A mammoth-sized find: how the local monument came to be

Courtesy of Waco Mammoth National Monument and Dominick J. Cirincione

Courtesy of Waco Mammoth National Monument and Dominick J. Cirincione

By Rachel Nelson
Interpretive Park Ranger, NPS; 
Waco Mammoth National Monument

The year was 1978. Two teenage boys were hunting for arrowheads in a creek bed on the outskirts of Waco, Texas. While they were unsuccessful with their pursuit for Native American artifacts that day, their quest would not go unrewarded. They would uncover a mystery so huge, you might even refer to it as a mammoth-sized find that was the only one of its kind!

That’s the story of how Paul Barron and Eddie Bufkin, both of Waco, accidently found the first Columbian Mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) bone at the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Their good fortune led to a team of experts and volunteers from Baylor University to uncover what the National Park Service refers to as “the nation’s first and only discovery of a nursery heard of Pleistocene Mammoths.” So far, paleontologists have unearthed 24 Columbian mammoths, three camels, and a few other Ice Age creatures. 

The real mysteries lie in why these animals chose to inhabit this area and what happened to them. Was it the climate that attracted them? Was it the landscape? What did they eat and drink when they were here? And the biggest questions of all, how and why did they perish? Visitors can enjoy guided ranger-led tours to see “in situ” remains (fossils left where they were discovered) and form their own hypotheses that may remedy these questions. Rangers share information about when these animals were roaming around Central Texas and what Ice Age life was like for them. 

Excavation at the site commenced in 1978 and was put on hold in 2001. Leaders within the City of Waco, Waco Mammoth Foundation, and Baylor University recognized the importance of preservation for the site. The partners’ mission was to protect the area and the fossil remains so future generations can enjoy them too. A successful fundraising campaign resulted in the Dig Shelter opening to the public on December 5, 2009. It is only one of two climate-controlled dig sites in the United States. At the same time, the partners appealed to Congress to declare Waco Mammoth a unit within the National Park Service. Their efforts were denied twice, however, on July 10, 2015, President Barack Obama proclaimed the site as Waco Mammoth National Monument through the Antiquities Act. This designation provides the protections needed in order to continue the site’s education and preservation missions. 

Guests can participate in guided tours of the dig site that begin every 30 minutes and last 45 minutes to an hour in length.  No reservations are required and small tour fees do apply. Rangers lead visitors from the Welcome Center down a 300-yard paved path to the Dig Shelter. The tour path is 100% accessible without steep grades or stairs. Golf cart assistance is available if needed. 

The site also features a half mile nature trail, the Eagle Trail, a tenth of a mile Deer Loop trail, and a picnic area to enjoy lunch outside. Visitors often bring binoculars to spot birds and other wildlife while visiting the park. The young and young-at-heart engage in educational activities, including the Waco Mammoth Junior Ranger Program. Check out the calendar page for more information about programs and events.

Located just 7 miles northwest of downtown Waco, Texas, the site is easily accessed from I-35. While in town, be sure to visit the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University for more educational fun. Guests also often make a stop at Magnolia, owned by HGTV’s Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. For directions and more information about the area, please visit our website and Waco Heart of Texas tourism. We look forward to your visit!

A Small Miracle With Big-Picture Ripples

By Fiona Bond, Executive Director of Creative Waco

(L to R) Claire Sexton & Meg Gilbert of Art Center of Waco, Jennings Sheffield of SPE and Rebekah Hagman of Cultivate 7Twelve

(L to R) Claire Sexton & Meg Gilbert of Art Center of Waco, Jennings Sheffield of SPE and Rebekah Hagman of Cultivate 7Twelve

This week, Waco’s arts community achieved a small miracle that will have big-picture repercussions for Waco’s reputation as a community with a vibrant, connected, and welcoming community of artists and emerging arts leaders. As a result, local artists are getting some unforeseen new opportunities and exposure.


Last week, a building survey revealed a structural emergency for the Art Center of Waco, located on MCC’s campus. Suddenly, one of our community’s flagship arts venues found itself without its facilities for offices, classes, school visits and a major exhibition they had partnered with a National Organization to bring to Waco.


