Arts Council of Brazos Valley hosts open gallery to participate in first-ever Artists Sunday

Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 9:39 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The Arts Council of Brazos Valley participated in the first-ever Artists Sunday by hosting an open gallery event on November 29 showcasing the work of local artists.

It’s a new national movement that was started this year to be similar to what Small Business Saturday is for small business owners or Cyber Monday is to online merchants. Think of it as being Black Friday for local artists and craftspeople.

“Today, we’re out supporting any artist that you know of, whether it’s performing arts or people who do visual arts, even those people who write,” The Arts Council of Brazos Valley Executive Director Sheree Boegner said. “It’s so important to support the arts because they do so much for our economy, and I think it’s going to be one of the things that really is a good driver for our economy here in the community.”

But the artists aren’t just excited about the extra opportunity to sell their work. They also hope the day will highlight why art is such an important part of society.

“It enriches the community,” Coleen Bradfield, who is one of the council’s studio artists, said. “I think that when people have art in their community, it draws them out. It gives them something to experience. It gives them something to appreciate. People don’t hesitate to say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ve got a great football team,’ but we also have a lot of great artists, and those artists can also contribute a lot to the well-being of the community.”

“I think artists, in general, support the emotional well-being, creativity, and excitement of a community,” Chris Wilson, another one of the council’s studio artists who specializes in watercolor painting, said. “Local artists will capture local subject matter. Buildings you may be familiar with and places that you’ve been to, and so that connection is very important in art, to make a connection to the artist and the subject that artist is painting or portraying.”

Frontline healthcare workers and their stories have captivated Amanda Dominguez, who is also a studio artist with the council, as she’s made some of them the subject of some of her most recent work. She says an artist’s ability to capture a single moment in time and portray it in a unique way that can live on forever is an invaluable tool that can’t afford to be overlooked or underappreciated.

“They’re around town displaying their perspective on things going on in the world, through color, light, shapes, and different forms of art,” Dominguez said. “It’s an honor to have a piece of artwork in your house that demonstrates that time period, that moment that you’re looking for. I just want to be able to give people a chance to have a piece of artwork in their house for them to cherish through time and future generations.”

Artists also say kickstarting a new tradition like this is even more important in a year so damaged by the pandemic.

“For many artists, they haven’t been able to go to the street fairs and festivals to display and sell their artwork there,” Dominguez said. “To have this time to do that today, this kind of helps bring some of that loss back to us.”

“The pandemic has dramatically cut down on the foot traffic of the arts council building,” Wilson said. “We studio artists still come in and enjoy our studios and our work, but it doesn’t have life without the people. The people bring life here and to our art, so we miss you. We really miss you.”

They hope Artists Sunday will become a long-standing tradition just like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. They believe if it’s a success today and continues to be in future years, it can provide a major boost to the role all forms of art play in communities across the country.

“I think if people will actually take the time to consider what today is and get out and see some art, meet some artists, it could make a big difference in their lives,” Bradfield said. “A lot of people see art all around them, but they don’t stop and really look at it. Sometimes you can be walking down a street and there can be a sculpture that’s on public display. It could be one of the arts council trains. If people don’t stop and take time to appreciate it, they won’t realize what they’ve missed.”

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