CWCW: 5 Reasons to get Excited For Art on Elm

Kennedy Sam
Director of Marketing and Communications

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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Now in its eighth year, Art on Elm has become much more than just a pop-up art exhibition. Celebrate Waco’s rich artistic culture in the heart of East Waco through beautiful art, live music, guest speakers, delicious food and artisan vendors. This weekend-long cultural festival truly has something for everyone. Enjoy the festivities April 12-13.

Local artists are invited to apply to be a part of the event. Artists can submit pieces for either the Juried Exhibition or for an artist booth, students in kindergarten through twelfth grade can submit their masterpieces for the Youth Art Exhibition, and artisans can apply for a spot in the Arts and Crafts Market. Applications are still open and can be found on the Art on Elm website.

On this month’s episode of Conversations with Creative Waco, we sat down with Doreen Ravenscroft, Executive Director of Cultural Arts of Waco to find out more about this year’s events.

Here’s what is in store for the Art on Elm weekend:

Splash on the Color!

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Pick the most colorful outfit from your closet to kick off the weekend with Art on Elm! The “Splash on the Color” event celebrates the vibrancy of the local community and the opening of the juried artist exhibition for Art on Elm. Enjoy music, art, and a spread of sweet and savory bites. Grab your tickets here!


Arts & Craft Market

After walking through the gallery, head outside to check out the Arts & Crafts Market. Artisan and food vendors will be set up along Elm Street selling crafts and delicious local food!


The Flavors of Art on Elm

What’s a festival without tasty treats? From hamburgers to authentic Mexican food, chow down on local cuisine while enjoying the festivities.


Ira Watkins – Mural Concept Unveiling

Ira Watkins, a Waco native and muralist, will reveal the concept of a new 300-foot long mural coming to South Waco this month. Check out Watkins’ other public art around the city like the Martin Luther King tribute located on the Brazos River.


Elm Tea Fest

Art on Elm is excited for the second year of its Elm Tea Fest. Join tea experts for an afternoon tea time and learn about tea, tea preparation, tea culture and history and of course, tons of tea tastings and sweet treats! Enjoy teas provided from local and statewide vendors.

Find out more about each event or how to get involved at the Art on Elm website.


Our summer camp calendar is live!

When kids are creative, they learn with all their senses. We’ve got the perfect resource to help you find a summer camp to let your child SHINE! Search this calendar by date, age, grade, or topic—or browse everything at once to find the best match! 

CWCW: You're going to be Gobsmacked!

By Rae Jefferson
Communications Director at Family Health Center

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

In May of 2017, Out on a Limb Dance Company did what it does best and brought an evening of unexpected art to Waco. The event, called Stimuli, married music with contemporary dance – a tough art form to find inside city limits. Guests enjoyed a three-course meal catered by Milo Biscuit Co. and wine pairings from David Mayfield. Organizers and sponsors weren’t sure what to expect, as it was the first event of its kind in recent Waco history.

The show sold out.

Out on a Limb Dance Company Presents “Gobsmacked: An Evening of Dance and Music with Food and Wine” April 6 from 5-8p.m. at the Waco Civic Theater.

Out on a Limb Dance Company Presents “Gobsmacked: An Evening of Dance and Music with Food and Wine” April 6 from 5-8p.m. at the Waco Civic Theater.

This year, the dance company is back with what they hope will be an even better production: Gobsmacked. This month on Conversations with Creative Waco, we chat with Out on a Limb founder and artistic director Brooke Schlecte, along with Gobsmacked music director Chris Sies. The two have worked for a year with a team of dancers, musicians and other creatives to craft a contemporary dance performance choreographed to original musical compositions by Sies and his music team. Unlike Stimuli, which featured a series of short dances over the course of three hours, Gobsmacked will consist of one continuous piece in the three hour timeframe. The show’s narrative was influenced by the Enneagram, a personality test that includes nine archetypes, and will explore themes of self-discovery and vulnerability.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the evening is the team’s creative approach to food. Rather than serving three distinct dishes in a dinner-table setting, chefs from 14 local restaurants will serve bite-sized portions of dinner and dessert dishes before the show and during intermission. This allows artistry to take place not only on the stage, but in the creation of the decadent foods. The menu will include a cash bar and fare from The Backyard, Baked Bliss, Barnett’s Public House, Churros’ Time, The Grape Wine & Bistro, Helberg Handcrafted Barbeque, Heritage Creamery, Lula Jane’s, Milo All Day, Nightlight Donuts, Ridgewood Country Club, Sironia, Slow Rise Slice House, and Stone Hearth Indian Cafe.

Gobsmacked is scheduled for April 6 from 5-8 p.m. at the Waco Civic Theatre. Tickets are available for $40 at outonalimbdance.com.


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Get your creative career going in three easy (yes, easy) steps this spring. The Work of Artists is the creative professional development opportunity you didn’t know you were missing. This six-part series provides strategy and tools for conquering the business side of being an artist, and can be attended in whole or part depending on experience and professional needs.

 The Work of Artists is taught by Luann Jennings, a creative who has started several arts businesses herself and studied arts business, entrepreneurship, policy, and education at New York University’s School of Professional Studies, Columbia University, National Arts Strategies, and Lincoln Center Institute. Visit the Eventbrite page for registration and pricing.

Classes run April 1 - May 13.

Kieran-Sistrunk Fine Art Gallery enriches Waco's arts community

By Bradi Zapata
Sales, Marketing and Events Manager

The walls within the Kieran-Sistrunk Fine Art Gallery are illuminated with vibrant colors and intricate details that have been splashed onto exceptional paintings. Owners Mark Kieran and Susan Sistrunk encourage individuals to step away from their everyday tasks and relax by enjoying vibrant art during their grand opening March 1 from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. at 2120 Washington Ave.

Kieran and Sistrunk have breathed new life into an old, two story house built in 1910. Today, the chestnut stained walls gleam with the perfect blend of vibrant colors in Kieran and Sistrunk’s original paintings.

To the right of the main gallery, there is a small room that has been converted into a boutique/work space. The cozy room has one window, which faces the doorway and illuminates the details in beaded necklaces, colorful tunics and Kieran’s handmade leather bags. This space is the home of Kieran and Sistrunk’s Wandering Artisians Boutique. Even in the rainiest days, this vibrant room exudes feelings of awe and joy for those passing by.

Out back is a spacious backyard, which is currently being converted into a serene garden. Kieran and Sistrunk are working towards transforming this grassy space into a tranquil retreat for yoga and meditation. One of the primary reasons that they opened the gallery was to provide a comfortable space for individuals to step away from their fast paced lifestyles and find tranquility through art.

“We needed a place to be able to express something that isn’t commonly expressed in most of society,” Kieran said. “We have a tendency to always rush on to the next thing and try to constantly do more, but through art, you can share with people a more peaceful atmosphere.”

Before owning the gallery, Kieran and Sistrunk felt weighed down by the fast-paced life style which accompanied their demanding jobs. It was upon leaving these high stress environments, that they found a new love and appreciation for life. “[Opening our own gallery] seemed like an impractical goal when you think about how hard it is to make a living as an artist, but I think that if you’re passionate about something, then it will unfold,” Sistrunk said.

While Kieran and Sistrunk are new to owning a gallery, they are quite familiar with the eb and flow of Waco’s art community, as they have been residents for many years. Due to their active involvement within the arts community, they have noticed a change in the artistic climate within the past five years, predominately in past two years. They largely accredit this to Fiona Bond, Creative Waco’s executive director.

“I remember three years ago, it was dead downtown and the first time I met Fiona, she was marching down Austin Avenue with her arms full of Creative Waco tote bags, [she was] a woman on a mission.” Sistrunk said. “She’s tireless and is still on that mission. When you have people like her promoting the arts, and artists who are on a parallel mission, they inspire change.”

Bond helped Waco be recognized as a cultural arts district. Since this achievement, the individual artists and the arts community as a whole have flourished.

“The more of something you have in a community, the more illumination you can bring,” Kieran said. “I just think it’s cool that Waco is moving in an artistic direction because it brings so many different views together and allows people to be more open minded about things.” Likewise, Kieran and Sistrunk aim to give artists a platform to express their individual views and talents through solo exhibitions. On April 5, Deborah Reed-Propst, a mixed media artist, will have the first solo exhibition at Kieran-Sistrunk Fine Art Gallery, lasting one month. Her exhibition will showcase 25 pieces; 13 are brand new and at least eight are retro pieces, one from each of her eight series.

“I’m doing a new piece right now [that features] a jelly fish,” Propst said. “I always choose watercolors when I do an under the sea painting because the watery, blended and flowy character of watercolor   works well with fish, coral and jellyfish.” Propst selected this gallery to unveil her new works because she has been friends with Kieran and Sistrunk for many years and believes that the gallery is beautiful and comfortable.

“I think that it’s in the perfect area, I think it’ is opening at the perfect time and I think Waco needs a private gallery like this,” Propst said. “It’s going to have a very positive impact on Waco’s art scene.”

Kieran and Sistrunk also plan to educate the Waco community by hosting Mala necklace workshops, a beginning meditation class, yoga classes and artist gatherings.