This was potentially disastrous – not just for the Art Center, but for Waco’s reputation in the wider arts world. The (National) Society for Photographic Education (SPE) was poised to come to Waco this weekend for its Annual Conference for the South Central Region of the United States. The Art Center was set to host events and two exhibits of outstanding photographic work by some of our nation’s top photographers and their students.


I’m sure SPE members would have understood if this had to be cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances”, but Waco’s growing reputation as an emerging and vibrant hub for art and artists would have withered a little in the process. But guess what? Within 24 hours, Waco’s network of artists and arts professionals had pulled together an outstanding solution that will send a powerful message to all those professional artists coming to our city for the conference. Even better, the conference-goers will have the added benefit of meeting local artists and seeing their work, too.


Kudos to Meg Gilbert, Claire Sexton and the team at the Art Center who worked tirelessly to make sure they could honor every commitment they had made to host this prestigious arts event in our community. Kudos to the team of local and regional SPE artists, professors and teachers who volunteered their time and worked late into many nights to plan and hang the exhibition in a brand new and very different venue. Kudos to Rebekah Hagman and the team at the brand new Cultivate 7Twelve art center (at 712 Austin Avenue), who said “yes” to hosting the SPE exhibition the day before she opened her new arts center to the public.


A special kudos goes to the artists and creatives based at Cultivate 7twelve who put their own artwork to one side in order to extend Waco-style hospitality to artists from beyond our community. Thankfully, they will be rewarded in ways they may not have anticipated. Their artwork will now be seen by SPE conference-goers and the collectors and buyers that accompany that event as well as by the stream of Silobration visitors to the downtown area.


This kind of leadership, co-operation and willingness to set aside the “me” for the “us” is a powerful signal to the wider world that Waco’s creative sector is becoming more confident, more strategic, and poised for breakthrough future developments.


YOU are invited:

In the meantime, Waco’s artists and art-lovers are invited to attend the SPE exhibition launch party from 6:30pm at Cultivate 7twelve this evening (Friday Oct 13) and to participate in (free) SPE conference sessions SEE DETAILS HERE.


There’s more:

This weekend’s visitors who travel the free Silo District Trolley will see not just Cultivate 7twelve, but a number of newly or recently opened galleries and businesses that display and promote work by local artists, artisans, and craftspeople. Every one of these has their own story of the ripple effect of a creative community on the rise. You can view all the places to buy local art/craft in Creative Waco’s new online CREATIVE DIRECTORY, which launched at last week’s awesome Waco Cultural ArtsFest.

Staff, artists, and volunteers at  Cultivate 7twelve  toasting to success

Staff, artists, and volunteers at Cultivate 7twelve toasting to success

11 things to do in Waco this weekend (plus where to find more!)


By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

This weekend in Waco is stuffed to the brim with creative events! From the annual Waco Cultural Arts Fest, to several grand openings, there’s a lot to see and do. Here's a list of just 11 of the amazing things going on around town today through Sunday, Oct. 8.

Some listings, such as the festivals, don’t include exact times because there are a number of events happening. Please visit accompanying links for full schedules, pricing, and more details.
1.    First Friday – On the First Friday of every month, businesses in downtown Waco join together to offer specials, extended hours, live music and much more.

•    Friday evening, Various downtown Waco businesses
•    www.facebook.com/FirstFridayWaco

2.    Grand Opening: Cultivate 7twelve – A new gallery in Downtown Waco. Meet the artists, enjoy live music, and lift a glass to toast Waco culture.

•    Friday @ 6 p.m., 712 Austin Ave.
•    www.facebook.com/waco7twelve/ 

3.    Grand Opening: Waco Winery – Featuring a gallery of local artists, free sangria tastings and a sneak peak of their new rooftop patio.

•    Friday @ 5 p.m., 708 Austin Ave.
•    www.facebook.com/wacowinery/ 

4.    Grand Opening: Gather Waco – A party to celebrate the opening of a new home goods store. Join them for bites and bubbles to toast the opening and be the first to shop in the store.

