Established in 1870 as part of the railroad route traversing through East Texas, Longview enjoys a long and prosperous history, and is considered a major hub city within the region. There are many historical buildings and landmarks to be found within the city limits, and Longview’s enduring presence has given rise to a thriving arts scene – one that continues to draw a multitude of artists and tourists to the city each year.
Aside from the host of annual festivals dedicated to art and culture, Longview is also home to many art establishments that offer wonderful experiences year-round. Whether you are hunting for souvenirs, looking for a swanky night-out, or seeking an artistic experience to satisfy your inner connoisseur, we have compiled this list of five fine-arts and performing-arts establishments that showcase Longview’s dynamic arts scene.
Use the list below to add some color and culture to your RV trip when you’re coming through East Texas:
Longview Ballet Theatre by Pat George Mitchell
The Longview Ballet Theatre was established by local ballet instructor and choreographer, Pat George Mitchell, who now serves as the artistic director. The theatre gives ballet performances at several locations around the city, mostly at Letourneau University’s Belcher Center. Arrangements can also be made for performances at the local Pinecrest Country Club. Past productions include ballet renditions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Visit their website for more information about events, location and ticket prices.
Theatre Longview & Improve Comedy by Duck. Duck. Moose!
Theatre Longview started in 2011, when a group of theatre enthusiasts decided that they wanted to bring live theatre to the residents of Longview. Since then, the theatre has offered around two to four stage productions every year – an impressive feat considering its size. Some more well-known productions include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Steel Magnolias, and the Importance of Being Earnest. Tickets can be purchased on their website, and are usually around $15 dollars for adults, although this may fluctuate according to whether the production is tied to a fundraising event or another special occasion. Children under the age of six enjoy free admission, and patrons are eligible for discounts on ticket prices as well.
The theatre also supports their own improv comedy group called Duck. Duck. Moose! They are currently the only improv comedy group in Longview, and events are usually announced on their Facebook page.
Here is a quick map of directions from Antique Capital RV park, which is just down the road.
The Longview Symphony has been providing live orchestral performances for the city of Longview since 1968. Originally composed of a few conservatory-trained musicians, it has since grown to consist entirely of professional musicians from the greater East Texas area. Maestro Jerry Steichen has served as the music director and conductor of the Longview Symphony Orchestra since 2018, a position he took up after a decade as the music and artistic director for the now-disbanded Opera East Texas.
Not limited to classical music, the orchestra also performs different genres of music to cater to the tastes of an increasingly dynamic audience. Their latest performance, slated for April of 2021, will feature music and composition from the beloved Harry Potter series. Tickets range from $20 – $50, depending on the seats, with additional discounts available for parties larger than ten, students and children under the age of 12.
The Symphony is also just around ~20 minutes drive from our park.
Longview Museum of Fine Arts
For connoisseurs of fine art, Longview has its own Museum of Fine Arts, located on Tyler St.
Like so many art establishments of its kind, the museum had humble beginnings in 1959, when members of the Junior Service League held the museum’s first yearly Invitational Exhibit. A museum charter was issued in 1970, and the museum moved to its present location in 1997. The Judge J. T. Smith Sculpture Garden located on the corner of Tyler and Fredonia was donated by Ann Lowman in 2005, and also belongs to the museum.
The permanent collection, which consists of over 700 paintings, etchings, woodcuts, photographs, works on paper, lithographs, serigraphs, collages and pieces of sculpture, is on display in the Wrather Gallery by rotation throughout the year. Two other galleries – the Martin-Stoudt and Barrow-Cave Galleries – adjoin the main Wrather Gallery, and exhibit travelling or temporary exhibits. Information on these special exhibits can be found on the museum’s website, and admissions are only $5 for guests.
ArtWalk @ ARTS!Longview Cultural District
The ARTS!Longview Cultural District is 320 acres of businesses that exhibit and sell art in downtown and midtown Longview. ArtWalk is a cooperative effort by these businesses to promote art for the benefit of the community and tourists from out-of-town. Originally a downtown event, its growing popularity has prompted expansion into midtown. The event even features musicians and other performance artists, and food trucks also visit the area to feed the hungry crowds.