STEPHEN HEMELT — Port Neches artist’s 70-piece plus exhibition finds Longview home

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 11, 2022

Mark Nesmith began working with the Longview Museum of Fine Art years ago to schedule an exhibition of his work.

Then the COVID pandemic hit and shut down Longview’s exhibitions.

“So we were delayed a couple of years and they had to make up stuff that had already been scheduled,” Nesmith told me this week. “Most museums are already scheduled a year to two years in advance for regular shows. They had a year to makeup, so we’re just now getting around to it. Better late then never, I love it.”

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Nesmith, a fulltime artist and art teacher at Port Neches Middle School, has a lot to love. That’s because Longview Museum of Fine Art is now displaying 74 of his paintings.

Mark Nesmith

They range from smaller works in 6-inch square pieces up to a few 4-by-5-feet projects.

“There are about 20 that are 3-feet or bigger in size,” Nesmith said. “Essentially half the museum is all me. They said the space that I am in is normally for two artists to fill. They said this is the first time they put a show together and were able to use just one artist for that whole side.”

Nesmith describes his works presented at the museum as fitting into three areas: landscapes, spinning yarns and left-handed abstract pieces.

He’s painted landscapes for much of his career and describes “spinning yarns” as kind of “crazy critters doing people stuff that I think is kind of goofy,” like animals hanging out in the tanning bed or playing on their cell phones.

Some of that is inspired by or is commentary on what he see firsthand from his local students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

His students get a kick out of it, and Nesmith keeps an isle in the classroom so he can always get some work in while on campus for the students to see.

His Longview Museum of Fine Art exhibition launched June 4 and is available through Sept. 24.

The Transformation in the Wild World of Mark Nesmith: A Retrospective is a testimony to the resilience of the creative spirit, according to the museum.

“Underlying his work is a deep love for vibrant color and thick, textured surfaces,” said Kate Yglesias Houghton with the museum. “From diminutive paintings to large, expansive canvases, his expressive artworks combine observation, memory and imagination.

“Mark has continued his steadfast pursuits in painting through the hardship life throws at us all. Most recently the right-handed artist battled through back and shoulder surgeries affecting his dominant hand. Always moving forward, the artist took up the brush with his left hand, creating abstracted images utilizing a grid not unlike Chuck Close and Paul Klee before him.”

Nesmith said if anyone sees something of his they like at the exhibition, most of the work is available for purchase through the Longview Museum of Fine Art.

Call the museum at 903-753-8103 for more information.

Those interested can also learn more about the artist at

The Longview Museum of Fine Arts bills itself as the premier art museum in East Texas, engaging diverse audiences in person and online. In 2021, the LMFA Board of Trustees purchased a more centrally located and architecturally superior building, which will become the new home of LMFA in 2024.

The museum is currently located at 215 East Tyler Street in downtown Longview. Learn more at

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes and The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at or 409-721-2445.