•    Friday @6-9 p.m., 719 Washington Ave.
•    www.facebook.com/gatherwaco/ 

5.    Waco Cultural Arts Fest – Friday through Sunday, join us in shining a spotlight on the arts and our community and the art that draws us together each year! The event includes Artfest, Dancefest, Wordfest, Filmfest and Sciencefest.  

•    Filmfest: Celebration Africa – Bringing the best in thought-provoking films and innovating crafts celebrating African culture and experience. This portion of Artsfest will include “Queen of Katwe”, a film telling the story of a 10-year-old chess player in Uganda, screenings of other selected films, and special appearances by directors Dr. Dapo Adeniyi and Jud Fokwang.
            Friday-Saturday, Waco Convention Center

•    Wordfest: A ‘festival within a festival’  offering an exciting variety of events for written & spoken-word artists of all ages, styles, languages, genres, and levels.
            Friday-Sunday, Waco Convention Center

•    Dancefest: A professional modern dance festival in Central Texas brings “off the grid” modern dance where locals and semi-locals can call {254}dance-festival their new “Stomping ground.”
            Friday-Sunday, Waco Convention Center

•    Sciencefest: The fun and excitement of science will be brought to life through hands-on, interactive exhibits, science-themed performances and demonstrations, and family-oriented science entertainment.
            Saturday-Sunday, Waco Convention Center

•    Musicfest: Series of performances from local musicians and creatives on the mainstage in Indian Spring Park, between the Waco Suspension Bridge and Franklin Avenue.
            Friday-Sunday, Indian Spring Park Amphitheater

6.    AprilNOctober – All women poetic showcase featuring local artists.

•    Friday @7:30-10:30 p.m., Lee Lockwood Library and Museum
•    wacoheartoftexas.com/event/aprilnoctober/ 

7.    FIESTA! – A fundraiser benefitting local Hispanic students interested in starting their Higher Education journey. The event will include $1 carnival games for kids, $12 raffle tickets, a DJ, a performance by our local Ballet Folklorico and more.

•    Saturday @ 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Bosque River Stage at MCC
•    wacoheartoftexas.com/event/fiesta/ 

8.    Dogtoberfest – benefiting the Animal Birth Control Clinic, this fun event will celebrate Oktoberfest and man’s best friend.

•    Saturday @ 12 p.m., Waco Hippodrome
•    wacohippodrometheatre.com 

9.    Grand Opening: Thomas Leath Gallery – A new gallery featuring beverages and bites.

•    Saturday @ 5-8 p.m., 2012 N. Valley Mills
•    www.facebook.com/ThomasLeathGallery

10.    First Saturday Improv Comedy Show – Comedians make up scenes on the spot based on audience suggestions. Focuses on a different theme each month.

•    Saturday @ 8:30-9:30, Brazos Theatre
•    www.brazostheatre.com/upcoming-shows.html 

11.    Texas Music Flood Relief - The Texas/Red Dirt music community began devising ways to help victims after hurricane Harvey, which birthed a string of concerts with the goal to raise as much money as possible for those in need.

•    Sunday @ 12-10 p.m., Backyard Bar, Stage & Grill
•    www.texasmusicflood.org/ 

This isn’t a comprehensive list, so be sure to check out the Waco CVB Calendar of Events to keep track of everything that’s going on today through Sunday. Search for “Waco TX” in the App Store or Google Play to download a free Waco event app to plan your weekend on-the-go!

What to expect at Museum Marketplace

By Meg Gilbert
Executive Director, The Art Center of Waco

Every time my parents come into town, we go to the Dr Pepper museum. That may sound like an exaggeration. It is not. My dad has always been crazy about Dr Pepper floats. Although I had visited the soda fountain area of the museum many times growing up, I am embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t actually gone into the museum exhibition space until I was a student at Baylor. I had been missing out on so much!

The Museum Association of Waco has created an event for people who are missing out like I was. Museum Marketplace is a reception for the public to visit booths hosted by many different local museums with information about current exhibitions and programs. It will take place next Thursday, Sept. 28 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. In addition to door prizes, refreshments and maybe a snake from the Zoo, here is a sneak peak of what to look for next week at Museum Marketplace!

