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BOW WILLIAMS Automobile and General Insurance Budget Payment Plan Strong Stook Companies CIBeauwood 2-6545 41241 LAMAR, AUSTIN Lot’s Abolish the Poll Text ft Culture in the Hill Country Featherbedding on the railroads pay for work not done or not needed is costing the Amer ican people the shocking total of more than $500,000,000 a year. You pay for it every time you shop, because featherbedding costs are hidden in the price of everything you buy. Obsolete union work rules, involving the rail road operating employees, are responsible for this gigantic burden. Right now, for instance, these rules require every diesel locomotive to carry a fireman even though diesels have no fires to stoke, no boilers to tend. . The forthcoming negotiations between the fail roads and the unions are urgently important to the whole nation. INGRAM Creative Texans, patrons of the acts, and those who like to attend plays and gallery shows will be happy to know that a summer art colony has sprung up on the banks of the Guadalupe River at Ingram. Activities include summer theatre, painting classes conducted by well-known art figures, craft instruction, art displays, and sidelines like boating, fishing, swimming and dining. All this is under the aegis of a Houston-originated group called the Hill Country Arts Foundation, an incorporated, nonprofit organization. The Foundation, which completed its first season last month, picked for its location a ten-anda-half acre tract which slopes gently to the willow-lined Guadalupe. The river is widened by a dam at this point, and a foliagebanked bluff formed a backdrop for the theatre, a wooden openair stage. Canvasbacked chairs rested on terraces cut into the side of the slope. At night, fireflies, bullfrogs, and cool river breezes soothed the outdoor playgoers. However, three weeks ago sudden floods washed away the entire stage. Mrs. Thelma McKelvy of Houston, president of the Foundation and one of the original handful in Houston who provided the brainpower and financial backing, said the flood did not damage the terraces. As for the lost theater, Mrs. McKelvy said, “We are going to build a stone one in the same place.” The center is on the “river road”State Highway 39which winds west from Kerrville through the summer resorts, camps, and private homes along the Guadalupe, an area frequently called the “Houston colony” because of the well-fixed Houstonians who have country places there. Only yards from the highway, the center is its own advertisement with its big rustic sign and towering riverside theatre. As mere recreation the center has already provided an outlet for many who like to fill the idle hours with a bit of painting, craft work, or even play-acting for the theatre has called for volunteers. Naturally, too, there’s lots of backstage work to be done, not to mention building furnishing and maintenance jobs. This summer we saw a pretty high school sophomore tripping around during the day doing backstage chores, and ushering that night … a well-to-do woman who lives on the river sewing curtains for the rest rooms … another lady volunteer varnishing wooden ash tray stands. The theatre’s bill of fare last season provides an idea of the Foundation’s ambitions: “Stalag 17,” “Reluctant Debutante,” “My 3 Angels,” “Gigi,” “Glad Tidings,” and “The Moon Is Blue.” Rehearsals are quickies, lasting ten days, with performances nightly except Mondays and Tuesdays or when it rains. IN ART INSTRUCTION the Foundation scheduled seven sessions this summer, each of them presided over by an established practitioner, who is paid to teach by the Foundation. The line-up read like this: oil painting, Frederic Taubes, lecturer, writer, and artist who contributes to American Artist magazine and whose 25 public collections include one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; portrait-figure-landscape,. George Winston Bode Shackelford, a portrait and mural artist who teaches at the University of Houston; tempera and cornposition, Paul Maxwell, artist; watercolor, Donald Pierce, Art Students League instructor, and painter; oil painting and composition, Eugene Ludins, painting professor at State University of Iowa whose works hang in the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. The wellknown Texas water colorist and Sketch artist, Buck Schiwetz, was booked to teach watercolor and sketching, his wife, Ruby Lee, handspinning of wool, cotton, and mohair, and Don Bolen of Houston, water color. An early step was to secure the services of Bolen as director. Mrs. McKelvy was a student of Bolen’s, a painter and painting teacher who has a background in Midwest summer theatre, has taught theatre at Loyola, and is known in Houston for his water color and set design work. He has worked for the Alley Theatre and the Houston Ballet Foundation. As resident director of the theatre work, the Foundation hired William Hardy, who has been associated for six years with the Alley, working as director, stage manager and actor in over 1000 performances. Hardy has also worked at the Houston Playhouse, Houston Music Theatre, .and has toured abroad in Army repertory. ASPRAWLING frame skating rink has been transformed into office, gallery, and a roomy arts and crafts studio. The walls are hung with paintings all the way around. A building which for years housed the Chic-Inn has been sub-leased to a restaurant couple, Mr. and Mrs. J. K. Looker, who are veterans of resort activity at Idaho Falls, Colorado. They operate the Hill Country Kitchen in the center, serving home-cooked meals and specializing in fried chicken. You eat on a screened porch overlooking the river. “People may think we’ve sprung up overnight,” said attractive Thelma McKelvy, “but we’ve been working on this project since last October, coming out here week-end after weekend. We got started with about $5500 counting lease, equipment, plant and salaries. We pay salaries to Bill Hardy, Don Bolen, and two actors, Charles Armsby and Roland Lee Gast. But you couldn’t estimate the amount of donated work and material that people have put in on this center.” As we surveyed the grounds, Bolen drove up in a jeep loaded with shrubbery. “Hundreds of dollars worth from the nursery,” he said. Then a red-haired theatricaltype lady from out of town arrived and talked in clipped tones to Hardy, who was working on props for a play. “I brought you a knife, dear,” she said. “I’m not so sure it’s an. authentic German knife, but it has a scabbard and everything.” Financing of the whole operation involves memberships, lease from the restaurant, theatre proceeds, and instruction fees. On the basis of influence, support, and financial contribution, members of an advisory board have been selected. The board includes such names as Mrs. Ria Gable, a former wife of Clark Gable and a Houston-Hill Country resident; Cecil Casebier, the noted Sari Antonio artist; Beaumont little theatre pioneer Mrs. Julius Gordon; Judge Wilmer Hunt of Houston; Mrs. Jack Howerton, wife of the Cuero Record publisher; Dallas State Fair Musicals’ Charles Meeker; artist Buck Schiwetz; the Alley Theatre’s Nina Vance. IN GENERAL recruiting looks promising for the Foundation: interest in the arts is rising in Texas, and Foundation officials state that their operation at Ingram in the only summer art colony of its scope in Texas. Art colonies being the yeasty things they are, it remains to be seen how successful the Hill Country Arts Foundation will be, but they are proceeding in a professional manner. Arts Foundation Plans ’60 Events HOUSTON Three New York artists, Frederick Taubes, Donald Pierce, and Eugene Ludins, will teach painting again during the Hill Country Arts Foundation’s second season next June through Labor Day, Mrs. Thelma McKelvy, president, said. In addition, Mrs. Ludins will teach sculpture. Attendance at the plays totaled about 6,000 last summer, Mrs. McKelvy said. There were also three concerts, by a string quartet from the Houston Symphony, pianist Miriam Wagner of Sari. Antonio, and soprano Nancy Blackburn of Houston, which Mrs. McKelvy said were the most successful endeavors financially the first season. Mrs. McKelvy said she hopes drama students from the University of Texas take more interest next season. She hoped, also, that the membership of the Foundation might be expanded, explaining, “That is the way we exist.” She said that a group in the Hill Country are preparing to buy the enterprise from its present owners. RAILROAD FEATHERBEDDING: In asking the unions to drop these featherbedding rules, all the railroads ask for is a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. $500,000,000 LOSS TO THE NATION INCLUDING YOU-EVERY YEAR AMERICAN RAI LROADS THE, TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 October 23, 1959