The inaugural exhibit for Julie Crouch, newly-appointed executive director for the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, is off to a smashing success.

A crowd of art lovers descended on the River North Gallery in Stephenville Thursday to attend a welcoming reception for Crouch and Granbury artist Rusty Speck. Dozens sampled wine and enjoyed appetizers and desserts while welcoming Crouch, a Stephenville native, Tarleton State University graduate and former CTFAC intern, back to the Cross Timbers area.

Following the reception, Crouch said she was “very excited” about the event.

“As executive director, I want total community support for the arts council,” Crouch said. “And the turnout at the reception indicates that there are many great supporters of the council. The founding members established a well-loved organization and a long tradition of being embraced by the community.”

In her new role, Crouch is setting out with one goal in mind - to gain more membership throughout the counties CTFAC serves - Somervell, Erath, Bosque, Comanche, Eastland, Hamilton, Hood and Palo Pinto.

And Speck, an artist with many achievements and dozens, if not hundreds of art shows in his portfolio, is doing his part to bring new members to the council while honoring current members as well.

“Rusty is so generous, he made us a fantastic offer,” Crouch said. “He is offering discounts on his paintings and prints for CTFAC members.” 

Speck’s works will be on display through Friday, Feb. 19, and will allow art aficionados a chance to get a retrospective glimpse into Speck’s evolution as an artist. The exhibit will be open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.. Monday-Friday and will be closed noon - 1 p.m. daily.

“The paintings are alive with color,” one gallery attendee said. “The landscapes and scenery make you want to climb in, kick back, relax and stay a while.” 

For information on CTFAC or for a membership form, log on to, stop by the River North Gallery at 204 River North Blvd. in Stephenville or call 254-965-6190.

You may also view Speck’s online gallery and biography at