Picture this: you’re driving through Llano on a quiet afternoon, the Hill Country sun blazes overhead and the town’s historic charm and colorful architecture ramble happily around you. But what’s that? A deer? Deer sightings in Llano are common, you think. But midday? In full sun? An eight- point buck stands proudly in the bank’s parking lot and looks as if it’s been skinny- dipping in a can of crazy paint. Just a blur of rainbow color and it’s gone. And you’re left checking your contact lenses and your pulse, wondering which doctor you should call first.
No, you’re not hallucinating. You’ve just had your first brush with Llano’s new Trail of the Deer, a colorful community art project launching this June. Modeled after similar programs like downtown Houston’s Cow Parade and New Mexico’s Trail of Painted Ponies, Llano’s Trail of the Deer pays homage to its local community of artists and the animal that could easily be called its mascot: the whitetail deer.
Promoted by Circle on the Square Art Gallery and sponsored by Frosty Miller Ranch Real Estate, The Dabb’s Hotel, Nailhead Spur Company and many more, Llano will unveil the inaugural herd on June 25th at Circle on the Square, consisting of seven, life-size, eight-point bucks painted by local artists Lou and Cheryl Quallenberg, Gin Schwope, Janet Mason, Russell Baros, Ira Kennedy and the Llano Art Guild.
“We’re leaving one deer ‘buck naked’ here at the gallery until the unveiling so people can see the before and after,” says Robin Chiesa, Circle on the Square’s owner and the organizer of this program.
The deer will make appearances all over town throughout the year, in front of local businesses and at Llano events, as a way of promoting Llano’s commerce and attractions and bringing the community together. The schools will hold art contests of their own, mirroring the program, and trail maps will be available at the Circle Gallery or online at their website, circleartgallery.com.
“The deer won’t stay in one place long,” Chiesa warns, so it’s best to grab a map if you want to see them all.
Bidding for the deer will take place until March of next year via the gallery’s website, so there will be plenty of time to raise money for an art scholarship and a dispersion of local charities.
“We hope to start over next June with an even bigger herd,” Chiesa adds.
Artists wishing to apply to decorate the seventh naked deer should contact Robin via the ‘contact’ page on the gallery’s website, www.circleartgallery.com.