Benini Foundation Gallery and Ranch, Johnson City, Texas
During a recent trip through Texas Hill Country, my husband and I took a side trip to the Benini Foundation Galleries and Sculpture Ranch near Johnson City.
We were delighted to find more than 30 contemporary sculptures scattered on a lovely 140-acre ranch owned by Benini, a well-known Italian painter. Driving along the sometimes rough roads made for slow going, but you can easily see the artworks that line the route, like The Gathering by Marshall Cunningham.
There's also a studio that features exhibits of Benini's incredible work. I recommend a visit in spring or fall, when the temperatures are more reasonable. The ranch is definitely off the beaten path, but will leave you awestruck and inspired.
Johnson City is on U.S. Highway 290, about 48 miles west of downtown Austin and 30 miles east of Fredericksburg. To reach the ranch (377 Shiloh Rd.; 1-830/868-5244) from Johnson City, head west on Highway 290 for about a mile to County Road 204 (Flat Creek Road). Turn south and drive about 5 miles to Shiloh Road and turn west, then take a sharp left after crossing the cattle guard. The grounds and studio are open only by appointment, so call before visiting.