EL PASO, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Tom Lea Institute and Texas Historical Commission, announce a new era in Texas tourism with the release of the Tom Lea Trail Mobile Tour. It is the first Texas heritage trail in 12 years and the only one named for an artist. Travelers, people at home, and students in a classroom can explore 12 Texas communities and 24 locations with Tom Lea’s art as the guide. Based on the Piero della Francesca Trail that draws millions of visitors to Italy, the Tom Lea Trail encourages people to visit Texas from home or afar.
Lea’s paintings are slices of history representing diverse regions: Apache, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo archetypes in El Paso’s federal courthouse; Cabeza de Vaca’s first recorded surgical operation in North America at UT Medical Branch Galveston; the origins of Western beef cattle at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine; and Comanche warriors in the Seymour Post Office. Traveling the Tom Lea Trail allows behind the scenes experiences that take people to places rarely visited by tourists.
Texas is the first of three states to recognize the Tom Lea Trail and add it to its Texas Time Travel Tours. New Mexico and Chihuahua will follow with mobile tours of their own.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to NATO, hosted a program on the Tom Lea Trail after learning its’ inspiration came from Italy. “I enjoyed having my friend Adair Margo (Chairman of the President’s Committee on the Art and the Humanities under George W. Bush) speak about Tom Lea at Truman Hall, joined by an art history scholar introduced by Italian Ambassador Bisogniero,” said Hutchison. “The Tom Lea Trail is a great way to share Texas. After the event in Brussels, my colleague from Slovenia wanted to visit Hebbronville!”
First Lady Laura Bush said, “Tom Lea’s optimistic words about living on the sunrise side of the mountain and his Rio Grande painting were important to George and me when we lived at the White House. They still are, and we invite visitors to come to Dallas to see the oval office just as it was when George was there.”
The mobile tour includes the annual Tom Lea Celebration that enlivens regional history through events. “We have walking and gallery tours, great music, and special presentations across the state of Texas this year,” said Holly Cobb, Executive Director of the Tom Lea Institute. “We invite travelers, both in the US and Mexico and from overseas, to discover Texas through the art of Tom Lea.”
This year’s Tom Lea Celebration runs from September 2023 through April 2024. For planning purposes, click here to RSVP for celebration events.