Baylor University Institute for Oral History

Have you ever gone to a Waco Symphony performance and wondered how it began? Or maybe you have seen the bright ALICO sign at night and wondered about its history. The Baylor Institute for Oral History has created an app that will give you the history of landmarks and organizations all over the city. Not only is this app easy to use, it is fascinating! The Institute for Oral History has done an incredible job of compiling information about Waco’s history and placing it in a modern format that can travel with you wherever you go. Find the app here: http://wacohistory.org/.

The Institute for Oral History will also have a laptop at the event with access to more than 4,000 oral history transcripts with two-thirds of those featuring complete interview audio. Their most recent project highlights Survivors of Genocide. View the exhibit here: http://www.baylor.edu/oralhistory/survivors.

 Participants a the Dr Pepper Museum's  Create a Soft Drink  program.

 Participants a the Dr Pepper Museum's Create a Soft Drink program.

A Makey Makey keyboard from the Mayborn Museum.

A Makey Makey keyboard from the Mayborn Museum.

A piece from the Art Center's  F  loral Still Life class.

A piece from the Art Center's Floral Still Life class.

A screenshot of the Waco History app.

A screenshot of the Waco History app.

Mayborn Museum

How do you encourage innovative students? By providing fun, innovative workshops for teachers! The Mayborn Museum received approval from The Texas Education Agency to provide continuing and professional education (CPE) workshops for educators. One of the workshops explores the uses of the Makey Makey device which uses technology to turn everyday objects into a keyboard. This device can help to engage learners and make learning more accessible to all. Sign up for the Makey Makey workshop here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/makey-makey-workshop-preview-at-museum-association-of-wacos-museums-marketplace-tickets-36908843344.

The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute

Have you ever considered making a whole new flavored soda? Through the Create a Soft Drink program students experiment with the soda making process using club soda, syrups, and creativity. Students work in teams to decide their flavor combinations and they can even create a label for their new soda, complete with soda name, logo, and sometimes slogan. The Dr Pepper Museum also offers a Waco: Home of Dr Pepper tour. During the tour, students can examine the well in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Building and listen to information about the history of the well and bottling process.

The Art Center of Waco

Do you need to see bright paintings to spark your creativity? The current exhibit at The Art Center is a dual exhibition by two Waco-area art educators. Lost & Found by John Storm and Cash Teague is a selection of work in pencil, watercolor, acrylics, wood, and more, presented for the first time to central Texas. This colorful and creative combination exhibit closes Sept. 30. If you are looking to create artwork this fall, The Art Center is offering a Floral Still Life Painting Class, taught by Trisstah Wagstaff, beginning Oct. 3 and running through Oct. 24. The class is for beginner to intermediate painters, and students will be able to complete a new painting in each of the four class sessions. More information can be found at artcenterwaco.org/events.

10 things you never knew you could find at the Dr Pepper Museum

Old Corner Drug Store

By Belle Bressler of the Dr Pepper Museum

Check out these 10 things you probably wouldn't expect to find in the 23 soda poppin’ stops at the Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute!

1) Old Corner Drug Store

This famous drug store, owned by Wade Morrison was located just a few blocks away from the Museum at the corner of 4th and Austin. Our model Old Corner Drug Store is one of the first stops to see at the Museum! The Old Corner Drug Store includes the soda fountain, the cigar counter, and the pharmacy. Come in and listen as Dr. Alderton tells the story of Dr Pepper’s invention.

2) Bottling Equipment & Meyer-Dunmore Bottle Washer

All Dr Pepper was bottled on the first floor of the AMBC building, where you can find the bottling equipment and Meyer-Dunmore Bottle Washer. The machine on the left is from 1898 and was manually operated by one worker. One worker could bottle about eight Dr Peppers a minute on this machine. The machine on the far right was fully automated. To speed up the process this machine bottled about 20 Dr Peppers a minute.   

