Traveling Exhibits - Austin History Center

Traveling Exhibits

Pioneer Painter: The Art of R.C. Wong

Now on display at the Asian American Resource Center

[R.C. Wong with Artwork], Wong Family Papers AR.2008.005(068)

Rose Chin (R.C.) Wong, a property developer and owner of several East Austin grocery stores, became a prolific artist after a successful career in the businesses she managed with her husband. Born in 1915 in Massachusetts to Chinese parents Mow Wah and Lee Shee Chin, she married Fred Wong in San Antonio in 1936. The couple moved to Austin in the late 1930s. Though she made sketches of her three children throughout raising them, R.C. attended her first formal art lesson at the age of 42 at the University of Texas. She quickly became well known for her portraits, especially of friends’ and clients’ children. She produced a prolific body of work by painting and sketching in many mediums including oil, pastels, and watercolors. Her art possesses a strong sense of naturalism that is derived from observing her subjects in person, focusing on nature, and drawing from day to day experiences. As a result, viewers are able to easily relate to the pictures she made and get a sense of Wong’s personal history. Many of her works are admired and enjoyed in the collections of her family and community. This exhibition is made in partnership with the Asian American Resource Center. Special thanks to Mitchel Wong. 

Getting Austin Elected: Buttons and Bumper Stickers from the Austin History Center

Now on display on the 4th floor of the Austin Public Library. 

[Election signs at Brodie and Wiliam Cannon], PICA 29028

Campaign Buttons have been used to promote political candidates as early in US history as George Washington’s campaign for president. The early buttons were actually made of cloth and sewn onto clothing. Photographs on buttons date back to 1860, with Abraham Lincoln’s portrait reproduced on a disk using a tintype process. Since 1916, buttons have been made using a metal disk with a pinback to attach it to clothing or metal tab that folds over a lapel or pocket.

Bumper Stickers have a more recent history, beginning with the development of a self-adhesive paper and vinyl during World War II. Bumper stickers appeared during the late 1940s, but the first documented use to support political candidates came during the 1952 presidential campaign between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson II.