CWCW: Conversations with Deep in the Heart Film Festival

By Kennedy Sam
Director of Marketing and Communications

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

For this month’s Conversations With Creative Waco, we learned how to find out about the awesome things going on in Waco and McLennan County, and spoke to Samuel Thomas, Co-Director of Deep in the Heart Film Festival about how to hit the highlights like a VIP.

Waco’s third Deep in The Heart Film Festival is taking over the city March 28 – 31. This event brings film makers from all over the World to Waco. During the four-day festival, you can catch film screenings, parties and panels taking place at the Hippodrome and other venues throughout downtown’s cultural district.

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The festival is an opportunity to see independent movies (short movies and feature length films) that you can’t see at a regular movie theater or online. And you can meet (and even walk the red carpet with) the film makers, writers, actors, directors and producers.

Whether you’re an avid movie watcher or looking to attend a new to do in town, this is the event will not disappoint! With genres ranging from comedy, animation and everything in between – the 111 film lineup caters to all. If you’re hesitant, don’t worry about “not getting it”, the team at Deep in the Heart purposefully selected relatable, story-driven films that are meant to connect with all audiences!

You can buy tickets to “blocks” of films with connected themes, or treat yourself and get a VIP pass to all the movies, events and parties. Rub shoulders with the next Tarantino, or dip chips with the next Emma Stone.

Grab your tickets today and immerse yourself in the world of film for a weekend!

Learn more about what to expect from this year’s film fest by tuning in to Conversations with Creative Waco where Rae Jefferson sits down with festival co-founder, Samuel Thomas.

Until then, if you’re looking for ways to get involved in Waco’s creative community, check out these resources!

  • Creative Waco’s calendar page – It’s the one-stop-shop for all the event calendars for the city (Waco CVB, Act Locally Waco, Waco Trib, and more!)

  • Waco App – Perfect way to find out events, dinning, and shopping close to you or across town. Available on Apple and Android phones.

  • Local App – Created by Facebook, it’s an easy way to keep up with what’s happening locally and discover what events your friends are interested in.

14 creative Valentine's activities from the heART

By Kennedy Sam

Director of Marketing and Communications

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You may have noticed the influx of all things fluffy, pink and heart-shapped because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner – tomorrow to be exact. For those looking to step outside the box, Waco is buzzing with creative events!

Whether you’re spending the day with your significant other, gal-pals, or celebrating #selflove, we’ve put together a list of special arts events for everyone. If you’re the type that would rather wait until the weekend to avoid the V-Day crowd we’ve got you covered too!

Wednesday, Feb. 14:

Mi Corazón, My Heart

Art Forum of Waco | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

For Valentine month, the Art Forum of Waco is hosting an international exhibition of art in various forms related to the heart. Find artwork from Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, as well as Texas and New Mexico.

Jazz Night at the Distillery

Balcones Distilling | 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Catch local musicians Evan Klaras & Greg Bashara and enjoy a glass of whisky. Open to couples, singles and groups.

Valentine’s Day at the Martin Museum of Art

Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University | 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The Martin Museum of Art is hosting a special Valentine’s Day event in connection with The Neoclassical Gaze exhibit, which will include Torch-lit guided tours, valentine printmaking, live music, and hors d’oeuvres. Print your own Valentine’s Day card between 2 - 5 p.m. Tours are at 5:30 pm, 6 pm., 6:30 pm, and 7 pm.

Galentine’s Day Paint Party

The Findery | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The perfect gal-pal event! Join The Findery for a chalk painting workshop where each participant will create a beautiful DOUBLE-SIDED door hanger, and learn distressing techniques and waxing. Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks to enjoy while you paint. Spots are limited!

Brews and Brushes

Bare Arms Brewing | 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Whether you’re solo or with a date, enjoy a pint of Bare Arms’ special Pomegranate Joule as you paint. Open to all painters – amateur, experienced or somewhere in between. This is a fun place to experiment, and enjoy yourself.

Valentine’s Date Night and an Evening of Spoken Word Jazz

Klassy Glass | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The event will feature live music, spoken word, featuring Mike Guinn, comedy and an open mic for those who want to make a love declaration to that special someone. The ticket will include dinner, wine and a show.

 

Friday, Feb. 15:

Mammoth Collective Exhibit Opening

Cultivate 7twelve | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Celebrate the opening of a special two-week exhibition that features art from Waco’s Mammoth Collective artists. Mammoth Collective is an up and coming group of young female artist in Waco who are creating work that is symbolic, vulnerable, and modern. Enjoy light bites, drinks and mingle with some of these talented women and discuss their art.

 

Live music by Taste

Taste by Kissing Tree Vineyards | 6 p.m.

Enjoy wonderful wine, live music by Jennifer Pisarcik & Jon Fox and delicious fine dining!

 

Moulin Rouge: The Shadowcast

Waco Hippodrome | 7 p.m.

A young Englishman in the Paris of 1899 becomes infatuated with Satine, a singer at the Moulin Rouge. However, she has been promised by the manager to a Duke in return for funding his next production. As the young lovers meet in secret, Satine’s wedding day draws closer but she hides a fatal secret from both Christian and the Duke. Support the Waco Civic Theater’s fundraiser.

 

Till Death Do Us Part – Murder Mystery Dinner

Brazos Theater | 7:30 p.m.

A night of love, marriage, and murder, where EVERYONE plays a role. Will you be the Mother of the Bride, the groom’s cousin or the Bride’s childhood friend? As friends and family come together for a very special evening, it will quickly turn into a night of mystery and mayhem – leaving one of the guests murdered! As the night progresses, secrets will be revealed, motives exposed and your sleuthing skills will be put to the test. Book your tickets and help solve the murder!

 

Live Music Weekends at Klassy Glass

Klassy Glass Wine and Bistro | 8:30 p.m.

Listen to The Dave Wild Trio while enjoying a glass of wine and small bites.

 

Saturday, Feb. 16:

Heart of Texas Poets Society

Cultivate 7twelve | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Enjoy selections from local poets or share your favorite poem during open mic.

 

12 Angry Jurors

Jubilee Theater | 7:30 p.m.

The play focuses on a jury’s deliberations in a capital murder case. A 12-man jury is sent to begin deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year-old man accused in the stabbing death of his father, where a guilty verdict means an automatic death sentence. Catch the play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15-16 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17.

 

Sunday, Feb. 17:

Peter and the Starcatcher

Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center, Baylor | 7:30 p.m.

Tony-winning “Peter and the Starcatcher” brings to life the origin story of Peter Pan, and playfully explores the depths of greed and despair… and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. Catch the play at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14-16 or 2 p.m. Feb. 16-17.

Find out more events happening around town year-round on our calendar page!

Black History Month: Highlighting Waco's Creatives

By Kennedy Sam

Director of Marketing and Communications

Portrait of Julius Bledsoe.    Courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Portrait of Julius Bledsoe.

Courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Kermit Oliver   Photographed by Khristopher Oliver

Kermit Oliver

Photographed by Khristopher Oliver

February 1 marked the beginning of Black History Month – a time when the nation celebrates and honors the contributions African Americans have played in shaping U.S. history. As we spend the month highlighting nationally recognized African American figures, it’s also important to highlight those who have helped to shape the culture in our community.

It’s no secret that Waco has produced many notable figures (i.e. Doris Miller, Steve Martin, Chip and Joanna Gains, and Jennifer Love Hewitt to name a few). Here are some African American cultural influencers in a range of art forms that we are proud to spotlight as sons and daughters of Waco . We know there are more, too. Please be sure to celebrate them and share their stories with us.

Julius “Jules” Bledsoe

Julius Bledsoe, a Waco native, known as an exceptional singer and composer that challenged the racial climate of the early nineteenth century. Born in 1897, Bledsoe grew up singing in the New Hope Baptist Church.

His extraordinary talent as a baritone singer allowed him to perform in various music halls and opera houses across the country and Europe where African Americans had not been allowed. Bledsoe is known for his famous role as Joe in the movie “Show Boat” where he sang “Ol’ Man River.”

Faune et Flore du Texas (1987) by Kermit Oliver   Photo by TexasMonthly.com

Faune et Flore du Texas (1987) by Kermit Oliver

Photo by TexasMonthly.com

Kermit Oliver

Kermit Oliver is a Texas born artist and painter. Oliver moved his family to Waco in 1984 where he worked night shifts as a U.S. Postal worker until he retired in 2014.

Oliver’s artistic career began in the 1960s when he was an art student at Texas Southern University in Houston. Within 10 years he became the first black artist represented by a major gallery in Houston. As his art gained popularity selling for tens of thousands of dollars, he continued his schedule of working nights at the post office and painting in the morning. Soon after, Hermès reached out to Oliver to design a collection of Southwest-themed scarves. Oliver became the only American in history to design scarves for the French fashion house – more specifically, 17 designs over 32 years.

Since retiring from the postal service, Oliver has continued to paint. More recently, he was recognized as the official Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist for 2017 and his painting “Tobias” is exhibited at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

Classie Ballou

Classie Ballou, a Lake Charles, LA native musician, is known as a musical pioneer combining the blues, jazz and zydeco to create his unique style. During his musical career spanning five decades he has performed across the country and throughout Europe alongside many musical greats like Etta James and Chuck Berry.