The Meyer-Dunmore Junior bottle washer is a smaller version of the one that was used in the bottling plant. Back in the early days of the soft drink industry, companies recycled used bottles by refilling them. At that time you would purchase your Dr Pepper and pay a deposit on the bottle. The bottles were then brought back to the plant where they would clean them in a machine just like this one!

3) Artesian Well

Located next to the bottling machines is the well that provided water in the early years of Dr Pepper bottling. An underground aquifer of artesian water was the source. The water from the well was pumped to the third floor to be filtered and distilled, then it came back down to the first floor through hoses. In the 1920s the well was filled with broken bottles and forgotten until the restoration of the building in the 1980s. They excavated to the depth of 27 and a half feet, which is what you can see today!  

4) 1924 Ford Truck

Model T delivery trucks were used to haul Dr Pepper from the bottling plants to country stores or service stations. You’ll notice it’s different from modern 18 wheelers!  You can find this Model T parked outside Wilton’s Landing on the second floor of the AMBC building.

5) Selling Soda: Your Favorite Commercials

Sing along to your favorite Dr Pepper jingle! Stop in our theater located on the third floor of the AMBC building. Here you can find your favorite Dr Pepper commercials on repeat. 

6) Good for Life Mural

Painted by C.B. Morgan in the 1940s, the mural was restored in 1990 and moved to its current location. Take advantage of this fun photo opportunity! The mural is located out in the courtyard.

7) Liquid Lab

Become your own beverage chemist, or take a look at what is behind the bubbles! Live shows are presented throughout the day. Explore our love of soda pop with some poppin’ experiences in the East Wing Building. Show times are posted in the lab and at the admissions desk. 

8) Out-of-the-Ordinary Raceway

Open for contestants of all ages. Pick your car, place it in the starting blocks and let it roll. Dr Pepper began sponsoring racecars in 1998 as a marketing strategy. The Dr Pepper logo was first seen at NASCAR on the #50 car whose most famous driver was Tony Roper, and continues today with David Ragan in the #23 car.

9) Holt Beverage Company Bottling Line

This mock line demonstrates 7UP bottling between 1975 and 1985 by the Holt and Getterman families. Watch the bottles as they travel down the conveyor belts and fill with 7UP.   This gallery was named in honor of the Holt-Getterman family who are a great example of the success and growth of the soda industry through its unique franchise system. In 1936, E.E. Holt, president of the Holt Beverage Company, signed an exclusive contract with 7up for distribution in the nine counties surrounding Waco. Soon after, the company changed its name to the 7up Bottling Company of Waco.

10) Frosty’s Soda Shop

Our 1950s soda fountain is where you get some handmade Dr Pepper. Mix it with creamy Blue Bell Ice Cream for a perfect treat! Make sure to stop by before leaving the Museum!


Visit the Dr Pepper Museum throughout the year Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 12 to 5:30 p.m. Discounts are available for seniors, students, and military guests. Visit www.drpeppermuseum.com for more information and pricing.

Waco 52 Artist Q&A: Rebecca Edwards

By Alexia Galaviz
Creative Waco Intern

Sketch of Rebecca Edwards by her husband, Joel Edwards, who is also a Waco 52 artist.

Sketch of Rebecca Edwards by her husband, Joel Edwards, who is also a Waco 52 artist.

Rebecca Edwards is a photographer and native West Texan who now calls Waco home. The Waco 52 artist's passion for photography has been a pulse throughout her life. Read on to find out more about Rebecca's chosen craft and her hopes for Waco 52. 

AG: What type of art do you create?

RE: I'm a photographer. And lately, since really doing the kind of photography I love to do takes a lot of time and I don’t have that, I've been using Instagram, which is just a tool. It sort of seems like it cheats (laughs) from time to time just because you can add the filters and all that stuff, but as far as a creative outlet, it's something I really enjoy doing.

Rebecca's Waco 52 piece "Guardian"

Rebecca's Waco 52 piece "Guardian"

AG: What is your earliest memory of art?

RE: Oh gosh, earliest? Well, as far as in my medium, when I was just out of eighth grade and went to Washington D.C., I had a 110 Kodak camera — one of those thin ones, but you’re too young to remember that (laughs). I took one roll of film with me — one roll of film for four days — that was just impossible. I took picture after picture, and I just wanted to capture what I saw.

