Tyler Texas Arts, Culture & Learning
Located in the rolling hills of East Texas in Smith County mid-way between Dallas and Shreveport, Tyler has a wide range of appeal.
Tyler's lifestyle has the characteristics, feel, benefits and safety of a small town, but also has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with the advantages of a variety of arts and cultural activities.
The R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center
The renown R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of the University of Texas at Tyler, presents a variety of Broadway shows, plays and musicals.
Braithwaite Recital Hall at UT-Tyler (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
Inside, the Jim and Bonna Bess Vaughn Auditorium seats 2,000 patrons in a warm acoustical environment. A full Broadway-sized stage includes a hydraulically-controlled orchestra pit floor which may be raised for concert use, or lowered for musical theatre productions.
Another facility inside the Cowan is the David G. and Jacqueline M. Braithwaite Recital Hall. It is a lovely chamber music venue and regularly hosts solo recitals and small chamber performances. It seats 161 patrons in three sections, with ample access for those with physical disabilities.
Plans were announced in January of 2015 for the UT Tyler Center for the Musical Arts, south of the existing Cowan Center at a cost of $6.5 million. The new 2-story facility includes a 70-seat band/orchestra practice room and a 72-seat choir practice room. The center also houses teaching studios for individual student and faculty instruction, a music library, faculty offices and instrument storage.
Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
The Tyler Symphony Orchestra began performances in March, 1936, and was renamed the East Texas Symphony Orchestra in 1954 to reflect the broader geographical audience which it serves.
It offers presentation of classical and contemporary music in diverse settings, at the Cowan Center, and at other venues such as the Caldwell Auditorium and outdoor park concerts.
East Texas Youth Orchestra (ETYO)
ETYO has been serving the East Texas area in various forms since 1955. The mission of the ETYO is to provide exceptional musical experiences in arts education through a diverse set of programs providing performances that enrich its members and the community.
Its ensembles include a symphony orchestra, philharmonic orchestra and Jazz academy. It rehearses primarily in Tyler.
East Texas Youth Orchestra
Through its various ensembles, ETYO accomplishes this mission by meeting the following objectives:
An exciting 2020-2021 season planned! The ETYO conductors, Felix Torres, Sarah Reason, and Sarah Roberts bring thrilling repertoire to their ensembles, and lead weekly rehearsals with enthusiasm and expertise! In addition to four classical concerts, and Jazz Academy performances, this season will feature the fourth annual ETYO Concerto Competition.
The Liberty Theater originally was opened in 1930 as a first-run movie theater on the south side of the Tyler square, and continued in operation for 50 years.
The Liberty is once again home to memory-making events and entertainment after it was converted into Liberty Hall and re-opened in September 2011.
Details inside Liberty Hall (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
The hall is now the locale for a variety of quality entertainment, ranging from nationally known artists to regional and local entertainers from all genres of music, comedy, theater as well as classic movies. The theater is also available for rental to other organizations that present entertainment as well as for civic and private functions.
The Caldwell Auditorium is part of the Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy, and is operated by the Tyler Independent School District (TISD). It is located at 300 South College Avenue near downtown Tyler.
It is the site of a variety of performances and musical events through the year, including concerts sponsored by the Tyler Community Concert Association. It offers theater seating for 1,792 attendees.
Tyler Museum of Art
Tyler Museum of Art
The highly-respected Tyler Museum of Art showcases both permanent, rotating and visiting collections.
Through the efforts of the Junior League of Tyler, the Tyler Museum of Art was opened in 1971. The Museum is located in an award-winning structure adjacent to the campus of Tyler Junior College. The building contains two major exhibition galleries on the ground floor, the North Gallery and the Bell Gallery. There is also a library, classroom, café, and gift shop.
The museum's growing permanent collection features over 1,200 works including paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture by artists such as James Surls, Vernon Fisher, Alexander Calder, Terry Allen, and Charles Umlauf.
The Museum is currently engaged in the design of a much larger facility.
Tyler Civic Theatre Center (TCTC)
Tyler Civic Theatre Center (TCTC) evolved from Tyler Little Theatre, formed in 1927. Through the tireless efforts of volunteers and the generosity of foundations and the public, TCTC's new home was christened in September 2000.
The original stage was renovated and rebuilt to house Rogers Children's Theatre. Student-actors are educated in all aspects of play production in classes designed for preschoolers through adults. The new Braithwaite Theatre at TCTC seats 350, almost twice the seating capacity of the original facility. The entire complex is called Tyler Civic Theatre Center.
It provides live thrillers & comedies for adults and classics good for the whole family. The center also offers summer drama camps, workshops, and classes for students age 4 through adult. The facility can also be rented.
TCTC is located at 400 Rose Park Drive near the Tyler Rose Garden and across from the Harvey Convention Center.
Festivals and Museums
Tyler Downtown Arts District "Where Music Lives" (TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
Festivals are held through the year, from the Azalea Trails in the spring to the Texas Rose Festival in the fall. Events such as the Red Dirt BBQ & Music Festival attract thousands of visitors downtown. Other events include the Downtown Tyler Music Festival, CityFest, Hit the Bricks, the Tyler Azalea Trails just south of downtown, and Downtown Tyler's Holiday Open House.
Located adjacent to the famous Tyler Rose Garden is the Tyler Rose Museum, which showcases and documents the history of the annual Texas Rose Festival.
And if you're looking for a good place to take the children or school groups, tour the Discovery Science Place downtown at 308 N. Broadway Avenue. Phone 903.533.8011.
Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) Planetarium
The Center for Earth and Space Science Education (CESSE) Planetarium, formerly known as the Hudnall Planetarium, has undergone a major expansion and renovation of its facilities on the main campus of Tyler Junior College (TJC).
The new facility features a state-of-the-art high-resolution digital projection system, a new 40-foot diameter theater, new exhibit space, additional classroom/instructional space, and outdoor educational plazas.
The CESSE Planetarium at Tyler Junior College
The Caldwell Zoo in Tyler
(TylerTexasOnline staff photo)
The Caldwell Zoo is well known and for its extensive wildlife collection and educational opportunities. The zoo was started as a small backyard zoo by David King Caldwell in 1937. As the zoo grew, he purchased a farm in 1953, and named it the Caldwell Children's Zoo. Today the Caldwell Zoo spans 85 acres and is the home to over 2,000 animals.
The zoo continues to evolve and expand, and now includes an elephant facility, giraffe barn, an African savanna, African aquarium, North American herpetarium, wild bird walk-about, and other animal environments. A 15-acre native Texas area and Texas farm opened in 1983, followed by the Texas reptile and aquarium building.
The zoo is highly respected, and visited by thousands each year from all over Texas. We recommend a visit to this excellent zoo!