I am so excited about TASI’s February exhibition featuring the work of Gina Mari Garcia. It is especially significant to me because Gina has been a part of The Studio for so long. As a 15-year old she came to The Studio under the apprentice program. Students would come and mop, dump trash, help with hanging shows, mix clay — lots of clay — and do other chores that would need to be done. She was at our first studio on Neches Street, helped move us to Forsythe and ultimately move to Franklin.
I watched her grow from her impetuous teens to a loving mother of two children, her son Tobin and Paisley, her daughter. Like her mother, Paisley began to come to The Studio to help with things that needed to be done. In time she also became a teacher in our summer ArtsKool doing Papier Maché, and is now learning photography from our board chair, Joe Winston.
This is what The Studio was meant to be — dedicated to the life and proliferation of art in all its forms, we strive to offer the best we can to the artists in our community and, through them, the community itself. I hope all of you come to celebrate Gina’s pure expression of herself and the world around her. It will be a unique experience for a unique individual whom I love very much.
We are playing shuffle with studios as we begin filling the space at the Barn II at 840 Franklin St. Ad Hoc Theatre Company has moved its behemoth of a stage and the wood went to Habitat for Humanity. We are so happy they offered the last production of their group where they began, and we hope all the best in their future endeavors.
New artists are moving in and some are moving out. Rachel Wright, Chris Presley and Chris Holmes are occupying studios left by Beau Dumesnil, Maurice Abelman and Neal Pitak. Beau and Maurice are moving to the 840 location along with the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) to join James King, who is already there. If you are interested in studio space, the best thing you can do is access intermediate space and wait for a spot to open. Based on the idea of need, the person using the studio is more likely to need it than someone who isn’t there.
We are sending out our membership requests soon and hope you will consider becoming a member or renewing your membership this year. Although we have had a great year so far in regard to grants, remember those grants are designated for specific needs and must be spent based on those needs. Bills, invitations, bank notes and payroll do not come under those parameters.
That our membership is strong and our participation at events is well attended is as important as the funds that they provide. Public participation is very important to our mission as it completes the circle of exchange between the public and the creative community.
My last point is about the strength of a community based on its strong cultural network, that is, the collective of galleries, museums, musical groups, theaters, dance ensembles and craft collectives, among others. These are essential components woven in the fabric of progressive, desirable cities.
Many potential new residents in cities where we live consider a strong fine arts and diverse cultural presence as a necessary facet in their decision to become permanent residents. Corporations looking for attractive locations to build also have a high regard for a strong cultural network and seek that profile before they choose a community that they find appropriate for their workers to live. The Art Studio and other groups are paramount toward the quality of life most young adults expect in their current or future communities.
It would be hard to imagine what life in Southeast Texas would be like without the range of arts offered by The Art Studio that serve the aesthetic and educational well-being of our community. As an established arts group, the community has historically provided valuable support to The Art Studio, and we hope you continue this tradition.
Community support is not only a monetary exchange but also an investment in your quality of life. Although this region might be regarded for its negative traits, humidity and parasites or flooding and storms, we boast a thriving creative community that promises to bring arts and culture to our region that has a positive effect on every facet of our lives.