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.
Interior of the Brunson Saloon, c. 1916
Brunson Saloon on Milam Street
Brunson Building & Scholandt Building, c. 1976
Mr. Charles Brunson
Brunson Building can be seen on the far right
Brunson Building as Wendel's Television and Electronics Store, c. 1983
Courtney Wied, Executive Director
A native to Colorado County, Courtney 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 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 being able to raise her children in a small, close-knit community.
When asked about her plans for the Live Oak Art Center, Courtney said, “I think LOAC has such an exciting future and I love the direction we are heading. We have an amazing Board of Directors and wonderful members. Fostering the love of art and culture in young people will be a priority for me.”
Courtney plans to host events that appeal to the community as a whole. She brings extensive experience in nonprofits, public relations, and event planning and hopes to use her knowledge 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
Board Member Emeritus
From our guests...
The Live Oak Art Center is an impressive gallery. The works frequently featured at LOAC are the quality you would expect to find at botique galleries in Houston, Dallas, Austin, or another large Texas city. The Center’s frequent programming, from exhibit openings to children’s camps and more, are a major asset to Columbus. I am proud to live in a community with such a great organization and gallery.
Columbus is fortunate to have the Live Oak Art Center. It provides so much to our community, especially an opportunity for kids to be exposed to the arts, to take art classes, and to have their own pieces exhibited. Additionally, we are able to meet artists from all over the state and see their work. Many small rural towns don’t have this kind of resource available. I’m glad we do.
The Live Oak Art Center has a nice selection of art in an interesting setting.
John and Lyn Musgrove
Wonderful local art gallery. They do a great job of bringing a nice variety of exhibitions together…from paintings to photography and ceramics to glass works.
Great art exhibits and classes for adults and kids. It is also a great venue to have your next celebration!
Lots of effort has gone into upgrading and repairing this building to make it an art venue. The adjacent Courtyard Wine Bar is a nice place to relax in the evenings.
I work with adults who have intellectual disabilities and we visited your art center recently. We really enjoyed seeing all the displayed artwork. Thanks to our tour guide for the historical knowledge of the building and its furnishings. My group enjoyed our time there!
2019-2020 Live Oak Art Center Members
- Betty & Todd Hovis
- Marilyn & Roger Wade
- Lori An & Robb Gobert
- First National Bank of Eagle Lake
- Susan Baumgart
- Susan & Gant Glover
- Tom Hancher, MD
- Gaye Koenning & Aaron Joseph
- Deborah & Jon Loessin
- Positive Force Consulting
- Deedee Reiley
- Kay & Mike Story
- Kathleen & Shalor Townzen
- Colleen Walker
- Mary & Terry Sablatura
- Donna & Raymond Bubak
- Marian & Chuck Rankin
- Elrose & Ernest Baumgart