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story.lead_photo.caption A sculpture by George Tobolowsky stands in the ArtSpark next to the Regional Arts Center in downtown Texarkana. Tobolowsky will work with local artists on "Bending the Rules III: George Tobolowsky & Friends Public Art Exhibit." Photo by Kelsi Brinkmeyer / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA— A new found-art sculptural project is in the works, courtesy of a Texas-side state grant that makes new public art out of something old but dear to Texarkana.

The art exhibit will feature work spearheaded by Texas-based artist George Tobolowsky, whose sculptural concoctions already appear across Texarkana at various locations.

For the project, Tobolowsky and local artists will work together on art using materials salvaged from the Hotel Grim, which is currently undergoing vast renovations.

The $56,000 Texas Cultural Project grant comes from the Texas Commission on the Arts. It focuses on the Courthouse Square Connections Project for the Texarkana Arts and Historic District downtown.

The project is titled "Bending the Rules III: George Tobolowsky & Friends Public Art Exhibit."

"He uses salvaged materials, mainly metals, and welds them together this will be very specific and special to Texarkana. Many of these pieces will be coming from Hotel Grim as we are doing renovations on it now," said Texarkana, Texas Planner II Keith Beason, noting Tobolowsky often uses the shape of these metal pieces to create the composition of the new work.

Beason said that examples of steel structures that may be salvaged from the Grim could include boilers and elevator wheels.

"He will be working with local artists," Beason said. That's still in the works as to how this aspect plays out, as is the timeline for getting started and sculpture locations. "I know that there will be a call for those that are interested to work with him."

This will be an art exhibit of its own, Beason said, so they want local artists to work with Tobolowsky and "give us our own regional flavor."

The art and historic district downtown is situated on both sides of Texarkana.

"We work with Main Street Texarkana, as well, which also works on both sides as partners. They work alongside the Arts and Historic District," Beason said.

Tobolowsky's art was shown at the Regional Arts Center downtown in 2013, and his sculpture at Spring Lake Park was purchased using funds raised by Local nonprofit Friends of Texarkana Parks.

Several other sculptures by the artist have been exhibited locally for a couple of years, and one at the Texas-side city hall (called "Mapping the Mountain") was also purchased with grant funds. In 2018, the Arts and Historic District held a scavenger hunt connected to his sculptures here in Texarkana. It was titled "Bending the Rules II: George Tobolowsky Outdoor Sculptures Interactive Scavenger Hunt."

In addition to the Tobolowsky project, two other projects will gain funding via the grant:

Over the Street Wayfinding Banner System. This project will promote tourism north of the U.S. Federal Courthouse and Post Office and draw people into the Arts and Historic District;

Texarkana Museums System Arts and Historic District Visitor Center. This signage will direct visitors from the U.S. Federal Courthouse and Post Office to the Arts and Historic District Visitor Center located inside the Museum of Regional History.

"It will be heavily art focused and intended to draw people that are interested in our Arts and Historic District," Beason said.

(For more information, contact Keith Beason at [email protected] or 903-798-3901, or visit visittexarkanadistrict.com.)

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