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:



    Frog Life Cycle.jpg
    Life Cycle of a Frog by Emily V., age 10, Hill Country State Natural Area.
    Cactus Flower.jpg
    Cactus Flower by Thomas B., age 14, Caprock Canyons State Park.
    Reptile Eye.jpg
    Reptile Eye by Leah M., age 14, Brazos Bend State Park.
    The Lighthouse.jpg
    The Lighthouse by Evan R., age 6, Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
    TSP's blue skies.jpg
    Texas State Park's blue skies by Dalton M., age 11, Tyler State Park.
    Bobcat at McKinney Falls State Park by Skyler R., age 12.
    Baby Raccoon.jpg
    Baby Raccoon by Alexandra H., age 9, Lake Corpus Christi State Park.
    Mountain Eagle.jpg
    Mountain Eagle by Ricky S., age 9, Davis Mountains State Park.

    These are samples of the 2014 contest entries. To see this year's entries, visit the Texas State Parks Gallery.

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