My earliest memory is my dad would draw just for fun, and so I would join him in coloring. One of my grandmothers had a huge tub of crayons and blank paper for days, and the other grandmother always had those paint with water water-coloring books that had little dots on them. So it's just always kind of been around, not necessarily appreciating fine arts, but being creative and finding outlets for that has always been around.

AG: Why do you make art?

RE: Because I can't help it (laughs). It's just really a way to express feelings without words. I journal and write, but I have found that making art is a faster way of communicating ideas and thoughts, and people can pull whatever ideas and thoughts out of that versus my words that are telling them what to think. It's faster and sometimes more effective, but sometimes misses the point so it's fast and loose, I guess.

AG: If you could have dinner with an artist or creative from and art form, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

RE: Oh my gosh! Ansel Adams, that’s so easy. He’s a photographer of the early 20th century, and he’s known for his black and whites of national parks. If I could go back in time and tag along with him — I’d rather go back and have, you know, spend a weekend tagging along with him to the national parks. He would have this 8x10 camera, and he would balance it on top of his car.

AG: Do you have any tips for beginners?

RE: Well, I guess it depends because the iPhone and digital photography is so readily accessible that it's easy to, say, just shoot and shoot and shoot and eventually hit upon a great composition or a great piece that fits you personally as an artist. But really go back and study the masters and what made them masters at not just composition of photography, but composition of good art and what makes it good. So, I guess, just go back to the basics instead of just charging ahead and exploring the medium. Really learn what art does and why it’s good.

AG: What is your dream for the future of the arts in Waco?

RE: I’ve been a Wacoan longer than I’ve been anything else, and so I’ve seen kind of the shift from “Uh, (the arts community) is kind of there, but it’s really underground,” to where it's blossoming and people are seeking it out rather than all of the Waco artists saying, "Hey, we're here, we're here.” But it really is blossoming and a beautiful thing.

The first glimmer of something hopeful was when Katie Croft opened the (now closed) Croft Gallery on Austin, and I just really want something for that space. It's awesome and all kinds of beautiful that Waco 52: The Pop-Up Exhibition is opening there. That’s really exciting for that space to be used for what I saw that space to be. Maybe (Croft Gallery) was a little bit before the city’s time, but that space is right, I think, for something else.

AG: Why do you think Waco 52 is important for our community?

RE: Because of its breadth. There was so many artists that I’m like “Oh, you’re in it too?” Speaking personally, this is really the first big thing I’ve been in. I’ve had my work shown, but it’s really kind of been people doing me a favor or it's for my church or different venues like that. But this is more of a broad showing of what Waco has to offer, and its reach is broader just because the playing cards — who knows where they can go. It's portable, you know?

So, I think that showcasing the number of artists that Waco holds, plus showcasing what those artists view as inspiring about Waco and its surrounding area, I think that that is just very important for the development of our Cultural Arts District and for interest outside of Waco to shift its attention to our city. It's a beautiful thing; it's awesome. I’m very honored to be a part of it.

See Rebecca's piece at Waco 52: The Pop-Up Exhibition at 712 Austin Ave. during the month of August. Click here for more details. Follow us on Facebook to learn about events at the gallery, including farm-to-table dinners, Saturday morning yoga, and a Gospel Brunch.

10 animals you can find at the Mayborn Museum

By Emily Carolin
Exhibits, Communication, and Visitor Services Intern, Mayborn Museum Complex

This post is courtesy of our friends at the Mayborn Museum. They've got loads of educational and kid-friendly activities for the season, so be sure to make them part of your summer fun! Here are 10 animals you probably didn't know you could see at the Mayborn:


1.      Come visit our lettuce-chomping box turtles, who have been with us since the opening of the Mayborn Museum in 2004!

2.      Did you know that a baby elephant weighs over 200 pounds at birth and stands at three feet tall? You can see our baby elephant skeleton in the Cabinet of Curiosities hall.

3.      Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the surface of the Brazos River? Our Creek Tank hosts crayfish, snails, grass shrimp, sunfish, and mosquitofish to give you a glimpse an underwater world.

