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THE REAL SHOW


ON VIEW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 6

Realism... reinterpreted. A group show of contemporary artists utilize the illusion of depicted realities to convey individual messages or observations that extend beyond mere mechanical copying.   READ MORE...

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THE REAL SHOW


ON VIEW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 6

Realism... reinterpreted. A group show of contemporary artists utilize the illusion of depicted realities to convey individual messages or observations that extend beyond mere mechanical copying.   READ MORE...

WHO WE ARE

The mission of the Old Jail Art Center is to be the primary cultural resource for the region, providing visual art, performing art, and local history resources for residents and visitors alike, and fostering memorable experiences for all.

Today the Old Jail Art Center comprises 15,000 square feet and is a widely acclaimed fine art museum with a varied education program that reaches throughout and beyond the state via an active Distance Learning program. Since 1989, OJAC has been included in the select group of museums nationwide that are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.  Serving a core audience of 25 rural counties, the Old Jail Art Center is free to the public.

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EXHIBITIONS

Explore what's on view in our art, artifact, archives, and heritage galleries.

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EVENTS

Check out upcoming events for all ages and interests!                         

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EDUCATIOn

Educational opportunities for all learners at the OJAC.

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ABOUT THE OLD JAIL


The Old Jail Art Center has been a center for arts and culture in Texas since 1980. 

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ABOUT THE OLD JAIL


The Old Jail Art Center has been a center for arts and culture in Texas since 1980. 

HOURS Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm & Sun, 2pm – 5pm


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OUR HISTORY

OUR FOUNDERS (shown above; left to right): 

Reilly Nail with an early purchase that began his art collection, ca 1950s;
William Reilly Nail, Sr. (1903-1958) and wife Wyldon Burgess Nail (1907-1986) in Fort Worth, ca 1950s
William (Bill) Bomar, Jr., undated
Jewel Nail Bomar, undated

The Old Jail Art Center (OJAC) opened in 1980 with four small galleries, in the first permanent jail built in Shackelford County. The jail was designed and built by the civil architect John Thomas of Thomas and Woerner, Builders, Fort Worth. Construction began in 1877 and was finished the following year at the cost of more than $9,000, which outraged the local taxpayers. Scottish stonemasons carved their initials into the building's large limestone blocks, in order to ensure payment for work done once the fledgling county was solvent. You can easily see why the building was known for several decades as "the alphabet jail." The "M" and the "E" are known to be the initials of stone masons named McGuire and Emery, while the "X" and the triangle are thought to be the marks of illiterate stone masons. Considered very modern at the time of its construction, the jail was used for more than half a century until it was abandoned in 1929 in favor of the "new" jail one block to the west. Robert E. Nail, Princeton graduate, local author and playwright, most notably of the Fort Griffin Fandangle, saved the building from demolition in 1940 by purchasing it for $25. He bought the lot on which it sits for $325 a few months later. One of the few outstanding examples of 19th Century Classic Architecture still in existence, the old jail building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

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