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Benini Art Gallery, Texas Road Trip

Updated on December 3, 2015
Silva Hayes profile image

Silva has a background as a technical writer and in addition to how-to articles she writes about cooking, travel, and personal experiences.

Fabulous free indoor/outdoor art museum near Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Open Wednesday through Sunday, from noon - 6pm.

Mother and Father Guardians
Mother and Father Guardians
Purple man sculpture
Purple man sculpture
fascinating wall sculpture and figure "I could have danced all night"
fascinating wall sculpture and figure "I could have danced all night"
outdoor flying sculpture
outdoor flying sculpture
eternal motion sculpture
eternal motion sculpture

Picture 140 acres of rolling Hill County, lovely vistas, and huge contemporary outdoor sculptures positioned on either side of the road for your leisurely viewing from your car! The sculptures are installed on concrete pads and must have required cranes to move them. One of my favorites is a gigantic mosaic head made from thousands of tiny pieces of mirror tile.

The Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch features large outdoor sculptures by many artists. Indoors in the gallery are more art works, including 40 years of Benini's own work. It's all wonderful, and it's hard to pick a favorite, but the Mother and Father Guardians (the first picture) bring tears to my eyes.

Some of the sculptures are kinetic dichroic glass so perfectly balanced that they move continuously, even if there is no breeze. Many paintings, many massive sculptures, a butterfly garden, and a wondrous spring-fed pool to look at.

It is truly a magical place for children and adults.

One of the great things about the ranch (besides the works of art) is that the gallery itself is air conditioned, and the outdoor sculptures can be viewed from your air conditioned car. Miles of road loop around the ranch and the sculptures are installed on both sides of the road. You can stop, roll down your window, and take pictures. A great road trip any time of year, especially summer in Texas!

From Austin, take Hwy. 290 west to Johnson City, then watch for the metal Longhorn sculpture (pictured above); turn left at the Longhorn and follow the signs to the sculpture ranch. It's less than 50 miles from Austin. Do not use your GPS; it doesn't work correctly to get there. There is a map on their web site. From San Antonio, take Hwy. 281 north. Address: 377 Shiloh Rd., Johnson City, Texas 78636

This is truly isolated ranch country. So quiet, so peaceful. Rolling distant blue hills, cattle grazing, cactus, big sky ... it is so good to get away from the hectic city life, if only for an afternoon. And while it feels isolated and removed, it is still so close to Austin or San Antonio that it can easily be visited in one afternoon.

We discovered this wonderful place by accident. We had been elsewhere for the weekend with our little granddaughters. Coming home, we passed the metal longhorn sculpture and I turned around and went back so that we could take a picture. There was a little sign on the fence nearby that said a sculpture museum was nearby. We took a chance and drove down these little unpaved country roads and were just amazed at where they led. Visit the Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch when you can, and come back here and comment. You will be surprised at the museum quality art and the picturesque location.

This Texas road trip to the Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch in the Hill Country is pure pleasure.

Admission is free.

Yes, unbelievable; this massive indoor and outdoor museum and gallery is just sitting there on a wonderful picturesque ranch, offering a cultural experience worthy of a cosmopolitan U.S. or European city, and admission is absolutely free.

Scroll all the way to the bottom of this article for "UPDATES." I will post new information when I hear about it.

Important: Be sure and check their web site first before you go.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see fabulous indoor/outdoor art near Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Beginning September 2015 they are open Wednesday through Sunday, from noon - 6pm. If you have any questions please call them at (830) 868-5244 or email

Benini: New Masterworks, the IMAS exhibition and Benini's 163rd one man show, continued through January 20, 2013. The overview written by Executive Director Joe Bravo is here (link). The International Museum of Art and Science in McAllen, Texas is a Smithsonian Affiliate and fully accredited by the American Association of Museums with more than 50,000 sq.ft. of exhibition space. The Benini exhibition featured the recent abstract paintings from the Courting Kaos and Face of God series. A PBS interview with Benini and Bravo will be posted on the Benini website. Contact IMAS for exhibition information, 956-682-0123.


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