Ballou’s legacy in Waco dates back to the civil rights era when he performed in famous Walker’s Auditorium, the only black night club in town. From there he earned himself a residency performing at the club and has been in Waco since.

As his family grew, many of his children and grandchildren continued in the musical footsteps of their family patriarch. For many years Classie Ballou and the Family Band have graced the stage together across Central Texas and at the New Orleans Jazz Fest. His daughter CaCean plays the guitar, saxophone, and drums; son Cedric plays bass; grandson Cedryl plays the accordion and drums; grandson Cam’Ron is the front runner on drums and has been playing since he was 3. Look out for the Ballou family performing around town!

Kay Bell

Kay Bell has been a part of the Waco community for nearly a decade. Her passion for poetry and creative arts has driven her to organize Open Mic Poetry events across town. In January 2019, Bell presented her first stage play “Born to Win” to a sold-out crowd at the Waco Hippodrome during Martin Luther King weekend. Due to overwhelming support from the community it will be shown again Feb. 22 at the Jubilee Theater. Bell continues sharing her love for the creative arts by teaching Theater Arts at Connally Junior High School.

Art by Tashita Bibles

Art by Tashita Bibles

Tashita Bibles

Tashita Bibles is an artist, poet, and Waco native. Bibles views her poetry as her diary, and art as her therapy. She credits God and her love for poetry and art for helping her through “a low point in life.” In February 2018, Bibles started her business, Artist-N-U as a way to share her artistic gifts with the community. Bibles’ paint parties aim to celebrate creativity by making art accessible to all age groups. She aspires to make the world better one painting at a time. Bibles was recognized by Global Revive at their 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Empowerment Banquet for her artistic talents.

Ashley & Blake Brooks

Ashley Brooks, creatively known as Ashley Artisan, is a Waco transplant from Memphis, TN. Growing up in a city filled with a rich history of art, music and black culture allowed Ashley to connect with herself and the true expression of art and music. Further supported by her father, a recording artist, and mother, a phenomenal “closet poet”, Ashley quickly discovered music and art were her passions. She has since focused her talents on rapping, producing music, and illustrating the artwork for her projects. Ashley released her first song “Never Let Me Go” in August 2018 with many more in the works for this year.

Blake Brooks is a Waco native with longstanding ties to the city’s music community. Blake spent his younger years crafting his talents at Antioch Baptist Church under musical guidance from his father Thomas Brooks. Not only has Blake become a master of the bass, he also plays guitar and many other instruments. As a musician he has performed alongside well-known recording artists such as Ricky Dillard, Kim Burrell, Brent Jones, and more. 

As a unit, the Brooks enjoy creating music together and believe their bond adds a unique element to their sound. “It's an unreal experience to be able to do music with your best friend and the love of your life,” Ashley said. “It brings such a deep and intimate connection in the music.” In 2016, they created Good Vibes Waco, an entertainment company focusing on cultivating the talents of emerging artists in town. They host open mic nights, jam sessions and other live music events around Waco at venues like Common Grounds, The Jubilee Theater and Pinewood Roasters.

Tori Ewing

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Tori Ewing is a graduate student at Baylor University working towards a M.A in Communication with an emphasis on film & digital media. After spending the spring of 2017 interning at Sesame Street Workshop, she found a passion for creating and producing quality children’s media. Ewing hopes to one day own her own children’s production company.

Her first project (completed 2018), a pilot TV show for young kids called The Topaz Troop, was selected to enter the Kid's First Film Festival based in New Mexico, and recently received a Silver Award for Best Children's Short and a Bronze Award for Best Web Series/TV Pilot in the Independent Shorts Awards in Los Angeles.

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“01.16.19”

Photo by Andreas Zaloumis

Andreas Zaloumis

Andreas Zaloumis and his family are fairly new to Waco with December 2018 marking their first year in the community. Zaloumis credits Waco’s small town, family feel and growing entrepreneurial support as the driving forces pulling the family from Houston to Waco.

For Zaloumis, his interest in photography started as he captured photos of his young daughter, Kora. His style of photography highlights the natural textures and “perfect imperfections” of his subjects by utilizing minimal staging and editing. Zaloumis also creates short videos documenting sceneries around town and local businesses, such as Fox & Gray.

When he’s not snapping photos, you can find Zaloumis at his coffee cart, Thrst (also known as Third Space Theory Coffee), located in Cultivate 7twelve or pursuing his other passion in fashion, designing clothes and shoes. Check out some of his work here!

CWCW: A Conversation with Jazz Musician, Chuck Jennings

By Kennedy Sam

Director of Marketing and Communications

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

(From left to right) Rae Jefferson, Chuck Jennings, Kennedy Sam and Fiona Bond in the KWBU Studios on Jan. 15, 2019.  (KATELEIGH MILLS/KWBU RADIO)

(From left to right) Rae Jefferson, Chuck Jennings, Kennedy Sam and Fiona Bond in the KWBU Studios on Jan. 15, 2019.

(KATELEIGH MILLS/KWBU RADIO)

In January’s edition of Conversations with Creative Waco we had the chance to sit down with local musician and jazz leader, Chuck Jennings to hear about all things music, jam sessions and Waco’s jazz scene. 

Jennings was initially a self-taught guitarist before winning a place at prestigious Berklee College. Throughout his 38-year career as a full-time musician, Jennings has lived in many major music hubs from Los Angeles to New York City.

As a current Waco resident, Jennings’ partnership with the Central Texas Jazz Society has been instrumental in pulling together a community of top notch jazz musicians that are passionate about performing improvisational jazz in downtown Waco.

You can find Jennings and other local jazz artists at Cultivate 7twelve on the last Wednesday of each month for an improv jazz jam session. When he’s not performing at Cultivate 7twelve, catch Jennings performing around Waco at various venues like Waco Winery, Klassy Glass, and the High Top at the Hippodrome.

Chuck’s Jazz 101:

Want to educate yourself about jazz? Here is Chuck’s list of top jazz influencers

Miles Davis

Born in 1929 in East St. Louis, an area known for its “blues-drenched” music scene, Miles Davis began playing the trumpet at age 13. As both bandleader and trumpeter, Davis was a major pioneer in the jazz world earning himself eight Grammy Awards and 32 nominations. Check out a mix of Miles Davis’ best hits here.

John Coltrane

Chuck Jennings (far left) plays alongside other local artist at Cultivate 7twelve’s monthly jam sessions.  (photo by Cultivate 7twelve)

Chuck Jennings (far left) plays alongside other local artist at Cultivate 7twelve’s monthly jam sessions.

(photo by Cultivate 7twelve)

John Coltrane was a renowned saxophonist, bandleader and composer credited with shaping the jazz scene in the 40s and 50s. Coltrane worked alongside other greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. Check out a mix of John Coltrane’s best hits here.

Joe Henderson

Joe Henderson, tenor saxophonists and composer, emerged as one of the most influential jazz artists in the 1960s. Henderson could be described as a renaissance man – creating a distinct sound independent of the style typically performed by saxophonists of that era. Check out a mix of Joe Henderson’s best hits here.

Keith Jarrett

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Keith Jarrett like many young jazz artists of the 60s moved to New York City to further craft their skills. Jarrett gained major recognition in the late 1960s, after performing with jazz greats Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and Charles Lloyd. Due to his wild and melodic improvisational jazz style many considered Jerrett one of the most original musicians of the late 20th century. Check out a mix of Keith Jerrett’s best hits here.

 

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter is a noted jazz composer and musician who plays both the soprano and tenor saxophone. Shorter played alongside other notable jazz figures like John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, and co-founded Weather Report, a jazz fusion group. Recognized as a jazz fusion pioneer, Shorter has received nine Grammy Awards. Check out a mix of Wayne Shorter’s best hits here.

Find Chuck and Central Texas Jazz Society at Cultivate 7twelve on the last Wednesday of each month for jazz jam sessions.

CWCW: Light in the Darkness, a conversation with Dr. Lori Baker and Carlos Colon

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

By Fiona Bond

Executive Director

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We often hear people describing how the arts bring joy, beauty, quality of life, economic flourishing, make us happier, and make our environment more appealing. This is true and important, and we are daily inspired by these celebratory qualities at Creative Waco.

There is another “superpower” that the arts have, which is harder to define, but perhaps even more vital. It might seem like a strange discussion topic for the holiday season, but at a time of the year when we celebrate light in the darkness and redemption for a broken world, perhaps it is a good conversation to have.

The creative arts – music, dance, theatre, film, literature, visual art – give us language of hope in the hardest of situations. Uncoupled from the clumsiness of political posturing or the inadequacies of rational argument, the arts breathe defiant creation in the face of destruction, order against chaos, and light in the darkness.  

We discover it across the arc of human history: In exquisite art buried to honor the deceased; in heartrending music composed and sung in Nazi concentration camps; or in vivid cathedral windows crafted from bombed shards of stained glass.

