Bill Bomar (front) and cousin Reilly Nail, in front of the museum, ca. 1983.

Bill Bomar (front) and cousin Reilly Nail, in front of the museum, ca. 1983.

Bill Bomar

March 5-May 14

Born in Fort Worth, Texas on December 30, 1919, Bill Bomar began his life-long love of painting at the age of seven. It was at this young age, while sitting for a commissioned portrait by the artist Murray Bewley, that Bomar’s interest in the world of art was kindled. “It felt right, to a young boy,” he remembered. “It was a feeling I got from the oils, the turpentines, even the pipe Bewley smoked.” So affected was he by this feeling, that Bomar painted exclusively in oils until the age of 16.

It was through his mother, Jewel Nail Bomar, and the Nail family, that Bomar maintained a connection with the Albany, Texas area. In the late 1970s, together with his cousin Reilly Nail, the two co-founded what would become the Old Jail Art Center. Combining their collections of 20th century modern art along with art from their mothers’ collections, the museum opened in December of 1980. Today the Old Jail Art Center encompasses some 17,000 square feet and is a thriving, widely-acclaimed art museum dedicated to the visual arts and to preserving the local history of the Shackelford County area.