Texas State Parks

Arts in the Parks - header image

unflower Rabbit by Yolanda C., 15, Big Bend Ranch State Park


Artists have always drawn inspiration from nature. Think of Ansel Adams’s photos, Henry David Thoreau’s essays, Aaron Copland’s music or Walt Whitman’s poetry.

You, too, can be inspired by nature.

Take a photograph, paint a scene, craft a haiku or poem, film a tribute, or compose a song based on your experience at a state park.

Get outside, use your imagination, and create!

Download a 2016 Calendar, featuring winning entries from the 2015 Get To Know Contest.


Sunflower Rabbit by Yolanda C., 15, Big Bend Ranch State Park, First Place


For the Kids:  Youth Arts Contest (May 1-Nov. 1)

Prickly Cactus at Sunset by Joel P, 7, Lake Somerville State Park

Kids 19 and younger can enter the “Get to Know” Texas State Parks Youth Arts Contest! The contest has five categories, each with its own rules and prizes. You can enter as many cate­gories as you want.

First, visit a state park! Create an original work of art, writing, pho­tog­raphy, video or music inspired by what you see there.  

Next, submit your work on Get to Know's contest page. Look for instructions on the left side of the page under “Easy Steps to Enter.” Be sure to tag your entry with the name of the park that inspired it. Your entry will appear in the Texas State Parks Gallery.

Prizes in the national “Get to Know” contest include digital and underwater cameras, camcorders, art supplies, binoculars, fishing rods, writing supplies and more. Texas State Parks will award Junior Ranger daypacks, caps and water bottles!


Prickly Cactus at Sunset by Joel P, 7, Lake Somerville State Park, Third Place


 “There's a simplistic beauty about being outside. Crashing through the forests. Sloshing through the streams. Sleeping under the dazzling stars that unfailingly make you ponder the meaning of life. It's moments like these where we feel truly connected to nature.”
True Beauty, by Natalie D., age 17, Lost Maples State Natural Area


Visit a Park:  Art Events

Palo Duro Canyon by Champ T, 13

From kids’ ac­ti­vi­ties to pho­tog­ra­phy work­shops, you can find an art event that interests you at a nearby state park!

Visit our Arts & Crafts Events page or our Photography Events page to find a program near you.

Learn more about the genesis of the Arts in the Parks program.


 Palo Duro Canyon by Champ T, 13, Second Place


How to Start:  Ideas

For kids:

For all:

Other arts organizations and information:



    Fun on the Lake.jpg
    Fun on the Lake by Belyn S, age 7, Daingerfield State Park
    Dino Prints.jpg
    Dino Prints by Colten K, age 7, Dinosaur Valley State Park
    The Tree Frog.jpg
    The Tree Frog by Anthi C, age 7
    Lizard at PDC.jpg
    Lizard at Palo Duro Canyon by Audrey H, age 17, Palo Duro Canyon State Park
    Locust on a Tree.jpg
    Locust on a Tree, Kayla H, Age 13, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

    Circle by Jack F, age 14, Mineral Wells State Park

    Puffy Goldfinch.jpg
    Puffy Goldfinch by Gabriela G, Age 7, Falcon State Park
    Little Blue Bird.jpg
    Little Blue Bird by David L, age 5, Dinosaur Valley State Park

    These are samples of the 2015 contest entries.

    See a special collection of high school students' artwork inspired by Big Bend Ranch State Park.

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