Find a Waterside Retreat in a North Texas Arts Mecca, Clifton

Clifton

Artist Bruce Greene’s bronze sculpture, titled “On the Banks of the Bosque,” the centerpiece of Heritage Plaza in Clifton, Texas

So your family wants a vacation home in the country, but peace and quiet are just not enough for you — you require art and social outlets built around it to feed your soul, even in a rural retreat.

Take heart. There’s a North Texas place not far from Dallas-Fort Worth that just might fill the bill. The thriving community of Clifton, Texas, has cultural amenities galore and is easily accessible to townies, lake house and ranch owners in the area.

Pre-eminent in the vibrant little town is its art scene. Click below for the story of how Clifton became such a creative nexus, and see a nifty little waterfront home on Lake Whitney available to satisfy the soul of art lovers looking for a weekend getaway spot with cultural treasures. 

Clifton, Texas, (population 3,400) is the seat of Bosque County (home to about 17,000) and sits just 90 minutes southwest of Dallas, where the North Texas plains begin to transition to rugged Hill Country landscape. The town’s central plaza is graced with a bronze statue of a cowboy astride a horse drinking from the banks of the Bosque River by resident artist, Bruce Greene. On a high point in town is the Bosque Arts Center set in a three-story historic landmark dating to 1923, initially built as the administration building of a Luthern college, and donated by C. E. “Pat” Olsen to house an arts center in the early 1980s.

Locals acknowledge one woman in particular for spearheading the town’s art initiative. Abilene native and artist Joan Spieler (1925-1997), moved to the area in 1956, opened a photography studio and frame shop, and, noting there were no art classes in Clifton schools, set about remedying the situation. Led by Spieler, the town built what came to be known as the Bosque Arts Center and garnered an impressive collection of Western art. They went right to the source, recruiting well-known Western artists James Boren and Melvin Warren to move to the community in the late 1960s. Given the scenic beauty of the area, a hard sell wasn’t needed.

Today, the Bosque Art Center’s collection includes works by nationally-recognized artists such as Martin Grelle, Tony Eubanks, George Hallmark,  and George Boutwell. More than 20 working artists and sculptors live in the area.

Artist and Clifton resident Martin Grelle.

Artist and Clifton resident Martin Grelle.

The Bosque Arts Center hosts a notable collection of both Western and contemporary art, and, now in its 32nd year, the Bosque Arts Classic, a  competition which draws artists both nationally and internationally each September.

Along with visual arts, performing arts have flourished. In 1982, the Tin Building Theatre was opened nearby to host theater and musical performances,  from classic comedies and musicals to period dramas and children’s productions. Year round, there are performances, club gatherings, artisan craft shows, classes, children’s summer camps,  workshops, and book talks centered around the site, with topics as wide-ranging as yoga,  karate, weaving, crocheting, jewelry making, water color painting, pottery, guitar, and piano. All this has bred a vibrant community exploring, learning, and celebrating together creative arts in many forms. And, the art scene is just the tip of the remarkable attractions in Bosque County; in the coming weeks, I’ll share more.

In the meantime, art-interested second shelter shoppers take note: real estate for sale in the area includes town residences, area land and ranches, and homes on nearby Lake Whitney. This 23,500-acre lake offers boating and water sports. An example is this artist’s retreat which sits on the southwestern peninsula of the lake,  just a hop, a skip, and a jump away from the vibrant cultural scene in Clifton.

The 2,025-square foot, two-bedroom, two-bath house on a 0.49 acre lot at 310 County Road 1710 is owned by a painter who has now moved to Santa Fe. The artist owner completely remodeled the circa-1970 structure, adding a master bedroom suite and a wall of glass windows on the north side to open the view of the water. It’s located in a small, gated community of about a dozen homes called “Chevy Land,” which was developed in the 1950s by a Waco Chevrolet dealer for corporate entertaining.

Per the listing agent, Johnny Purselley with Sotheby’s International Realty, there’s no formal HOA; homeowners split the expense of gate operations. About half are full-time residents and half utilize their properties part-time, which sounds ideal for a balance of peace and quiet, and folks on site to keep an eye on the neighborhood.

Nearby is Uncle Gus’ Lodge and Marina, a full-service marina which offers boat slips, rental, and services, plus cabins and campsites, a convenient place to lodge spill-over guests.

310 Country Road 1710

Here’s those north-facing windows with wide-open views from the main living area, dining room, and master bedroom suite of Lake Whitney:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

Great room, indeed! There’s wide-open space under the A-frame roof. It’s not difficult to envision this an artist’s studio:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

The master bedroom, also with windows opening to the view. It’s amazing how much light and airiness the clerestory windows add:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

Every aspect of the house looks modern, from the master bath…

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

…to barn doors separating the master suite from the living area:

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How contemporary the lines of the remodeled space look!

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

A cheery-colored stove is an interior focal point:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

Love the flow from the front door out to the deck…

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

…which has such a view!

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

More than 50 feet of new deck lines the house lakeside. There’s also a new garage and carport.

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

Back inside again, to take a look at what’s behind the bar:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

An efficient galley kitchen, with modern cabinetry and appliances:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

Here’s the second bedroom:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

And bath:

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

And, another view of the central area, light streaming in through the window available because of the A-frame roof. What a view this must provide of the stars at night!

310 County Road 1710, Clifton

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Above is loft space which would be so cozy with rain beating down on the roof. It exudes the aura of the interior of an ark. I think it my favorite in the house.

310 County Rd 1710 clifton 22jpg

Which is saying a lot, given the back deck:

310 County Rd 1710 clifton 24jpg

310 County Rd 1710 clifton deck

With its outlook:

clifton deck

The listing price of this pretty property is  $335,000, represented by Johnny Purselley of Sotheby International Realty.

clifton end

Stay tuned for more from this incredible area with much to offer to those with art in their heart!