West Texas artist remembered through Abilene art gallery


ABILENE, Texas - After moving to Abilene in 2009, Barry and Judy Arthur opened an art gallery in January of last year.

Sixth months after it opened, Barry died and left Judy in charge of the Barry Arthur Cedar Break Art Gallery in downtown Abilene.

"You know you kind of feel he is here in some ways," Judy said.

Barry Arthur, born in Comanche in 1934, has been known for his western art style since the 1960s. Judy said Barry didn't pick up a brush until he was 36 years old, but his art has been featured in art galleries across the southwest.

(PHOTOS: The Barry Arthur Cedar Break Gallery )

"He never had formal lessons, he just read a lot and studied a lot," Judy said.

She said when Barry was a child he used to whittle objects out of wooden crates from a grocery store. It wasn't until he was prompted to sketch a drawing of Festus, a character from the TV show "Gunsmoke," that he realized he had a future in art. Barry showed it to his son's art teacher, who encouraged him to continue pursuing art.

"I think when he realized it, that it just created something within him that never went away," Judy said. "It just continued to grow and grow his love just became deeper and deeper for art and what he wanted to do."

What hangs on the walls of the art gallery is what is left of Barry's work. Barry passed away June 17 of last year, from what Judy said was a bad heart.

"I thought it was the right thing to do for his honor and for the respect and the love I had for him and for what he can do," she said of maintaining the gallery.

The art gallery is located at 972 North 4th Street.