 In December’s “Conversations With Creative Waco” on KWBU, I had a chance to talk to two of my “local heroes” who embody this reality through their work.

Carlos Colón is Assistant Director of Chapel at Baylor University. He is a musician, composer, liturgist, and cultural promoter. He was born in El Salvador, and at the age of 14, was forced to flee his home. He took refuge in Guatemala City before coming to the USA in 1986 to study music. he holds a B.M. from Belmont University and a M.M. from Baylor University.

 Colón’s international heritage, personal experience of civil war, and Christian faith infuse his music, which evokes themes of justice, peace, beauty, human connection, and time. In October 2018, his newest composition, “Te Deum Latinoamericano” was presented as part of the celebrations for the canonization of slain Archbishop Oscar Romero at the main Cathedrals and cities of El Salvador, to more than 75,000 attendees.

Dr. Lori Baker is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives, Collaboration and Leadership Development at Baylor University. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in anthropology and specializes in the molecular and forensic analysis of skeletal remains. She is founding executive director of Reuniting Families, a program that aids in the recovery, identification and repatriation of undocumented immigrants who perish during migration into the United States. Her work gives Lori a powerful but difficult platform as a spokesperson representing painful truths to governments and advisory bodies across the World. 

A Couple of Years ago, Lori and Carlos collaborated with film-maker Pilar Timpane to create a film about Lori’s work “Lamento con Alas” (“Lament with Wings”). Carlos composed a hauntingly beautiful score which infuses what might otherwise be a bleak story with a dimension of hope.

As they discuss this collaboration, I am struck by the capacity of the interwoven techniques of storytelling (cinematography and music) to de-politicize what is often a hot-button issue and instead, present a story of painful but shared courage, humanity, and light in the darkness.

We wish you and those you love a New Year full of light, hope, and creativity.

Holiday gifts that help Waco’s artistic community thrive

Photo Courtesy of Waco Symphony Orchestra and Events in Waco.  Waco Symphony Orchestra hosts The Nutcracker on Dec. 9.

Photo Courtesy of Waco Symphony Orchestra and Events in Waco.

Waco Symphony Orchestra hosts The Nutcracker on Dec. 9.

Photo courtesy of Waco Winery & Vinyards.

Photo courtesy of Waco Winery & Vinyards.

By Bradi Zapata
Marketing, Sales and Events Manager

Twinkling lights strung throughout the neighborhood, decorations merry and bright rested on counter tops and Christmas trees brimming with presents can only mean one thing; Christmas is in full swing. This year, get creative by giving a gift that helps Waco’s artistic and cultural community flourish. A number of local arts organizations offer memberships, local art and fundraising projects that make great presents for the art fanatic on any shopping list. Here are a few Waco treasures that’ll look great wrapped in a glimmering bow and placed under the tree, or stuffed in a bright red stocking on the fireplace mantle.

1. Local Art

Local art may be slightly challenging to wrap in decorative paper, but with ample sizes, colors, textures and techniques, there’s a piece for any wall needing a revamp. Purchase local art at a variety of places including Waco Winery, Anthem Studios, Christi’s InteriorsCultivate 7TwelveDichotomy Coffee & SpiritsKlassy Glass, Stanton StudiosStudio GalleryThe Art Center of Waco’s traveling exhibition, Milo All Day, Gather Waco and The Findery.

2. Memberships

Memberships are often gifts that keep giving long past December, since there are a variety of events and performances taking place throughout the year. Grab memberships from Cultivate 7Twelve, Waco Civic Theater, McLennan Community College (MCC) theatre and Waco Symphony Orchestra to experience a variety of performance and artistic styles. Cultivate 7Twelve offers two membership programs: Sower and Culturist. Sower memberships begin at $12 a month Culturist memberships begin at $35. Waco Civic Theatre 2018-2019 season memberships begin at $85 and are valid until May 20, 2019. MCC theatre 2018-2019 season passes begin at $40 and are valid until April 28, 2019. Baylor Theatre and Waco Symphony Orchestra offers memberships for the academic year, so look out for these memberships this summer.

3. Waco 52 playing cards

Photo by Bradi Zapata

Photo by Bradi Zapata

Gather around the kitchen table with friends and family and enjoy playing cards with card deck that certainly isn’t cookie cutter. Waco 52 began in 2017 as an art exhibition in Austin, Texas, which showcased the talents of 52 artists from Waco and McLennan County. After the exhibition, the pieces were printed on decks of playing cards, many showcasing signature people and locations in Waco like Doris Miller and the Alico Building. Waco 52 allows residents to hold a piece of home in the palm of their hands and take it with them wherever they go. Retailing for $19.99, Waco 52 playing cards can be purchased at locations including Christi’s Interiors, Common Grounds, Cultivate 7Twleve, Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits, Dr Pepper Museum, Interior Glow, Waco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Wildland Supply Co. All proceeds go toward the growth and development of the creative sector in Waco. Purchase them online and see the full list of retailers at Creativewaco.org/Waco 52.

4.     Deep in the Heart Film Festival VIP Pass

A VIP pass to the Deep in the Heart Film Festival fits perfectly inside a Christmas card and strung upon the tree. Give any movie-lover in your life this all access pass, which is valid March 28, 2019 - March 31, 2019.The VIP pass is $100 and includes access to all film screenings, educational sessions, receptions, after-parties, a free festival t-shirt and swag bag. Deep in the Heart film festival is Waco’s premiere independent film festival and is one of the top 100 best reviewed festivals. This film festival runs from March 28, 2019 - March 31, 2019 and screens films made to connect with audiences and hit them deep in the heart.

5.     Doris Miller Memorial’s donation

Photo courtesy of  Michelle Hanley

Photo courtesy of Michelle Hanley

Give back to Waco by making a donation to the Doris Miller Memorial. Located in Bledsoe-Miller Park on the east bank of the Brazos River, the memorial honors the bravery and heroism of Doris Miller. Waco native, Miller was the first African American awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not only does this memorial recognize an incredible hero, it provides a peaceful location for solitude and reflection. This Christmas aid Waco in sharing Miller’s remarkable legacy. Donors are recognized here.

For additional gift inspiration, head to the various creative businesses lining the streets of downtown Waco. With a variety of artistic mediums, there is surely something for everyone on your last minute Christmas shopping list.

This blog post first appeared on Act Locally Waco.

Thanksgiving, A Rat, and A Waco Treasure Hunt

Blek le Rat creates a tribute to Kurt Kaiser at Apex Coffee Roasters at 324 South 6th Street.

Blek le Rat creates a tribute to Kurt Kaiser at Apex Coffee Roasters at 324 South 6th Street.

Blek le Rat talks to a crowd of viewers while painting.

Blek le Rat talks to a crowd of viewers while painting.

Blek le Rat uses spray paint and stencils to create his world-famous street art.

Blek le Rat uses spray paint and stencils to create his world-famous street art.

Blek le Rat and supporters stand next to one of his street art piece’s in Waco, Texas

Blek le Rat and supporters stand next to one of his street art piece’s in Waco, Texas

By Fiona Bond
Executive Director

For some, Thanksgiving may come in a can of cranberry sauce. This year, for Creative Waco and our partners, it comes in a can (several, actually) of spraypaint.

Last week, “Blek le Rat,” world-famous Parisian street artist left his mark on Waco by painting six walls in the downtown Cultural District. This was a wonderful, culturally defining moment for our city, no matter how you look at it; but this particular project is testament to the vision and “leap of yes” of so many people. We’d like to take a moment to appreciate just what it took to get to this point.

“Blek,” born as Xavier Prou, pioneered the use of layered stencil spray-paint techniques to achieve speed, stealth, and artistic vibrancy. His technique became the “go to” method for a generation of iconic street artists, including the infamous (and still technically anonymous) British artist, “Banksy” (of auction-shredding renown).

Our thanksgiving story begins a year ago, when Summer Shine of Luna Juice Bar, saw the movie “Saving Banksy.” Being Summer Shine, she promptly tracked down Brian Greif, the star of that movie, to tell him that “Haight Street Rat,” the artwork saved in the story, needed to be brought to Waco. Brian said “yes”. Rebekah Hagman of Cultivate 7Twelve said “yes” to hosting an exhibition of street art to include the Banksy piece with outstanding work by local artists. The evaluators of Creative Waco’s new Arts Match Program said “yes” to a grant for something that had never before been tried in Waco (actually, this was the first time Banksy’s street art had been exhibited in Texas!). And Texas Commission on the Arts said “yes” to making a matching grant.

In hindsight, all this sounds easy, but at every step, a “no” would have killed the project.


Thanksgiving #1 is for Summer Shine and every single person in this chain that made the “leap of yes.”

Not only did the resulting exhibition, “Writing on the Wall,” generate the largest audience in recent memory for a Waco art exhibition, it kindled friendship with street art guru Brian Greif, his love for Waco, and his desire to do more here. When Brian mentioned that Parisian street art suberstar Blek le Rat (also featured in the “Saving Banksy” movie) was coming to the USA in a few weeks’ time, and asked if we would consider having him paint some walls in Waco, we were ready for another “leap of yes.” Only this time, money and logistics were required within an eyewatering timeline, and a whole new cast of people needed to be ready with a “leap of yes”

Thanksgiving #2 is for the Art Center of Waco staff and board, who provided the most exquisitely designed apartment in downtown Waco for hosting the visiting celebrity artists (kudos to architect Grant Dudley and architectural artist Bryant Stanton).

