The Chicken Farm Art Center

Real Estate Agent with Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate 0396717

Chicken Farm Art Center

Chicken Farm? Art Center? Yeah I know but remember this is Texas and hear me out. Though I usually write about The Good Life In Austin Texas, there are many places, events and attractions near our city that are NOT TO BE MISSED. A little over three hours drive north west from Austin near the heart of Texas lies the community of San Angelo, Texas. Some interesting tidbits about the town include: the largest city under 100,000 population NOT located on an Interstate Highway, being my home town (38 years ago), location of historical Fort Concho and a surprisingly robust art community that includes the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts and the Chicken Farm Art Center. To give you an idea of just how relevant the art community is in San Angelo, I have attended exhibits there that were available in limited release. I know this must sound strange but here is an example, a recent show was only offered for preview in New York, San Francisco and...San Angelo?!?

Roger AllenThe Chicken Farm Art Center is the brainchild of one of my closest friends and teachers; sculptor, potter, and multi talented Artist Roger Allen. After teaching art for a few years in the 1970's (yeah I know it's dating us but history is important) Roger found an abandoned Chicken Farm  and processing plant on the north side of San Angelo consisting of 8 buildings on 3 acres of land that was perfect, well at least cheap enough to move and expand his art studio and establish a compound where artists in all media could live and work. I know what you are thinking, an artist's compound in the middle of West Texas? But for some wonderfully weird and creative reasons, San Angelo was indeed the perfect place for such an idea to take hold and flourish!

The Chicken Farm Art Center has now grown to be one of West Texas’ premier attractions and is home to two galleries, 15 studios, Jerry & Susan Warnell's bed-and-breakfast and Silo House restaurant (literally built in a space that was formerly 2 grain silos) that offers a five course meal of fine dining with a casual ambiance. Roger Allen & Pam Bladine now oversee The Starkeeper Gallery and studio featuring Roger's ceramics and there are also 18 resident artists (Chicken Farmers) working in all sorts of disciplines including painting, photography, copper wall sculptures, stone sculptures, mosaics, batiks, glass, fiber art work and creative and vintage clothing. Please don't confuse this with craft fairs or similar ilk as these are true artists creating some of the finest work you can find!

Chicken Farm Art Center Open HouseBeginning today, The Chicken Farm Art Center will hold their annual open house for the three days after Thanksgiving and celebrating their 40th Anniversary! People from all over the country will be attending this event that features all of the artists in residence as well as numerous visiting artists who will be displaying  their work, as well as hold workshops in many artistic disciplines.  Also on tap with be a continuous series of music featuring 18 separate bands and a daily gathering of the Chicken Farm Pickers from 9:30-4:00 each day.  This will be an excellent time to shop for the holidays in a completely different atmosphere from the insanity of malls or the sterile nature of online shopping. If you have even glanced at a TV lately, you have heard of supporting local small businesses this holiday season so this is your chance! Though I no longer live in San Angelo, I always stop and (usually stay with Roger) when I am in San Angelo and I am always pleasantly surprised at the incredible hub of creative activity that is going on at the Chicken Farm Art Center. Do yourself a favor if you are in the area (at any time of the year) or even within a few hours' drive and make the trip. I guarantee it will be well worth it!

This post is also in rememberance of Roger's oldest friend, fellow Artist and Teacher Jim Henderson.

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Russell Lewis Luxury Real Estate Broker Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 


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Comments (66)


Hi Russell, dropped by to see what was new and I love this post! What a magical place and I can certainly see why you and Roger are such good friends! I will have to stop by there next time I am passing through San Angelo!

Nov 30, 2010 06:57 AM

Hi Russell, dropped by to see what was new and I love this post! What a magical place and I can certainly see why you and Roger are such good friends! I will have to stop by there next time I am passing through San Angelo!

Nov 30, 2010 06:57 AM
Bobby Hondula

Now Russell, that's some cool stuff out in West Texas!

Dec 01, 2010 01:47 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Laura It's an oasis out there and I hope you were able to follow the links, turns out that the web site had so many hits that it was down for a short while. Very cool place and indeed worth a visit!

Michelle It's easy to find and only a couple of blocks off Hwy. 87 on the North side of of San Angelo!

Bobby Good to see you here and i am looking forward to our trip out west this weekend!

Dec 02, 2010 02:01 AM
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Russell, well, I was a little confused at first about The Chicken Farm Art Center because of the name, but I would love to stop in and see this.  I can only imagine the creative energy inside.  The photos of the pottery are beautiful, you made an excellent choice for your coffe mug, Russell.  We have many resident artists here, one is giving pottery classes which I always wanted to learn - maybe someday I can post a photo of my new coffee mug, too! :-)

Dec 03, 2010 02:48 AM

I had no idea that there were that many resident artists involved.  Roger is the epitome of a vision becoming reality!

