Round Top, TX... 2002 marked the last time an art festival was held in Round Top, the end of a seven-year stent led by a threesome of Round Top residents, one of whom was Kathleen Johnston who owned and operated a Houston advertising and marketing firm at the time. The event benefited the Texas Pioneer Arts Foundation that owned Henkel Square, a museum district in Round Top.
Fast forward to 2016. Johnston had, for several years, wanted to reinstitute the popular art festival in Round Top that she helped spearhead. Visiting with Mark Massey, developer/owner of The Compound, Round Top’s premier event center, and Joan & Jerry Herring, owners of the Red & White Gallery in Fayetteville, that wish finally came to fruition. The new group formed a consortium dedicated to kicking off a new art festival called Round Top WinterFest, to be held January 28-29, 2017, with a festive preview party on Friday evening the 27th. “With this new art festival, it’s like we’ve come full circle,” says Johnston. “Mark’s family now owns Henkel Square where most of the first festivals were held, having converted it into a popular retail center. And, Mark himself is the individual owner/developer of The Compound, which is a stunning event center located two miles from Round Top’s town square.” Jerry Herring also hails from the Houston design industry with his long-term relationship with Herring Design, now owned and operated by his son. Today, Jerry and his wife Joan have the Red & White Gallery in Fayetteville, TX and Blackbird Farm Lodging and event center, with accommodations in the Fayetteville area.
“Speaking on behalf of Kathy and ourselves,” says Joan “not one of us has “retired.” Rather, as many in our age bracket, we have reinvented ourselves. Each of our activities today are vastly different than our past lives, while pulling on those experiences and that expertise, obviously.” Those collective experiences will, no doubt, greatly benefit Round Top WinterFest as it grows.
Mark Massey, on the other hand, is a young visionary with third generation ties to Round Top. Educated in commercial real estate development, he’s created The Compound to host an array of events. “My intent is to create a series of “branded events” at The Compound. We already have a top notch antique show twice a year that Kathy produces, an all day, into the night Fourth of July family event, an annual Wedding Show, and now the art festival. It’s gratifying to see this property come into its own as I’ve envisioned.”
Long time friend of the Herrings, Bill Hightower, of Houston’s Hightower Capital Group Inc., has generously agreed to help underwrite the Round Top WinterFest endeavor, including the Preview event that will benefit selected art education programs in this rural area. “Bill and Susan are wonderful friends, art collectors, and Houston philanthropists, so this new event is right in their wheelhouse. We are so appreciative of their support,” says Joan.