Thanksgiving #3 is for Terry and Elaine Stevens and Liz Fraley, who helped sponsor this project the moment they first heard about it.

Thanksgiving #4 is for our Board and staff at Creative Waco (who by now are veterans of making the “leap of yes”) for taking on the project management.

Thanksgiving #5 is for all the businesses that bravely said “yes” to investing in a work of art on their wall without knowing what it would be! Thank you Brett and Lauren Jameson and partners at Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits and Apex Coffee Roasters, Shane Turner, Jonathan Garza, and their partners at Turner Behringer, Sam Brown, Jacob Martinka, David Stoneking, and the team at Brotherwell Brewing, Claire Sexton and the Board of Art Center of Waco, and the Hagmans at Cultivate 7Twelve.

Thanksgiving #6 is for Rebekah Hagman and her team at Cultivate 7Twelve who hosted artist talks, parties, meetings, meals and tirelessly worked on all the stuff that doesn’t get noticed unless someone doesn’t do it!

Thanksgiving #7 is for Luna Juice Catering, Brotherwell Brewing, and Balcones Distillery who sponsored the wrap party with awesome food and drink. Mmmmm.

Thanksgiving #8 is for Brian Greif, Xavier (Blek le Rat), and Sybille Prou who poured themselves into our community, talking to high school, college and university students, artists, art lovers, passers-by, business and community leaders. Despite the frigid weather conditions (we promised them a balmy Texas fall), they brought warmth and curiosity to the project, ensuring that each piece of art was significant and meaningful for its context.

Thanksgiving #9 is the realization that Waco has what it takes to pull off something like this. Again. There’s more to come! (Let us know if you have a wall!)

Thanksgiving #10 Now you have an awesome thanksgiving treasure hunt! What better way to work off turkey stuffing and impress your out-of-town guests than to discover six new works of art by Blek le Rat in Waco. Did we mention that the treasure hunt starts with a coffee (cocktail?!) at Dichotomy? You can purchase holiday gifts, running gear and art along the way, and end up with a Waco-made beer. That’s #SmallBusinessSaturday sorted. #yourewelcome

Blek le Rat’s Violinist stands tall outside of Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits at 508 Austin Avenue.

Blek le Rat’s Violinist stands tall outside of Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits at 508 Austin Avenue.


Blek le Rat Waco treasure hunt:

Violinist: Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits (front entrance), 508 Austin Avenue

Selfie-Rat: Cultivate 7Twelve (The Undercroft), 712 Austin Avenue

Young Chopin: Waco Running Company (wall of parking lot), 700 Franklin Avenue

In Honor of Kurt Kaiser: Apex Coffee Roasters (wall facing Guess Family BBQ), 324 South 6th Street

Blek le Rat’s Selfie Rat is located at Cultivate 7Twelve (The Undercroft) on 712 Austin Avenue.

Blek le Rat’s Selfie Rat is located at Cultivate 7Twelve (The Undercroft) on 712 Austin Avenue.

Young Picasso: Art Center of Waco (north wall), 701 South 8th Street

Victor Hugo: Brotherwell Brewing (south entrance), 400 East Bridge Street

Poetry, wood sculptures and concerts: Waco Cultural Arts Fest is a Must

By Bradi Zapata
Marketing & PR Intern

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us on the air every fourth and fifth Friday of the month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Photo property of Waco Cultural Arts

Photo property of Waco Cultural Arts

Photo property of Waco Tribune-Herald

Photo property of Waco Tribune-Herald

Celebrate diverse talents of the local community at Waco Cultural Arts Fest on Oct. 5-7 at Indian Spring Park (101 N University Parks Dr.). The annual festival is Waco’s largest celebration of arts and culture in Waco and is comprised of ArtsFest, WordFest, FilmFest, ScienceFest, DanceFest and MusicFest.

Check out this month’s episode of Conversations with Creative waco on 103.3 KWBU fm to hear from festival founder Doreen Ravenscroft. In the meantime, read on to see what events to expect from each portion of Waco Cultural Arts Fest.

ArtsFest:

ArtsFest features fun children’s activities, such as face painting and crafting, alongside an arts market featuring wood sculptures, paintings, and an array of locally-made goods. It’s no wonder why Artsfest is the main attraction of Waco Cultural Arts Fest — it inspires creativity at every age. All events occur:

10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Oct. 6

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Oct. 7

All activities will take place in Indian Spring Park (101 N University Parks Dr.)

WordFest:

Celebrate the beauty of words with local poets, musicians and writers at Wordfest. All events are free and open to the public. Events include:

7 – 9 p.m. Oct. 5: Open mic

11:30 a.m. Oct. 6: Boom/Wow: Flash Essays and the “Bigger Picture” workshop

1 – 2 p.m. Oct. 6: “SCAMPER – Creatively Rewriting Our Poems” workshop

2 – 3 p.m. Oct. 6: Feature Poet Reading – Nathan Brown

3 – 4 p.m. Oct. 6: “Writing Life’s Stories from the Five Senses” workshop

7 – 9 p.m. Oct. 6: Anthology Reading

12 – 1 p.m. Oct. 7: “Open Mic Empowerment” workshop

2 – 3 p.m. Oct. 7: Writers Panel: Nathan Brown, Anne McCrady, and Michael Guinn

3 – 5 p.m. Oct. 7: Open Mic

All events take place at the Waco Convention Center (100 Washington Ave.) in Texas South Rooms 116-117

DanceFest

Get off your feet and move to the beat of Dancefest. Dancefest showcases professional modern dance and local talented dancers. Events include:

10 a.m. Oct. 5: Kids Dance Program

5 p.m. Oct. 6: Concert

7 p.m. Oct. 6: Concert (mature audience performance)

12 p.m. Oct. 7: Class

2 p.m. Oct. 7: Family Concert

All events take place at the Waco Convention Center (100 Washington Ave.) in the McLennan Room on the second floor.

FilmFest

Immerse yourself in African culture at “Celebrate Africa” with FilmFest. The film portion of the festival brings outstanding, thought-provoking films to Waco. Events include:

6:30 p.m. Oct. 5: Opening reception

7 p.m. Oct. 5: “Queen of Katwe” film to be shown

Oct. 6 details to come. Visit wacoartsfest.org for more information.

ScienceFest

Promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math exhibitions and demonstrations through Sciencefest. This festival gives all ages the chance to think outside of the box and learn in a creative and imaginative way. Enlighten and exercise your mind with hands-on activities, interactive exhibits, science-themed performances, demonstrations and much more. Events include:

Oct. 6 – 7 at the Waco Convention Center (100 Washington Ave.) in the Texas Room 113 – 115

MusicFest

Sit back, relax and listen to some good tunes with the Musicfest. This festival is great for the whole family because it features various musicians and music styles.

Performances to take place Oct. 5 – 7 at various times throughout the day. Find information regarding performers and showtimes at wacoartsfest.org.

All performances will take place at the Indian Spring Park Amphitheater between the Waco Suspension Bridge and Franklin Ave.


Take it from the professionals: you need business to excel in art

By Bradi Zapata
Marketing & PR Intern

Pastel Brush Strokes Beauty Makeup Facebook Cover.png

The Creative Waco team is gearing up for our new professional development program for artists and creatives, Work of Art, which kicks off next week. The eight-week course will be held in downtown Waco from Sept. 24 to Nov. 14. and will teach artists and creatives essential business skills on how to sell their work.

Work of Art instructor Luann Jennings reached out to artists from various states and creative disciplines, and asked them to share why they believe business knowledge is essential to succeeding in the arts and creative businesses. Here’s what they had to say:

  • “[Viewing my writing as a business] forced me to change my relationship to the work and to my audience. My work is more relational, and holds more respect for the people who receive it. I'm less self-indulgent. I'm also braver, far more willing to try things, see what connects with people, and follow that.”
    Ellen Seltz, novelist from Birmingham, Ala.

  • “One of the most pivotal realizations for me as an artist was that it actually IS a business and I actually AM a business owner. This allowed me think more holistically and strategically about the less glamorous parts of art-making, as well as more bravely and confidently about the artistic product and process. The work I'm doing -- whether it's budgeting, event planning, painting, designing, directing, producing, performing, etc. -- is work and it is worthy of remuneration.”
    Hannah Holman, theatre leader and advocate from Minneapolis Minn.

  • “This profession is a marathon; not a sprint. I personally had to sober myself to the financial realities of this business and learn to navigate the ebb and flow of getting work, then not getting work, and how to spend my time in the ‘in between times.’”
    Brit Whittle, actor from New York City, N.Y.

  • “Sacrifices are necessary for anything you want. Sacrifices include but aren't limited to: money / material goods, health, relationships, fame, fulfillment and time. The balancing of all of these is in constant flux. Many folks my age are embarking on one or more of the above that may have eluded them in their younger days.”
    Barbara Hawkins-Scott, voiceover actor and studio manager from Atlanta, Ga.

