New Exhibit Showcases People and Landscapes of the Big Bend

The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens – a part of The University of Texas at El Paso – will present the exhibit “Authentic Texas: People of the Big Bend” Feb. 12 through May 16, 2015. The exhibit, based on the 2013 award-winning book by the same title (University of Texas Press), features the photography of Bill Wright and stories by Wright and Marcia Hatfield Daudistel.

0126authentictexasWright and Daudistel spent more than two years interviewing and photographing residents of the Big Bend region (one of the most sparsely settled areas in the United States), to see what drew people to these rural areas in the vast Chihuahuan Desert, and more importantly, what kept them there. The two authors discovered “the reasons for making this part of West Texas home are as varied as the people themselves.”

The book is the recipient of the 2014 Southwest Book Award by the Border Regional Library Association.

The exhibit “Authentic Texas” will feature beautiful landscapes of the Big Bend area and stunning portraits and stories of the people who live there. The exhibit consists of photographs and stories included in the book, as well as previously unpublished material. Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the museum’s Gift Shop.

Make Plans

What: Opening reception for the exhibit “Authentic Texas: People of the Big Bend.”

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015. Remarks at 6 p.m.

Exhibit Dates: The exhibit will be on display through May 16, 2015.

Where: Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP, corner of University Avenue and Wiggins Road.

Museum Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Information: 915-747-5565 or

About the authors

Marcia Hatfield Daudistel (El Paso) – Daudistel is the editor, most recently, of Grace and Gumption: The Women of El Paso (2007) and the award-winning Literary El Paso (2009). As the former Associate Director of Texas Western Press of The University of Texas at El Paso, she established the bilingual imprint, Frontera Books. In 2012, she received the Literacy Legacy Award by El Paso Community College and she was inducted into the El Paso Commission for Women Hall of Fame in 2013. She currently serves on the board of the Friends of the Jeff Davis County Library.

Bill Wright (Abilene) – Nationally known author and photographer Wright has published six previous books, including Portraits from the Desert: Bill Wright’s Big Bend (1998), People’s Lives: A Celebration of the Human Spirit (2001), The Tiguas: Pueblo Indians of Texas (1993), and The Texas Kickapoo: Keepers of Tradition (1996). His most recently published book is Fort Phantom Hill: The Mysterious Ruins on the Clear Fork of The Brazos River (2013). He has exhibited his award-winning photographs internationally and in the United States in hundreds of solo and group exhibitions. He has served as a commissioner of the Texas Commission on the Arts and as a board member of the National Endowment for the Humanities.