The Artery has been Houston’s oasis for the arts for 25 years, created and nurtured by Mark Larsen. Now urban developers have precipitated its closure. We were introduced to it and Mark a number of years ago when my husband, Daniel Quinn, spoke at an event there. And I was honored that Mark chose to exhibit my painting as part of the final events schedule. Though the building is disappearing, the spirit continues through the new website, which showcases music, artist profiles, authors and speakers from the Artery’s past and present.
That’s how she titles herself on her blog, Artful Life, so that’s how she’ll be here. But my guess is the young students in her elementary school art classes call her Ms. Anderson. I find her fairy tale and kids’ lit paintings enchanting, and I bet her students do too. (I also like the advice she’s passed on to me recently.)
I came late to painting, but my cousin, Jim Pollock (no, we’re not in any way related to Jackson Pollock), knew early on that art was his life, and opted to make his basic living as a graphic designer while engaging in other forms of expression (including a stint as a combat artist in Vietnam). Plein air is his natural habitat–a place that’s not for me.
Scenographer may be Sara’s official title. But when you wander through her website, you’ll see that it doesn’t begin to describe what she does or the effects she can create–from the tiny paintings or collages or drawings with which she begins her exploration of a theater piece to magical stage settings to a permanent children’s space installation at the Bronx Zoo. Exploring Sara’s website is a visual adventure all its own. I was very startled and pleased when she expressed the idea that maybe someday there’d be a way we could work on something for which she’d design the sets and I’d do the costumes. Now that would be fun! Currently she’s also teaching at NYU, and two mornings a week is a teaching artist for the NY public school system.
A livelier group of women I don’t think you’ll find anywhere–or more committed to what they do and the kids they work with. They travel to different schools and offer kids all the dancing, prancing, play-acting–and a whole lot more–that most schools can no longer provide. Plus they plan parties and events for kids (and older folks too). I’ve come to know them through my friend and neighbor, Wendy (whose young daughter and son help keep me young and on my toes when they make periodic visits to my studio for painting afternoons). This is one job that is never a drag!
I’ve been part of the Houston Visual Arts Alliance for a year now. It was a big new step for me, since I’m used to operating pretty much on my own. But I jumped right in on the Exhibitions Committee, and my job is to coordinate the volunteers who work during the opening receptions for the four professionally juried shows the VAA puts on each year! The VAA does a lot of other things too. Check it all out at the VAA website and FB page. While your at the website, take a look at all wide spectrum of member artists portfolios, which give just a glimpse of who they are and what they create.
This is home base.
I leave it to you to discover why.
(Drawing by Daniel Quinn)