Brownsville art exhibit featuring history of influential Texas ranches and vaquero origins

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The Milliken Garza Gallery’s latest exhibit features a detailed look at the deep intertwinement between Texas’ most historic ranches and the city of Brownsville.  

“Brownsville’s Connection to King Ranch” is the name of the new exhibit house at the Milliken Garza Gallery, appropriately located in downtown Brownsville where parts of the story timeline take place.  

Through artwork, photography, and western artifacts, the gallery dives deep into the story of Texas’ largest and most historic ranches, the lives of the people who started them, and their connections to the border town, as well as reflections on the modern-day cowboy’s origins as a Vaquero in south Texas.  

The story begins in the mid-1800s at the time of the Mexican American War when Captain Richard King and Captain Mifflin Kenedy, who would eventually purchase large tracts of land and turn them into ranches, came down to south Texas and runs through to the end of the Civil War.  

Gallery Director, Dr. Diane Garza says the inspiration for the exhibit came from learning that Henrietta King’s father was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Brownsville. In trying to research more about the story, Dr. Garza said it was difficult to find information about the families during the 30 years that they were in Brownsville.  

“I knew [Henrietta and Richard King] met here, but that’s all I knew,” said Dr. Garza. “It’s amazing that it’s really not written about.” 

Dr. Garza read books and searched through the King Ranch archives to find photographs and tell the unvisited history of some of Texas’ most influential families and their connection to Brownsville.  

Many of the artifacts collected for the exhibit come from the ranches and tell the tale of the early Vaqueros that inspired the modern-day Texas Cowboy.  

“Our history is the culture, the main culture of our state. The idea of a cowboy, the idea of ranching, the idea of horse and cattle, rope tricks and rodeos, all of the stuff that goes with it… It started here, it started in Brownsville, Texas and it’s a phenomenal thing when you think of that,” said Dr. Garza.  

The artwork featured in the exhibit was made by regional artists and photographers and is for sale.  

The gallery is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the exhibit will be shown until January 10. The gallery is located at 1009 E. Adams Street in Brownsville, for more information you can call 956-572-0304. 

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