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.


Board of Directors

Kathleen Townzen


Roger Wade

Vice President

Marilyn Wade


Susan Glover


Amanda Danning


Suzanne Corbin


Dr. Debe Klesel


Amanda Kridel


Kasey Peikert


From our guests...

2020-2021 Members

Sustaining Members

Barbara Peterman


LOAC Benefactors

Rachel & Justen Clem

Betty & Todd Hovis

Eileen & Rick Rau

Marian & Curtiss Schonenberg

Ann & Greg West

LOAC Contributors

Melanie & Darrel Appelt

Shirley Barfield

Ann & Paige Butler

Suzanne & David Corbin

Amanda Danning & Jim Brasher

Colette & Bill Durbin

Carol & Kamel Girgis

Lori An & Robb Gobert

Tom Hancher, M.D.

Roxanne & Doak Hartley

Henneke Funeral Home

Melissa Houser

Paulina & Jim Kearney

Gaye Koenning & Aaron Joseph

Grace & Steve McCullough

Estelle & Ron Mostyn

Mary Anne & Bob Pickens

Bobbe Shapiro Nolan

Charlotte Tilotta & Sylvester Bedford

Gerald Tobola

Kathleen & Shalor Townzen

Sherry & Troy Tucker

Holly & John Waligura

Colleen Walker


Couple Membership

Marilyn & Pat Bodungen

Donna & Raymond Bubak

Linda & John Cates

Paula & Ernie Frnka

Susan & Gant Glover

Brigette Crawford & John Neese

Penny & Ron Nelson

Mr. & Mrs. Dan H. Norrison

Ann & Hank Parkhill

Marian & Chuck Rankin

Donna & Larry Solansky

Gary & Tess Swindle

Heather & William Vasser

Carol Weeks & Jerry Wilson

Evangeline & Elbert Whorton

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