Beautifying Railroad Park Gardens

Alpine artists Kathleen Griffith, Nancy Whitlock, and Susan Curry pose next to a ceramic tile wall art display at Railroad Park in Alpine.

For Kathleen Griffith, an Alpine tile and mosaic artist, contributing to the beautification of Railroad Park by having the community demonstrate its creativity is something she is eager to pursue.

Griffith, along with fellow artists Nancy Whitlock and Susan Curry, will share their expertise at a ceramic tile painting workshop on Saturday, March 21 at the Alpine Public Library for the Railroad Park Art Wall Project. Griffith studied the art of tile painting in San Antonio, oil painting in Corpus Christi, and recently has been taking ceramics and oil painting classes at Sul Ross State University. Griffith has also exhibited some of her mosaic work at Chinati Hot Springs near Presidio.

“We have a ranch out there, so I am known in that area as the mosaic sign lady,” said Griffith. “I have a tile sign out there that’s been in the western sun for 15 years, and it looks like the day I put it up!”

Griffith also contributed to a large skull mosaic, “Night Spirit,” for the art project in Alpine located in the alley between 5th and 6th streets behind Judy’s Bread and Breakfast. Participants, both individuals and businesses, can have tiles on display with designs of their choice. The tiles will be installed at the Art Wall located at the corner of Holland Avenue and 5th Street. All proceeds from the workshop will go directly to maintain and beautify Railroad Park.

The center of Railroad Park features a cement pour in the shape of Texas, and even includes all the major rivers. In 2017, the early structure of the park needed repair, and Gerald Vincent Scott and Hiram Sibley were instrumental in implementing the structure design. Later, a group of gardeners and visionaries decided to breathe new life into the old park with native plants.

Today, Railroad Park Gardens boasts winding paths that connect shade structures, benches, and memorials, with a caboose as a backdrop.

Griffith, a Big Bend Arts Council member who has exhibited her work at Terlingua’s Earth and Fire Gallery and Alpine’s Clay Works, has been painting tiles for 40 years.

She said, “Someone can have their own tile up on the wall, and years from now their kids will go and say, ‘Oh, that’s mom’s tile!’ So it’s a way to raise the community to have some of their ideas and their art on the wall.”

The wall will also incorporate decorative drawings of flowers, butterflies, and animals, and participants can pick a color and demonstrate their creativity with their chosen design.

“Our goal is to have the community involved, and we have more plans to attract children to the park. It’s very positive, because I think there are a lot of people who have an artistic side,” said Griffith. “This is a way for them to say, ‘This is a design that I did, and I am contributing.’ The tiles will be there a thousand years from now - ceramics last forever.”

For more information, call Kathleen Griffith at 210-313-6189.

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