  • In my years of working freelance, we came to the end of each month with almost enough money to make ends meet. Almost. It was creatively draining to work so hard and then fall just short. I finally embraced the idea that we would never be financially comfortable. It seemed like embracing one of my biggest fears. But once I did it, everything got better.”
    Laura Robinson, costume designer from Kansas City, Mo.

Work of Art was developed by Springboard for the Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota. Instructors have taught the course in over 80 communities in the upper Midwest. This fall will be the first time that Work of Art will be held in Waco.

The eight sessions will cover: planning for a financially sustainable and fulfilling career, goals, productivity, effective communication in person and in print, what and how to charge, keeping the lawyers and the IRS happy, and more. The first session will cover Why Artists need Business Skills and is free of charge.

Register and find more information at creativewaco.org/work-of-art.

Artist Behind the Exhibit: Q&A with Pyrographer Marsha Wilson

By Bradi Zapata
Marketing & PR Intern

In the spring of 2017, Creative Waco partnered with the Honorable Doc Anderson and the Honorable Kyle Kacal, Texas State Representatives, to host a juried art exhibition featuring artwork by 52 outstanding artists from Waco and McLennan County. The exhibition was held in Austin for one month, then came to Waco for a brief period in the form of a pop-up gallery in the building that now houses Cultivate 7Twelve in downtown Waco. After the exhibition, the intricate exhibits were made into the Waco 52 playing cards. Each card in the deck is a different piece from the Waco 52 exhibition. Every card shares a captivating story and is a wonderful way to hold Waco in the palm of a hand.

Wood Burner Marsha Wilson stands with her pyrograph  Los Vaquero.  Photo by Bradi Zapata

Wood Burner Marsha Wilson stands with her pyrograph Los Vaquero.
Photo by Bradi Zapata

Tall in the Saddle  by Marsha Wilson

Tall in the Saddle by Marsha Wilson

Trail Boss  other pyrographs by wood burner Marsha Wilson Photo by Bradi Zapata

Trail Boss other pyrographs by wood burner Marsha Wilson
Photo by Bradi Zapata

Artist Marsha Wilson pyrographed the exhibit Tall in the Saddle, an interpretation of the African American cowboy statues, located in front of the Waco Suspension Bridge. Pyrographing (commonly referred to as wood burning) is the art of burning a design on wood, paper or leather with heated metal tips of various sizes. Wilson has been pyrographing for 10 years and spends an ample amount of time on each piece she creates; Tall in the Saddle took between 30 to 36 hours. Wilson shares the story behind Tall in the Saddle.

Q: What inspired you to create Tall in the Saddle?

A: [Tall in the Saddle] is inspired by one of the bronze statues down by the river at the suspension bridge. It is actually the African American cowboy [statue] dedicated to the cowboys that rode the Chisholm Trail … that status is larger than life, and looking at it makes you feel like a kid again. As a kid, my mom would take me to the rodeo and there was always a parade, and I remember how big those horses and those cowboys were; I was always super impressed by them. When I walked up to that statue  I felt like a kid again. I knew that that was the perspective that I wanted to take; Like you’re a little kid looking up.

Q: Did you create any follow-up pieces?

A: I decided to make the series and do the other cowboy statues too. Los Vaquero is the Hispanic cowboy and then the other [pyrograph] is named Trail boss. I love the way that the three of them look together, but that was just absolute accident.

Q: Why did you participate in the Waco 52 exhibition?

A: Fiona Bond [the Creative Waco Executive Director] encouraged me to participate because it would look good on my resume and was internationally judged. [Tall in the Saddle] was not what I originally submitted … but she saw it on Facebook and said ‘Marsha submit this one, it’s really good!’ That was very encouraging, so I did and it was accepted. I think  [it was accepted] because it’s such a dramatic angle.

Q: Has the Waco 52 exhibition increased the demand of your work?

A: Not that I can tie back to it directly, but I know that since I’ve been in Waco, the demand for my work has increased and a lot of that is the momentum from Waco 52 and Cultivate 7twelve … All of the exposure that I’ve gotten has been absolutely wonderful.

Q: How has being in the Waco 52 exhibition impacted you personally, aside from motivating two other pieces?

A: [All of the artists] got to go down to Austin for [the exhibition] and we celebrated with the Texas Representatives and that was just a huge confidence boost. It was the biggest thing that has happened in my art career … to get the feedback from the other artists, state representatives, and somebody like the international judges, I was just totally overwhelmed with encouragement. That was over and above any monetary value.

Q: What advice do you have for other artists?

A: Opportunities are everything, and if you’re like I was; sitting at home, doing my own thing at my own little table and only going to art fairs, your opportunities are limited … you have to make yourself available to meet people and talk to people, otherwise you will stay stagnant with your art.

Wilson loves to create bold pieces and make memories into beautiful art, that evokes happiness. After the Waco 52 exhibition, Wilson has had various pieces featured in Cultivate 7twelve art gallery, a gallery in Laguna Beach, CA, the Table Toppers fundraiser put on by Art Center Waco, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, the Waco Mardi Gras Ball, and she is looking forward to showcasing a unique pyrograph in a fundraiser put on by UnBound.

Tall in the Saddle is currently hung upon the walls on the second floor in Cultivate 7twelve. Tall in the Saddle in currently on display at Interior Glow. Waco 52 Playing Cards are available in store at many selected retailers, including Cultivate 7twelve, Common Grounds Waco, Christi’s, Waco Tourist Information Center, etc. Waco 52 Playing Cards can also be purchased online here. 

                             

8 times you can see Banksy (sort of)

By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Brian Greif, star of film "Saving Banksy," stands with "Haight Street Rat." The film documents his preservation of the Banksy piece from a building in San Francisco in 2010. He'll be present for a lecture at Cultivate 7Twelve later in September.

Brian Greif, star of film "Saving Banksy," stands with "Haight Street Rat." The film documents his preservation of the Banksy piece from a building in San Francisco in 2010. He'll be present for a lecture at Cultivate 7Twelve later in September.

Photos courtesy of Cultivate 7Twelve and Brian Greif.

Photos courtesy of Cultivate 7Twelve and Brian Greif.

This September, Waco will make state history as the first city in Texas to host a piece of street art from world-famous and anonymous artist Banksy. Although the public doesn't know for sure who the mysterious Banksy really is, the street artist's work is highly recognizable and makes satirical commentary on political and social issues across the world. Throughout September, Waco will host "Haight Street Rat," a Banksy piece saved from destruction in San Francisco in 2010, at local art gallery Cultivate 7Twelve.

Cultivate director Rebekah Hagman is on Conversations with Creative Waco this week to talk about how such a special piece of art is making its way to Waco. The exhibition, titled "Writing on the Wall," will feature local art inspired by street art and word-based creation. Hear the episode today at 8 p.m. on 103.3 fm KWBU, or listen to the recording here. In the meantime, check out this calendar (courtesy of Cultivate 7Twelve) of all the Banksy-related events happening at the gallery during the month of September. Don't miss special events with leading street art critic James Daichendt and "Saving Banksy" star Brian Greif.

FIRST LOOK COCKTAIL RECEPTION

6 – 11 P.M. THURSDAY, SEPT. 6

$30 per person. Tickets available here.
Includes screening of documentary “Saving Banksy” at the Hippodrome; gallery reception; champagne bar and light fare from Luna Juice Catering; lecture and Q&A from prominent art collector and star of “Saving Banksy,” Brian Greif. Cocktail attire requested.

FIRST FRIDAY EXHIBITION OPENING

6 – 10 P.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 7

Free and open to the public.
First chance for the public to see the installation for free. Includes live music; champagne bar from Luna Juice Catering; additional food vendors Summer Snow and Sweetness Desserts.

JAMES DAICHENDT ON “WRITING ON THE WALL”

6:30 – 7:30 P.M. SUNDAY, SEPT. 16

Free and open to the public.
Join us for this rare opportunity to hear from the top Street Art Critic in the US.  Jim Daichendt is an art critic and journalist for KECT's Artbound, the nation's largest public television station and the The San Diego Union Tribune. In addition, he is the chief editor of the academic journal, Visual Inquiry: Learning and Teaching Art. Daichendt holds a doctorate from Columbia University and graduate degrees from Harvard and Boston universities.  Not to be missed!

DINNER AMONG FRIENDS

7 P.M. – 9:30 P.M. MONDAY, SEPT. 17

$70/$85 per person. Tickets available here
A fine dining experience with leaders from the world of art and theology  with performances by poet and author Micheal O'Siadhail, composer and author Jeremie Begbie.  DINNER FEATURES: A three course Celtic-inspired menu from Barnett's Chef Elizabeth Pannabecker paired with wines from Barnett's exclusive wine library, beer selections from Brotherwell Brewing, and a whisky tasting with Balcones

BRUNCH WITH BANKSY FEAT. LUNA JUICE

11 A.M. – 1:30 P.M. SATURDAY, SEPT. 22

$38 per person. Tickets available here

Join us for a special twist on southern eats & hospitality as Luna Juice Catering appeases our palates with a myriad of delicious brunch items inspired by color & craft. Enjoy Chef Summer's vegetarian spin on a southern classic, Chicken & Waffles, paired with fresh brunch bellinis.

