From the house on top of the hill, a big-sky view spills over rolling terrain. Decades ago LBJ spent evenings behind his huntin' trailer here, miles from any town, watching a brilliant sun melt into inky horizon.
Today the ranch of 140+ acres holds 110 bigger-than-life contemporary sculptures plus a gallery of work by internationally acclaimed artist Benini, whose paintings draw the mind to depth.
Benini and his wife Lorraine, a writer and photographer, settled into the house about ten years ago, installing their private sculpture collection on the hill and down to the gallery.
"On the Upside Down" by Ho Baron
As word spread, art-lovers asked to view and artists asked to show. Rules were established: Contemporary works 10 feet tall or more and able to withstand Texas Hill Country winds, 60 mph.
"Aspiration and Determination" by Loren Impson
The exhibition grew.
So did demand to view, until the Benini Sculpture Ranch became a destination, open free to the public Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sign in at the gallery and walk or drive the mile-and-a-half trail.
360 degree access to art in a range of vision and style. Representational and abstract, kinetic, interactive, stone, fiber, concrete, metal, wood.
"The Bat" by Steven Harris
Some pieces feel as if they've grown into the landscape. Bird nests now poke from this chrome, iron and stainless steer's belly.
Sculptor Bettye Hamblen Turner faces her creation, "Palladin". Photo courtesy of Lorraine Bennini.
The Benini Sculpture Ranch is a drive from most anywhere. That's OK, the countryside is pretty. And the destination is worth it: Art you love, maybe some you don't but you get a bonus of thinking and feeling.
"Diana" by Scott Sustek
The Benini's have hosted the public for years now. They're ready to return to a more contemplative life.
The gates will close for good Labor Day Weekend.
Don't wait for the end. Life is short, go now.
The Benini Sculpture Ranch
377 Shiloh Road
Johnson City, Texas 78636
And give Lorraine and Benini our best.
Copyright 2009-2012 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.