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Sculpting Texas HistoryBHy Alissa Reinhardelotes resident and artist Linda Sioux Henley’s award-winning art graces collections around the world. Her sculptures are breathtaking depictions of western art, two of which are displayed at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and on the Texas State Capitol grounds. A direct descendant of Alamo defender Gordon C. Jennings and of Cherokee heritage, Linda’s roots in western art run deep.Linda’s artistic talents have led her down many paths. She has styled hair, owned her own salon, and become a prize-winning cake decorator... all before entering the world of sculpting. Not everyone can seamlessly hop from trade to trade while experiencing unparalleled success. Artistry is in Linda’s blood.Linda came to a point in her life when she decided that she would like to create lasting pieces of art, so she decided to enroll in a sculpting class. The rest is history. One evening while driving home, Linda heard a man on the radio talking about building a theme park in San Antonio. She called the station and tracked down the man. She wanted to create something that could be a lasting part of the new park. The man put her in touch with his contact at Opryland who Linda wrote to.“I received a letter back stating that they were not yet ready to select an artist for the park and to contact them again in three to six months,” said Linda. “It was 1990 and I had just started a new line of stoneware sculptures titled ‘Sinapau.’ They were so successful that the time flew by. But every time I would drive by IH-10, I would see the land being worked on for the new park, and I would think to myself, ‘Gee, I should have written them back. I bet they have already chosen another artist.’”But Linda didn’t give up. She wrote Opryland again.“About a week and a half later, I received a phone call from Opryland,” said Linda. “Opryland! They were flying down a few people to come to my studio and meet with me. Me! Well, you can’t imagine how excited I was.”In 1990, Linda was commissioned by Opryland to sculpt her first life-size bronze. The “Folklorico D a n c e r ” b r o n z e s c u l p t u r e w a s p l a c e d a t F i e s t a Te x a s , now Six Flags Fiesta Texas, where it still stands today.Linda’s second life size bronze tells the story of early Texas women and the sacrifices they have made for their great state. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (District VIII) felt that a sculpture of a woman should be placed on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. The project took 10 years from beginning to end. After Linda was selected as the artist, she traveled to Austin multiple times to discuss the vision for her design. To her disappointment, the committee decided to change one aspect of the sculpture.“A six to five vote was taken for my design to be changed from a rifle at her hip to her hand holding a bonnet,” explained Linda. “That saddened me because I know you had to have a rifle to protect yourself and your family.”Despite that one setback, Linda tirelessly researched the attire of a typical Texas pioneer woman, making sure everything was historicallyFolklorico Dancer at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.Linda Sioux Henley sculpting away.accurate, even the lace up design of the back of the dress.“When I was commissioned to do the Pioneer Woman, there was no particular woman that they wanted to use, because there were too many important Texas women at that time,” explained Linda.“So I decided to try to imagine how my fourth great grandmother (Catherine Overton Jennings) would’ve felt the very first time she stepped off her wagon and planted her feet into her Texas soil, knowing the hardships her and her husband would [face] would be well worth it for the younger generation that she is holding in her arms.”On October 17, 1998, the statue was unveiled.“You can’t imagine the feeling that I had the day the statue was placed on our Texas state capitol grounds,”said Linda.“There are no words to explain.”If you would like to view more of Linda’s work, you can visit her gallery, A Little Touch of Texas and Sinapau, Inc. located at 11595 Leslie Road.“Honoring Texas Pioneer Women” placed on the Texas State capital grounds.2017-2018www.GreatNWGuide.com77Artists

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