Live Oak Art Center History

The Live Oak Art Club was formed in 1954. The original members held meetings in the kitchen of the Live Oak Hotel, giving the group its name.  In 1986, through the generosity of Emma Hay, the Live Oak Art Club purchased the Brunson Building and it became the home of the Live Oak Art Center. 

With funds from The Wade Family Foundation, the Live Oak Art Center restored the Brunson Saloon and Whiskey Warehouse in 2016. In 2017, The Wade Family Foundation also provided funding to refurbish both the upstairs and downstairs galleries as well as build out The Courtyard Wine Bar.  

Over the years, the Live Oak Art Center has proudly offered classes, workshops, summer camps, and art exhibitions for all those who live in or visit Columbus, TX. Celebrating and promoting the arts and showcasing inspiring artists are important parts of our past, present, and future. 

Brunson Building History

Charles Brunson, an 1845 German immigrant, was initially a stage coach driver in Columbus.  In 1867 he established the Brunson Saloon on the Courthouse Square. In 1891 built the Brunson Building and Whiskey Warehouse a block north from its original location. 

In those violent times, only law officers were allowed to carry guns. Locals often stashed their weapons at their favorite saloon to avoid having them confiscated while in town. Several shootings took place in and around the Brunson Saloon, including the deaths of Sam Reese and Larkin Hope, participants in the infamous Stafford-Townsend feud. The Brunson Saloon closed in 1919. After its closing, the Brunson Building was used for a number of different retail establishments until it became the Live Oak Art Center in 1986. 

The front of the building is decorated in Victorian style with four decorated steel columns and wooden Victorian style windows. The upper windows sit on a steel ledger course, which sits on the top of the columns under the brick lintel. The windows are framed by decorative brick pilasters and are capped with decorative metal caps. The wood window frames are arched at the top and sitting on a brick string course and ledger course.

Brunson Building & Scholandt Building, c. 1976

Mr. Charles Brunson

Interior of the Brunson Saloon, c. 1916

Brunson Building can be seen on the far right

Brunson Building as Wendel's Television and Electronics Store, c. 1983

Brunson Saloon on Milam Street

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Courtney Wied, Executive Director

A native to Colorado County, Courtney Wied graduated from Columbus High School in 2005 and pursued a B.A. in English and History from Texas A&M University, graduating in 2009.

After college, Courtney traveled extensively and lived all over the world. These experiences taught her to be more open-minded and flexible. “I’ve experienced so many different, beautiful cultures. I’d like to bring the rest of the world to our little town,” said Courtney. “Travel broadens your horizons and pushes you past your comfort zone. I believe art can achieve the same thing.”

Courtney moved back to Columbus with her two children in April 2018. She appreciates the good people, friendly faces, and willingness of neighbors to lend a hand. She is grateful for the chance to raise her children in a small, close-knit community.

Courtney brings extensive experience in nonprofits, public relations, and event planning and plans to use her skills to reach more people in throughout Colorado County community and beyond. “Cultivating curiosity and imagination is important to the success of LOAC’s programs. If our programs spark a new passion for art in just one person, I consider that a success,” she said.


Board of Directors

Betty Hovis


Gant Glover

Vice President

Susan Glover


Marilyn Wade


Amanda Danning


Kathleen Townzen


Tom Vining


Roger Wade

Board Member Emeritus

From our guests...

2019-2020 Live Oak Art Center Members

Sustaining Members

  • Columbus Eye Associates
  • Betty & Todd Hovis
  • Marilyn & Roger Wade

LOAC Benefactors

  • Lori An & Robb Gobert
  • First National Bank of Eagle Lake
  • Eileen & Rick Rau
  • Susan Whitfield

LOAC Contributors

  • Chances R Farms, LLC
  • Pam & Neal Doty
  • Susan Glithero
  • Susan & Gant Glover
  • Carol and Kamel Girgis
  • Tom Hancher, MD
  • Henneke Funeral Home, Ltd.
  • Pam & Michael Hollmann
  • Billy Kahn
  • Gaye Koenning & Aaron Joseph
  • Deborah & Jon Loessin
  • Positive Force Consulting
  • Modina & John Mangini
  • Grace & Steven McCullough
  • Deedee Reiley
  • Kay & Mike Story
  • Kathleen & Shalor Townzen
  • Colleen Walker
  • Weishuhn Engineering

Couple Membership

  • Elrose & Ernest Baumgart
  • Donna & Raymond Bubak
  • Susan & Manzy Chandler
  • Linda & John Hocking
  • Margaret & Gus Miller
  • Marian & Chuck Rankin
  • Mary & Terry Sablatura
  • Heather & Ryan Thomas
  • Carol Weeks & Jerry Wilson
  • Beckey Zajicek & Donnie Divin