A View from The Top – October 2012

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE residents who participated in a wonderful tenants exhibition this September.

Along with a great show, there was a generous turnout of guests to view the artists’ efforts. We saw a large group of people that were new to The Art Studio. I know this because new people are the only ones who come to the openings right at seven. Our regulars are not quite so punctual.

To our new guests: I hope it wasn’t too hot or uncomfortable for you. If we didn’t get to meet you, we hope you will come back and see more amazing work throughout the year.

As director of The Studio, I hope we are seeing some uptick in the economy. We are experiencing a renewed interest in the arts and in The Art Studio, as we have seen new interest in classes in drawing, painting and ceramics. We have also had an influx of tenant artists; some are new to the area, some are re-establishing their artistic direction and getting down to work. I am so happy we are still here to serve this creative community. I wish we could do more.

2013 will mark our 30th year of service to the community, and in celebration of this auspicious occasion we are planning a facelift for our sagging old studio.

Coincidentally, the national clay conference (NCECA) will be hosted by Houston in March and we hope to have a mini Gumbo Clay Festette with our clay friends coming by to see us. We hope to have our kilns in order by then as well as complete some work left by Jim Leedy, Vern Funk and Victor Spinski and their students.

An exhibition at The Studio in March will specifically showcase ceramics in Southeast Texas and, hopefully, some entries from guest artists on a national level. For our guests, I want the studio to look like it not only survived but thrived.

There are far fewer organizations like TASI after the economic downturn of the country. Our weather problems during the same period gave us a double whammy that we endured. We are lucky to be here. It is important to note that no financial support, no federal loan program or any compensation was offered to us despite our many requests for assistance. As a result we are not able to offer free classes and workshops or scholarship programs. We hope this is a temporary situation.

The Kroger challenge has begun and we are sending you a barcode to scan along with your Kroger card so that a percentage of your purchases will come to The Art Studio. Last year we were given a check in excess of $500 with very little participation. With a strong effort and good participation I am sure we can gain a larger portion of the funds that are available.

Classes are back in style. Look for more classes to be available as we have had a run of interested students in all kinds of disciplines. New resident Abbie McLaurin, a professional painter, is conducting a beginning class in drawing. Intermediate level or artists who are a little rusty might find this enlightening as well. Check The Studio’s Web site for times and dates. Clay classes also are in high demand and a series of short workshops are in store to respond to shorter spans of leisure time. We are rearranging the clay studio to accommodate the classes and new residents. If you ever wanted to learn to draw or make clay things now is a great time. It relieves stress and lets you forget the problems of the world for a while, while you worry over the less earthshaking problems in art. It’s a good trade off.