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TOM LEA INSTITUTE

Tom Lea Trail map of sites in Texas and New Mexico

Texas Historical Foundation Scholar Director Frank de la Teja will present a grant to the Tom Lea Institute in support of their expansive Tom Lea Trail. Spanning three states and dozens of towns and cities, the Trail seeks to connect visitors with sites significant to the life and work of artist and El Paso native Tom Lea (1907-2001.) Granted funds will be used towards ongoing work to the mobile app and website components of the heritage trail project. 


With locales that include the sites of Lea’s large-scale murals of Southwestern life, meaningful biographical locations, and the places that inspired his work, the Tom Lea Trail offers a unique view of the life and art of one of Texas’ most evocative mid-century artists. By integrating with the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Time Travel website, part of THC’s Texas Heritage Trails project, the group hopes to further immerse visitors and improve access to those local to the trail stops as well as heritage tourists.


Sites include the epic mural, “Pass of the North,” in El Paso’s Historic Federal Courthouse, the Calle de Comercio drag in Juarez that inspired Lea’s diverse, bustling streetscape paintings, and UT Austin’s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, home to one of the largest public collections of his art and writing.

This is the group's second Texas Historical Foundation award towards web development for the Tom Lea Trail, with a 2022 grant in support of hiring a Collections and Communications manager for the mobile website. The presentation will take place Saturday, March 4 at the Tom Lea Institute’s El Paso office, with Executive Director Holly Cobb accepting on behalf of the organization. For more information on the Tom Lea Trail and other projects from the Tom Lea Institute, visit tomlea.com.

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