COCKTAILS WITH THE CURATOR

6 P.M. – 7 P.M. THURSDAY, SEPT. 27

Free and open to the public.
Q&A-style panel discussion with co-curators of exhibition “Writing on the Wall,” including star of “Saving Banksy” Brian Greif, Creative Waco executive director Fiona Bond, Cultivate 7Twelve director Rebekah Hagman.

AN EVENING WITH BRIAN GREIF

6 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. FRIDAY, SEPT. 28

$12 per person. Tickets available here
Extended lecture, discussion and Q&A with prominent art collector and star of “Saving Banksy,” Brian Grief. Includes light bites and drinks courtesy of Luna Juice Catering. 

COFFEE AND CLOSING THOUGHTS

10 A.M. – 12 P.M. SATURDAY, SEPT. 29

$5 per person. Tickets available here
Celebrate the closing of the “Writing on the Wall” exhibition with Brian Greif. Includes pastries and coffee. 

13 chances to see the award-winning Baylor Symphony Orchestra

By Bradi Zapata
Marketing & PR Intern

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Stephen Heyde, The Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies and Director of Orchestral Activities at Baylor University, and Music Director/Conductor of the Waco Symphony. Photo provided by Stephen Heyde.

Baylor Symphony Orchestra.  Photo property of Baylor Media Communications

Baylor Symphony Orchestra. Photo property of Baylor Media Communications

Baylor Symphony Orchestra celebrated its four time consecutive win of the American Prize in Orchestral Performance in the College/University Division this summer. The Baylor Symphony is the first ensemble across the competition to win first place for four consecutive years in a single category, which is significant because the American Prize recognizes musicians ranging from the high school to professional levels. Leading the Baylor Symphony Orchestra is Stephen Heyde, The Mary Franks Thompson Professor of Orchestral Studies and Director of Orchestral Activities at Baylor University, and Music Director/Conductor of the Waco Symphony.

On this episode of Conversations with Creative Waco, Stephen dissects the role of a conductor and shares what the American Prize win means to him and the ensemble. Stephen has conducted festival orchestras throughout the country and has been involved in music for more than 50 years.

The Baylor Symphony Orchestra is set to start the school year off strong with their first concert on Sept. 27, but the fun doesn’t stop there. There are more than a dozen opportunities to see this noteworthy ensemble throughout the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 season.

Major performances by Baylor Symphony Orchestra:

  • 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. on Sept. 27 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

  • 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2019 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

  • 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on May 2, 2019 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

These events are free of charge and open to the public.

 

Collaborations between Baylor Symphony Orchestra and various ensembles:

  • 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the Baylor Campus Orchestra. This performance is free.

  • 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the Baylor A Cappella Choir. This performance is free.

  • 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 at Baylor University’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the Baylor Opera Theater. Tickets for this concert will be available at the Baylor University Theater Department’s Box Office. Call 710-1865 or email theatreboxoffice@baylor.edu for additional information.

  • 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Baylor University’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the Baylor Opera Theater. Tickets for this concert will be available at the Baylor University Theater Department’s Box Office. Call 710-1865 or email theatreboxoffice@baylor.edu for additional information.

  • 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at Baylor University’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the Baylor Opera Theater. Tickets for this concert will be available at the Baylor University Theater Department’s Box Office. Call 710-1865 or email theatreboxoffice@baylor.edu for additional information.

  • 2 p.m.-4 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Baylor University’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the Baylor Opera Theater. Tickets for this concert will be available at the Baylor University Theater Department’s Box Office. Call 710-1865 or email theatreboxoffice@baylor.edu for additional information.

  • 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Nov. 29 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the combined choirs for the annual “A Baylor Christmas.” Tickets will be available at https://www.baylor.edu/studentactivities/index.php?id=944508.

  • 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the combined choirs for the annual “A Baylor Christmas.” Tickets will be available at https://www.baylor.edu/studentactivities/index.php?id=944508.

  • 3 p.m.-5 p.m. on Dec. 2  at Baylor University’s Jones Concert Hall in Baylor Universities Glennis McCrary Music Building. Baylor Symphony Orchestra will collaborate with the combined choirs for the annual “A Baylor Christmas.” Tickets will be available at https://www.baylor.edu/studentactivities/index.php?id=944508.

These events are open to the public.

Baylor Symphony Orchestra will also present a Children’s Concert on Nov. 13 at Baylor University’s Waco Hall, but this event is only available for fourth and fifth grade elementary school children.

Taking Flight: a farewell to ArtPrenticeship 2018

By Stefanie Wheat-Johnson
ArtPrenticeship Project Manager

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Left: Join us for the official Mural Wrap Party and enjoy food, music, and origami! Above: Family and friends of ArtPrenticeship artists and students got a first look at "1,000 Hopes for Waco" after its completion earlier this month.  Photo property of Waco Tribune-Herald.

Left: Join us for the official Mural Wrap Party and enjoy food, music, and origami! Above: Family and friends of ArtPrenticeship artists and students got a first look at "1,000 Hopes for Waco" after its completion earlier this month. Photo property of Waco Tribune-Herald.

 

When you grow and nurture a living thing, you must have a vision of what will take shape. This is true whether you’re a gardener planting a sapling tree, or a new parent meeting your infant and then guiding her toward maturity. All endevours that require this tending and nurturing have learning seasons and times of challenge or growth. This summer, it has been a true delight to witness the ARTPrenticeship program take shape and become a living and breathing, powerful force. It’s claimed a space in Waco and has left a beautiful mark on our city’s landscape and soul.

The souls for whom this program has had the primary impact are now preparing for their senior year in Waco ISD. Our apprentices took hold of the vision shared by mentors, and made it their own. Each one of these young people has left an indelible mark on the star of ARTPrenticeship, Creative Waco, and all of our partners. I find myself humbled, joyful and deeply satisfied when I think of our overall collaborative effort.

In the span of a summer, with remarkable and invaluable support from our community, I had the privilege of connecting the dots and creating the right structures to support out mentor artists and 10 apprentices in their work. Many things went according to plan, and the things that did not were overcome or our adaptations became an improvement to our original vision. Those of us in the mentor positions grew and learned right alongside these high school students and their voices made this experience a truly rich one. With each task accomplished, skill learned and goal completed, we could see a part of our present and future city connecting and soothing themselves in work that they took pride in.

While all of this great (challenging, hot, sweaty) labor was happening on our work site, there was an equally significant work happening off site. This work manifested itself in the generosity and encouragement of supporters and sponsors, and in the plain old enthusiasm of anyone and everyone who connected with the project. Each of you lifted up our apprentices and helped them see themselves in new light. Thank you. There is nothing like sharing a vision and then seeing it spread! As we move toward the launch event to celebrate our first completed mural, we’re already beginning to plan and dream again. I believe that ARTPrenticeship has a special part to play in the growth and change in Waco today. It inspires, challenges and connects us as humans in community and celebrates the best in us all.

The stories of these young people are writ large and embedded across a vibrant and breathtaking canvas on 2nd and Jackson in downtown Waco. Their stories, imprinted on our hearts, are paired with their hard earned determination and growing confidence. They have so much to be proud of when they see those stunning forms on the wall come together. They have memories with each other and their generous artist mentors and the skills they gained. Their resumes will speak clearly for them, their hearts and minds are primed for more creative work and they’re one step closer to being who they are each meant to be. The work was the mural, but the mural was in some ways only a lovely by-product of this project; I can’t wait to see what happens next for each of our apprentices and artists.

This is new. This is not your typical internship or arts program. It gets your attention and astonishes you at what can be achieved. The vision I hold in my mind’s eye is of ARTPrenticeship becoming a bold and beautiful voice in the chorus of artists and creative opportunities that work together in Waco. With our city’s youth at its core - it has the power to heal, grow and connect like nothing else. For myself, this project has lifted me up, provided me with new vision and renewed passion. I am deeply thankful to have been a part of seeing 1,000 Hopes take flight this summer.

ArtPrenticeship: team near end of mural work

By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

With much planning, diligence, and sweat, the ArtPrenticeship team of four teaching artists and 10 apprentices is more than halfway through the summer internship program. They've made great strides over the past several weeks despite several days of rain and are nearly finished with the mural. Below you'll see young creatives hard at work, as well as some of the incredible sponsors who popped in to see how things were going. These generous partners have agreed to supply a $600 stipend for each student at the conclusion of the program, helping Creative Waco reach its goal of paying a meaningful wage to every artist we work with — regardless of age.

You can see the mural-in-progress at 315 S. University Parks Drive, in the same shopping strip as the new Bicycle World. Keep up with our progress on Facebook or on Instagram at @ArtPrenticeship.

