Portland, Texas is not funky, cool or artsy like Port Aransas or even Rockport; it used to be a quiet bedroom community to Corpus Christi where many of us commuted ten miles to work there. Community life revolved around schools, sports and churches. The few small restaurants could not sell alcoholic drinks, and if you wanted to buy liquor, you had to make a run to Jessie’s Liquor in Gregory, a tiny town five miles away. There was no public art.

Today industries,some international, have taken advantage of our location on the Gulf of Mexico and our connections to the Port of Corpus Christi. Industries brought jobs and growth. Chain restaurants have opened and one can enjoy an alcoholic drink with dinner and purchase liquor at one of three liquor stores. With good schools it is still a good place to raise a family. There is still no public art other than a memorial tribute to the military and veterans at city hall.

When an art gallery that serves lunch opened up recently, I persuaded Husband to check it out with me. I keep telling him we need more art in Portland.

La Cueva (the cave in Spanish) is owned and run by Gilbert Cuevas, who is also the artist in residence. He moved to Portland from San Antonio after a successful career in graphic advertising. Growing up in the west side in the barrios, he painted what he saw around him.

The ambiance of La Cueva is unexpected for Portland: intimate dining area, dark wood, tall columns, small bar, sophisticated, elegant yet relaxed and casually classy. His paintings – for sale – are displayed gallery style. A curved staircase leads to more art upstairs. The facility is available for private events. The menu offered salads and sandwiches; wine was available. We had The Cubano – deliciosa!

For a look at some of the art of Gilbert Cuevas and his art, go to La Cueva Art Gallary.

Reproductions of some of his original art was available in postcard form. Here is one of several I purchased to share.