Greenville has become a center for diverse cultural offerings for the North East Texas area. From a vibrant public art program, to a variety of performance spaces, Greenville is a cornerstone for both visual art and entertainment.
Entertainment As far back as the 1800's Greenville was home to multiple opera houses which brought a bit of culture to an otherwise rowdy cotton boom town. Today, Greenville's lively downtown area boasts many performance spaces, from the classic 1939 Greenville Municipal Auditorium to the lovingly restored Texan Theater and many smaller venues in between.
The Greenville Municipal Auditorium, or GMA as locals call it, has long been the cultural cornerstone of Greenville and the surrounding area. During its almost 80 year history, its stage has seen stars like Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, Elvis, Van Cliburn, and Loretta Lynn. Today, the GMA still brings in Country superstars like Charlie Pride, Travis Tritt, and Merle Haggard. Through unique presenting partners, many more concerts are brought to Greenville. The Kenneth Threadgill Concert presents Series up and coming talent as well as A-List entertainment like Tanya Tucker, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Asleep at the Wheel. The Greenville Entertainment Series brings a variety of performances that appeal to a diverse range of entertainment interests including pop, classical, and big band genres. And Greenville is one of the only places outside of Dallas where The Dallas Symphony performs a regular series of concerts.
Greenville's historic Texan Theater recently got a new lease on life with a multi-million dollar makeover that has turned it into an entertainment showcase. This intimate 118 seat venue makes everyone feel like a VIP as your ticket price includes a show, 4-course meal, and gratuities. And since drinks and parking are free, it makes for quite an evening out on the town. Since re-opening in 2014, The Texan has hosted the likes of The Fifth Dimension, Shirley Jones, and Barbara Eden.
Other downtown venues where you can catch live entertainment or even and Open Mic Night include Landon Winery & Bistro, The Corner Street Pub, The Stonewall Music Hall, and The Blue Mesquite Grill. Most of these serve food and a variety of adult beverages to make for a great night of Downtown venue hopping.
Recently, Greenville and Hunt County embarked on creating a diverse public art program. Today, two brilliantly bold murals grace the walls of downtown buildings. Completed in 2014, Spectrum, by Cathy Smithey, located at the corner of Washington and St. John streets combines bold colors and metal back-lit sculptures to create a nod to Greenville's history. It was joined in 2015 by High Cotton, by Pamela Edwards. It's design was inspired by the history of Hunt County, including the millions of years this area spent under salt water, its Native American heritage, and cotton-farming background.
Two more projects are planned for 2016. The first is Be Seen, by Brian Weaver, will be an attention-getting sculpture designed to let people photograph themselves within the fun artwork using a double-sided design. The second isFind Your Match, by Bob Bird, and will be painted on the Herald'Banner's cinder-block wall at 2305 King Street. This artwork uses a careful selection of colors that lets viewers play a matching game. Each individually mixed color will be applied to only two squares, letting you try and find the pair when you look at it.
If creating art is more your style, then you are in luck as Greenville offers multiple opportunities to bring out your inner artist. Painting with a Twist on I-30 near Splash Kingdom Water Park or Downtown Art Party located on Stonewall Street just south of the Courthouse Square both provide artistic nights out with friends. And opening later this year,The Whistlestop Studios located in the old Katy Train Depot on Lee Street will feature artist studio space as well as weekend learning opportunities for budding artists.