ArtPrenticeship: delighting in the creative journeys of young artists

By Stefanie Wheat-Johnson
Project Manager, ArtPrenticeship

The dining room table is littered with paper, books and crumpled birds. The afternoon light catches an array of patterns over the beautiful paper, and makes my daughter’s auburn hair gleam. She is studious and diligent with her lips pressed firmly together in concentration and enthusiasm. My heart is so full when I think of her, folding and making and folding again. In the past seven years, my delight has been in parenting three children who glory in making and doing. It is one of the most satisfying aspects of being a mother - seeing them tell stories with whatever is at hand. As a creative who has not always found her footing easily, I have developed a quiet determination to nurture artists at any age on their journey. This summer it is my delight and honor to facilitate a program in which young creatives will get the opportunity to collaborate and tell part of Waco’s story under the guidance of four artists who share this passion for nurturing our young artists and serving our community.

Stefanie's youngest daughter joins the apprentices in designing shirts.

Stefanie with two of her children.

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Creative Waco, with the support of the Chamber of Commerce, has chosen to pilot the ArtPrenticeship program this year in the hopes that this will afford a myriad of opportunities for young people in the Waco ISD and professional artists in our community to create work of public art that will reflect and elevate our neighborhoods. The intended end product of this work is a beautifully designed and well executed mural in downtown Waco. This is a wonderful chance for Waco’s youth to engage with the public, develop skills and relationships that will only deepen with time, and afford them a chance to collaborate in telling a story through art in a public space.

The morning light is pouring through the windows into the airy second story studio space at Cultivate 712 and illuminating tables covered in paper, pencils and a colorful variety of markers. There are heads bowed over sketch books and animated voices discussing how to translate dreams and stories, images and reveries onto the paper in front of them.This is week two of ARTPrenticeship. We’ve hired 10 brilliant and passionate young artists through Prosper Waco and Waco ISD’s internship program, and already we are seeing just how they will fit into this beta test. We’re hearing some clever and intuitive minds open up and share their stories with each other and each of our apprentices has a vision of what Waco is to them. This summer, we’re privileged to hear and see some of that take form.

Among the dreams, there have already been opportunities for our apprentices to hear from local experts in varied fields about what it takes to prepare a site for a mural, how to engage with business owners and entrepreneurs from any line of work, and they’ve learned how to present themselves in a professional manner. Conversations about how artists really get work and support themselves have taken place, and a whole new world is being fleshed out before them. While they’re learning, they’re constantly challenging our team to be our best selves and to grow alongside them. Iron sharpening iron is a metaphor we’ve mentioned to each other more than once as we see dreams meet reality in light of learning new skill. The interaction strengthens all and prepares a great foundation for the work of bringing vision to life.

In my role as project manager, I’m delighting in the same joys I see in my home. This discovery of new concepts, a clarification of old ones, and a deepening of understanding and desire for growth and skill is unfolding right in front of me. Alongside our four mentor artists, I get the privilege of witnessing these young people bravely step up and volunteer their abilities and work hard to learn what all creatives must learn in order to reflect their community and tell their stories; they are learning to listen and to collaborate, and they are sharing their gifts and challenging their weaknesses. We are only at the beginning but what I see before us as we enter our design week, and support them through preparation to paint this mural, is beautiful.

Before the end of this month, all of Waco will see this work take shape as they enter downtown for work or pleasure, and visitors to our city will join us in witnessing the beginning of what I hope is a work with great future here. In the morning light, Monday through Thursday, these young people have committed to putting paint on walls and discipling themselves to follow technique that will create a quality work that will move us all. In the same way our mentors and staff are holding and sustaining these young creatives, I can feel our community gathering around to do the same from all directions. Each day our team remarks to one another, “it’s been a great day, and it’s only going to get better”. And that is what moves me: seeing each other, connecting and growing together, getting better, bringing color to the world around us and remembering why we are all here. Thanks for nurturing us.

New mural program gives creative reins to Waco teens

By Magen Davis
Public Relations Graduate Intern

By the end of this summer, downtown Waco will be home to a new mural.  But unlike existing pieces in the area, this work of art will be crafted by an unlikely group of creatives: 10 Waco ISD high school students working alongside a team of professional artist mentors.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • ArtPrenticeship is an internship program organized by Creative Waco, Prosper Waco and Waco ISD that will teach a group of 10 Waco ISD high school students, or apprentices, the ins and outs of managing a creative project.
  • Four artist mentors will guide the apprentices from concept to completion, designing and painting a mural on the side of a newly completed building in downtown Waco.
  • We're in search of wage sponsors to serve as an accountability partner for performance throughout the summer and help provide compensation for each apprentice at the end of the program.

Students spent the first week painting their official ArtPrenticeship t-shirts to get their creative gears turning.

Students formed goals to guide their participation in the summer mural program.

ArtPrenticeship has roots in the Cincinnati ArtWorks program that Waco leaders learned about on a Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce intercity visit in September 2017. ArtWorks employs professional artists and apprentices ranging from ages 14 to 21 to complete public art projects across Cincinnati, including hundreds of murals on the sides of buildings that are several stories tall.

Creative Waco has borrowed this model and shaped it to fit our own community. ArtPrenticeship is a unique opportunity for creative students to hone their artistic abilities while also learning professional skills necessary to thrive as an independent artist. Emphasis will be placed on safety while working on a mural jobsite, calculating costs, ordering materials, and the importance of collaboration and communication between artist, client and community.

The students will work between several sites across downtown Waco, with most time spent at the mural site at 315 University Parks Drive, a shopping strip next to Bicycle World.

For our program’s pilot year, the students were selected from a diverse pool of applicants through Prosper Waco and Waco ISD’s summer internship program. Two teaching artists and two assistant artists will guide the apprentices through the mural process. Between them are several years of teaching experience, as well as expertise in a wide range of artistic media, including mural installation and painting.

One goal of ArtPrenticeship is to pay all participating students a meaningful wage. Creative Waco is in search of wage sponsors at $600 per student. Sponsorships not only provide a financial reward for program completion, but also ensure accountability for their productivity throughout the program. If you'd like to make a donation toward an apprentice's wage, please click here or email us at info@creativewaco.org.

Creative Waco would like to extend a special thanks to our sponsors: Baylor Philanthropy, Cooper Foundation, Magnolia Foundation, Waco Public Improvement District (beautification grant), Mitchell Construction, Turner Behringer Development, Terry and Elaine Stevens, 1519LLC, and Langerman Foster Engineering. ArtPrenticeship would not be possible without the enthusiastic support and resources we've received from these businesses and community leaders.

5 ways to celebrate Juneteenth & black culture in Waco this summer

By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

This post is an extension of the Conversations with Creative Waco radio program on 103.3 KWBU fm, where we take you behind the scenes of art and culture in Waco. Catch us live on the fourth and fifth Friday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

On June 19, 1865, news of black emancipation from slavery made its way to the furthest corners of Texas. This event would later come to be known as Juneteenth, an American holiday especially celebrated by communities in the south. Waco's annual Juneteenth Weekend Extravaganza is the largest celebration of African-American heritage in Waco, drawing a diverse crowd from across the Central Texas region and beyond to celebrate the importance of health, family, and creative identity in black communities.

On this week's episode of Conversations with Creative Waco, we chat with Juneteenth coordinator Sophia Strother about how the festival, slated for June 15-17, has expanded to celebrate more aspects of black culture than ever before. From an internationally recognized musical guest to a brand new scholarship pageant, the Juneteenth Extravaganza is bigger in every way. All members of the community are invited to join the weekend of celebrations! Check out each linked facebook event for time and location details.

1. Mr & MIss Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant // Friday, June 15
A new event, the scholarship pageant will provide $5,000 in scholarship awards to a male and female high school student from the Waco area. The pageant will be held at the Waco Hippodrome, providing the perfect stage for students to earn the title of Mr or Miss Juneteenth through singing, dancing, acting, spoken word, and poetry. The winners will also be provided with resources like college tours, college prep resources, and etiquette skills. This event is free to the public.

2. Family Fun Day feat. Dru Hill // Saturday, June 16
The longest running portion of the festival, Family Fun Day will include food, art, and musical performances by Dru Hill, Bigg Robb, and more. Additionally, the event aims to raise awareness of various health issues in the African-American community, so there will also be a number of community and health services provided by festival sponsors. Pre-sale tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

3. Black Bold Art Exhibition // Saturday, June 16
This new showcase of black artistry will take place during Family Fun Day. The exhibition is being curated by the Central Texas Artist Collective, or CTAC, a local group of professional artists in the McLennan County area, and aims to shine light on the forgotten history of African-Americans. Curators are accepting works from black artists across Texas.

4. Father's Day Gospel Blowout // Sunday, June 17
The final event of the Juneteenth Weekend Extravaganza will be the Father's Day Gospel Blowout. The celebration will use music to recognize fathers, father figures, and black families on Father's Day. Grammy-winning gospel musician Myron Butler will headline the free event, along with performances from community groups.

5. Juneteenth Parade // Saturday, June 16
Although it isn't technically part of the Juneteenth Weekend Extravaganza, the annual Juneteenth Parade will be from 9-11:30 a.m .on Saturday, June 16, before Family Fun Day begins. The parade is a beloved community tradition organized by the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce, and is another fantastic way to celebrate the creativity and culture of African-Americans in our city.