the most renowned public art collections of any university system.  Each piece is a meaningful interpretation of Texas Tech’s students and values, but one of our favorites has to be Read Reader by Lubbock legend Terry Allen.  This whimsical bronze book man is the perfect public art piece to greet students near the Student Union Building.  Not only is he inspiring students to seek knowledge, but he does it in a completely whimsical and fun way – over the years brightening the day of all who see him. 

ROOTS Historical Mural 

 In 2019, Joey Martinez created a mural project designed to show the contributions of the African American Community’s influence on the history of the city of Lubbock. It includes prodigious heads such as former city councilman T.J. Patterson. The roots mural shows the expression of the educator, civic leader Mae Simmons and an advocate for Lubbock, Eric Strong, who was the Founder and Director of Roots Historical Council. This painting is a great way to showcase the record of several forerunners to the public in Lubbock. It can be found on the side of Caviel Museum of African American History located at 1719 Avenue A and the first African American owned pharmacy in the United States. While you are there, don’t forget to stop in on the Lubbock Roots Historical Art Council, which is responsible for the mural itself and preserving  African American history on the South Plains of Texas. These groundbreakers will be missed, but because of the work of Joey Martinez, they will never be forgotten.

The Friendly Cowboys by Lubbock Arts Alliance 

Have you ever heard of the “Friendly Cowboy Western String Band”? Well, look no further because they are here in Lubbock! Each figure is painted a vibrant color and includes:  “Amarillo Kid,” the yellow fiddle performer, and “Prairie Rose,” the red bass player joining “Pinky,” the pink guitar entertainer, and “Blue the Friendly Cowboy,” the blue lead vocalist. Artist B.C. Gilbert created these statues for the Lubbock Arts Alliance and can be found throughout the city at central crossways. Look out for them when you are out and about.  They can easily be seen, each measuring 13’ tall and weighing over 1000 lbs. So when you find one be sure to wave and say, “Howdy!” Their exact locations are listed at @lubbockarts.org. Gilbert earned his MFA from Texas Tech University. 

Armadillogeddon by Pete Goldlust and Bayne Gardner

Not only is Lubbock a canvas for local artists, but nationally known artists also make their mark in our community.   In 2021, LHUCA commissioned a mural for its Ice House building by  Eugene, Oregon artist Pete Goldlust with an installation by Bayne Gardner.  The mural represents a whimsical view of Lubbock. Windmills, prairie dogs, armadillos and all things West Texas are alongside robots, rockets and images of space crafts representing the famous Lubbock Lights.  All in all, it’s a wild, fun and joyous representation that reminds us not to take anything too seriously on this wild rocket ship ride we call life.  

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