Exhibitions & Collections

West Hall

Phil Brannan: Artistry in Wood

January 24 – March 17, 2024

The West Hall of the museum is a rotating exhibition space that features art from the permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

Phil Brannan is a local Southeast Texas woodcarver, specializing in realistic fish sculptures. He began his artistic career as a child, illustrating, painting and sketching as a hobby and began woodcarving in his mid-30s, teaching himself how to carve and paint. A lifelong fisherman, his love of fishing inspires his highly detailed woodcarvings depicting saltwater, freshwater and tropical fish. 

Brannan quickly rose to the top of the realistic woodcarving field in local, regional and Texas State competitions, winning multiple awards for his work. He has competed in World Fish Carving Competitions, and holds three World Titles in Decorative Miniatures and Natural Finish Divisions. His work is praised for his attention to detail, particularly his development and use of a “dry brush” technique that allows him to apply layers of transparent acrylic washes. He is also highly capable of creating artworks in a variety of sizes without compromising quality, resulting in intimate miniatures to life-size replicas. 

In addition to his achievements, Brannan has also judged World Fish Carving competitions and worked with the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (BASS) to create reproductions of his carvings for sales campaigns. This is the first time his sculptures have been exhibited in a public art space outside of competitions.

Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection

Billy Hassell, The Distance
1985, oil on canvas, Gift of Rob Clark and Jerry Thacker

Billy Hassell is an artist based in Fort Worth, TX. He exhibitied his work at AMSET in the spring of 2022. This painting will join two other works by the artist in the museum’s Texas contemporary collection.

Soody Sharifi, Courtly Love
2007, digital collage printed in paper

Soody Sharifi is an Iranian-American artist living in Houston, TX. Her work deals with the inherant contradictions of living between two cultures. This work was acquired into the Texas contemporary collection. She is the first Iranian-American artist represented in the museum’s collection.

Forrest Prince, Become Perfect, Matthew 5:48
n.d., mirror glass on wood

This work was acquired into the American Folk Art Collection. This is the first work by Forrest Prince to be added to the museum’s collection.

Phyllis Lee, Untitled (Mother and Child)
n.d., oil on linen, Gift of Charlotte and Jimmy Fontenot

Phyllis Lee was a founding member of the Beaumont Art Museum, now the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. She was a board member, art instructor, art juror, and an accomplished artist. This is the first work by the artist to be acquired into the museum’s regional collection.

Margaret Smithers-Crump, Sporadic Growth 2, Study
2019, acrylic paint and colored pencil on translucent recycled Plexiglas with painted wood wall, Gift of the artist

Margaret Smithers-Crump is a Canadian artist based in Houston. Her work brings attention to nature, the environment, and symbolic relationships between living things. Her work was exhibited at AMSET in the winter of 2022. This work was acquired into the Texas Contemporary collection.


Art Museum of Southeast Texas
500 Main Street
Beaumont, TX 77701

(409) 832-3432


M–F: 9am – 5pm
Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sun: Noon – 5pm
Closed major holidays

Admission is always FREE.
Donations accepted.