4.      Can you think of anything that measure 19 feet long? We can! Our humpback whale skull is so large that it is displayed vertically in the Mayborn Museum.

5.      HISSSSSSSSSSSSS! Do you know you what insect makes this sound? Come check out our creepy crawlies in the Invertebrate room.

6.      Have you ever seen an animal that walked the Earth before the dinosaur? Meet our plesiosaur in the Cretaceous Period room.

7.      WE HAVE DRAGONS! Bearded dragons, that is.

8.      Discover how animals camouflage and physically defend themselves in our Texas Forest exhibit. Once there, see if you can find the following animals: bear, turkey, raccoon, owl, fox, armadillo, bobcat, and squirrel.

9.      Are you afraid of snakes? We aren’t, come check out our Desert King Snake, and Texas Rat Snake.

10.  Do you know what the official Texas state mascot is? See if you can find our three Texas Longhorns

Austin or bust!

By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

On May 12, local artists were invited by State Representatives Charles "Doc" Anderson and Kyle Kacal to display art in the lower rotunda of the Texas State Capitol. Artists, city and state leaders, supporters of the arts and drivers in the cultural growth of Waco gathered at the Texas State Capitol for the launch of Waco 52, an exhibition about Waco and creatives who call it home.

Check out photos from the Waco 52 VIP Launch below, and be sure to keep an eye out: we'll soon be releasing the date and location of a Waco-area exhibition of Waco 52!

Tune in to our new show on NPR

By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

We've got some exciting news!

Starting today, Creative Waco is partnering with KWBU, our local NPR affiliate station, to bring you a new radio program called "Conversations with Creative Waco".

The show will take you behind the scenes of the Waco's creative and cultural events and into the lives of the people who make them happen. The first segment airs today on 103.3 KWBU-FM at 11:30 a.m. and again at 8 p.m.

Out on a LImb Dance Company  Photo from WacoTrib

Out on a LImb Dance Company
Photo from WacoTrib

Today's program features Brook Schlecte, executive director of Out on a Limb Dance Company. She will discuss her company’s upcoming performance, Stimuli; her career as a dancer and choreographer; and the creative challenges associated with performing modern dance in Waco.

Conversations with Creative Waco is a collaboration between Creative Waco and KWBU. The show will include interviews with some of the movers and shakers in Waco’s ever-developing cultural hub. Guests will range from artists to educators to event planners who discuss the inner workings of their craft and how it fits within the framework of Waco’s creative community.

The program is currently hosted by Michael Incavo, a reporting intern at KWBU and a public relations intern at Creative Waco. He is a jazz multi-instrumentalist who performs regularly around Waco, Houston and Austin, and has been syndicated on the Texas Standard.

The program will air on the second and fourth Friday of every month. We'd love for you to listen in on our conversations!


Sharing special stories at pop-up museums

By Matthew Doyen

This article is courtesy of Act Locally Waco, a local organization that aims to "build channels of communication that facilitate community participation, collaboration and the free flow of information and ideas with the end result of making Waco a great place to live for every person of every level of income." Like their Facebook page to stay up-to-date on things to do in Waco, and for more insightful words about Waco from locals.

I love Harry Potter. My friends love Harry Potter. We watch the movies, listen to the audiobooks, and read the tattered paperbacks. We are so magically spellbound by the series not only because of our (continued-into-adulthood) desire to attend Hogwarts, but also because of the way that Rowling shares her story. She is a magnificent storyteller and believes that “there's always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” We are transported when we hear her story, but also when we grasp our wand replicas, flick them in the air, and pronounce “Wingardium Leviosa.”

Certain objects, like a wand, or a medal, or a toy, are so powerful that they can tell a story in a few sentences that can be just as emotional as a seven book saga. They can make us make us laugh, make us cry, and make us think. The best part is that while not everyone has a wizarding world in their mind, everyone does have a treasured object in their possession. Susan Mullaly, former assistant professor of art at Baylor, emphasized this point in her book What I Keep. In it, members of the Church Under the Bridge are photographed with an item that they have kept safe against all odds. It is overtly simple, but extremely moving. For the past couple of months, the Museum Association of Waco has been attempting to temporarily collect and display more of our cherished objects and to share the stories that are connected to them. The concept is called a pop-up museum and its success is up to us.

