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Jay Hester

A Heritage in Bronze Holds The Heart of The Woodlands

One of the most interesting sculptural collections we are fortunate to have in our community was created by Boerne artist Jay Hester. The sculptures of George Mitchell and Cynthia Woods-Mitchell, with their family, are prominently positioned in the original heart of The Woodlands. These important pieces of public art pay homage to the founders of The Woodlands, The Pavilion, and the accomplished vision which followed.

The first sculpture Hester created of George Mitchell was commissioned by his family as a surprise, the 3D hand-built clay renderings of Mr Mitchell had to be created from provided photographs. “Several family members came to my studio in Boerne to discuss the project with Jay and the boys, his grandsons, sat for him during the process. The life size sculpture was to depict Mr Mitchell explaining to these young boys his vision in developing The Woodlands community”, Jays wife Judy explained. “The sculpture which was initially made from clay before being cast in bronze, took about one year to create from start to installation, in 1997”.

Hester was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1940 and grew up in Birmingham. His professional art career began when he was employed as an illustrator for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Georgia, working on renderings of the C5 in a high security environment. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, Hester worked as a commercial artist for many years before he made the decision to paint and sculpt full time!  With a passion for Western Art, his unlimited expertise extends to a broad range of subjects, including wildlife, landscape and Native American studies.  Hester continues his practice of painting and sculpting to this day and his work can be seen in many locations throughout Texas. Sculptures, original paintings and prints are available on his website – jhestergallery.net.

Following the success of the first sculpture, a second commission followed, and a tribute to Pavilion founder, Cynthia Woods-Mitchell, was installed in 2001, it was a Mother’s Day gift from her husband, the plaque reads “In recognition of her love for children and passion for the arts”.  The sculpture, also bronze, is a figurative grouping, depicting Cynthia Woods-Mitchell reading to a group of three children. The piece represents her reading to the inner-city children which was something she did regularly.

Later, in 2007, a large, monumental, heroic size bronze of George Mitchell was unveiled, standing with his arm raised and a smile on his face, this gesture symbolizing “the vision of what has taken place in the area, with a smile of satisfaction” Jay Hester tells me.

Jay Hester's passion for art has been a lifelong vocation, he sums it up beautifully in these words – 

“To absorb the essence of life and the inspiration of the world around me is my commitment to life itself. Being fortunate enough to have the ability to express this love of life in a unique way has led me to pursue creative forms of expression…. both in clay and on canvas. My goal in life is to give this generation and the generations to come what is often held captive in the mind’s eye and lost forever. I search for the essence of the subject.  My hope is that when people view my work, they will discover the infinite beauty of the world around them.”

“To absorb the essence of life and the inspiration of the world around me is my commitment to life itself." - Jay Hester's passion 

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