Great post Russell.

Dec 03, 2010 05:13 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Roger, great post and if I am ever in Texas I would not miss visiting the Chicken Farm Art much to do and see.

Dec 06, 2010 03:21 AM
Pat Haddad, ABR, CRS, ePRO, GRI
Keller Williams Indianapolis Metro NE - Carmel, IN
Carmel, Fishers, Westfield IN Real Estate Expert

Russell--I have added the Chicken Farm Art Center to my list of places before I die.  What a really, really neat place and how lucky you are to be friends with everyone.  I love my handmade coffee mug that I have been using at least 20 years---but still looks like new.  The one you selected is very nice too---oversized.  You always have the neatest topics for your posts.  Thanks for another great one!!

Dec 06, 2010 03:22 PM
Allysoun Musslewhite
AvenueOne Properties, Inc. - Austin, TX

Hi Russell, Just dropped by to remind you that I would just LOVE a cool coffee mug from Rogers for Christmas  ;-)

Dec 07, 2010 10:58 AM
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Russell  Looks like this is where all your many fams cone to wish you a Merry Christmas - that's why I'm here

Dec 07, 2010 10:00 PM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

I can’t believe the Chicken Farm Art Center is still there after all these years. I went back in 1975 for the first time when Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (APO) had a sectional convention at Angelo State University. Then I went again a few times throughout the 1980s whenever I was over at Angelo State with APO.

Dec 07, 2010 11:49 PM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

The next time I am near San Angelo, I will check out the Chicken Farm Art Center. Sounds like my kind of place!

Dec 08, 2010 05:38 AM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Hi Mary! The name is a bit confusing but that is what makes it fun and a bit surreal at the same time! Roger was a huge influence on me in so many positive way and is one of my best friends to this day. His energy is shared by the numerous creative types who have been drawn to the community! You SHOULD take a pottery class, it's incredibly fun and therapeutic too!

Rell  You nailed it, Roger's creativity and energy is really the catalyst for drawing all these people together in a community that nurtures art in many different ways! Not something you would expect in West Texas!

Rebecca It's always worth a stop when passing through the heart of Texas!

Pat What a great way of looking at this place! And if you ever get the chance to visit...plan on staying awhile, there are so many coffee cups and other artistic items from which to choose! Thanks again for the kudos!

Dec 08, 2010 06:28 AM

I remember when the Chicken Farm Art Center was first opened in the 1970's and it's really evolved over the years. It's brought new life and energy time to a part of Angelo that was somewhat ignored. That might me be the reason the real estate was so reasonable and allowed Roger and all the others who pioneered the area to build something unique and timeless.

I have not been there in many years but I am glad to see the Chicken Farm has prospered. Next time I am in the area I will make it a point to visit again! Good story here Russell, I will check back for more tales in the future!

Dec 08, 2010 09:05 AM
Linda Bourgault
lulugraphix-creative photography & fine art - Flower Mound, TX

Hi Russell—It's been a very long time since I've visited West Texas... San Angelo is now on my 2011 Road Trip list. The Chicken Art Farm Art Center sounds like my kind of place. I've recenty moved to the Design District in Dallas and living in the midst of art heaven... at least for me! I always enjoy visiting places large and small which find ways to support and promote the arts in their communities... The CAFAC is an excelent example.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday and very bright 2011!



Dec 08, 2010 09:40 PM
Pippa Mac
Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring - The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands TX Real Estate

Russell .. just was in Austin for Thanksgiving (had nacho's at a sports bar on 6th street before the Texas / A&M game) ... Anyways just checking in with my super, duper, most favorite AR person in the whole entire world!!!!!!!!!!!  pippa

Dec 13, 2010 03:45 PM

Russell, I found this on the first page of Google, when I was looking for some info on the Chicken Farm. Very good article my friend, I should be down in Austin soon and will look you and your brother up. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!


Dec 16, 2010 09:36 AM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Russell - I'm relatively certain that if you could get away with it and still sell houses, you would have the same hair and beard style as the guy in the photo.  :)  

Dec 17, 2010 04:30 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

LOL @ Jason, you could!  All kidding aside, what a good friend to show you how to make money from your energy!

Dec 20, 2010 01:57 AM
Scott Harvey
Austin, TX

Russell, I am with Ally, if you go back anytime soon, I would really enjoy one of those LARGE coffee cups!

Dec 20, 2010 08:17 AM