Our first pop-up museum was in the Local History Room at the Waco-McLennan Central Library on Austin Avenue. The library’s theme for the month was You Are Where You Live so we asked participants to answer a simple question with an object: What does Waco mean to you? We received eleven extraordinary objects that were displayed for two weeks. Unassuming things like a wedding invitation and a medal told the adventurous stories of meeting new friends and conquering new endeavors. The proud owner of a Bearathon medal wrote, “During my time in grad school, my friends have bonded over our journey to running the Bearathon. We have trained hard, run many miles, and have consumed many carbs! This medal represents our accomplishments and our great experiences together.” Another participant who brought a wedding invitation shared a similar story. “When I came to Texas, I didn’t know a single person. It was scary. But then some amazing people invited me into their lives. This wedding invitation represents one of the many memories I have made with them.”


Our second pop-up museum was at the Ball Performing Arts Center for McLennan Community College’s Hansel and Gretel opera performance. To relate to the theme of the opera, we asked participants to bring an item that reminded them of a childhood memory. We received seven very special objects and their stories. Many of the objects referenced some of the most important people that we have in our lives: our grandparents. One participant wrote about a dog fence topper that “was mounted on the fence in my grandparent’s backyard. We spent so much time playing in their backyard growing up. When they died and we sold their house, each grandkid kept one of these dogs.” The owner of a Rubik’s Cube mimicked that common sentiment. “I got my first Rubik’s Cube from my grandmother and ‘solved’ it by taking off the stickers and putting them in the right spots. Later, I learned how to solve one. Today, I still love doing puzzles!”

Our next pop-up museum will be held on Saturday, April 22 at the Farmer’s Market. Theme will be PLAY! We are inviting everyone to bring an item that can be played with and enjoyed by others. In the end, objects can make it easier to share personal stories and to connect with foreign strangers (and, if you’re Lord Voldemort, to live forever). We used to proudly share them during kindergarten show-and-tells, but have since had fewer opportunities to do so. The Museum Association of Waco is trying to change that through the hosting of its pop-up museums. We hope to see you at one soon with your precious object and your amazing story!


Matthew Doyen is the coordinator of the Museum Association of Waco’s Traveling Community Museum. He will (hopefully) graduate from Baylor University in May with an MA in Museum Studies. When not looking for his next paying adventure, he enjoys exploring Waco’s food scene and hanging with his majestic dog, Tex.

10 places to purchase local art in Waco

By Rae Jefferson
Director of Marketing and Communications

As a nonprofit focused on growing and supporting the arts in Waco, we receive many questions related to the cultural and creative climate of the city. We are, of course, more than happy to provide answers and often find ourselves talking about practical things like funding opportunities for local arts organizations, as well as exciting events like our Waco 52 exhibition at the State Capitol in May.

But in the last couple years, one question has continued to rise: Where in Waco can I buy local art? 

On the surface, it may seem as if there aren’t many places in Waco to purchase original works of art from local artists. However, that just isn’t the case. Even though Waco may not occupy the biggest plot of land in Texas, there are a number of galleries and studios across the city offering work from artists of diverse mediums and backgrounds. Creativity abounds in Waco and we have just the list to help you get your fix of original, local art.




Christi's Interiors

Christi's Interiors

Christi's Interiors

Christi's Interiors

1.    Christi's Interiors is a shop owned by former "Trading Spaces" designer Christi Proctor. The store is on Upper Austin Avenue and features upscale home decor, designs, and art produced by locals.

Christi's Interiors Facebook page
1023 Austin Ave.

2.    Studio Gallery is a gallery and framing store that has been open since 1970. The shop currently features work from 10 local artists who's work can be seen on the store's website. Studio Gallery also specializes in restoration of photos, frames, and art.

4712 West Waco Drive

The Art Center of Waco

The Art Center of Waco

3.    The Art Center of Waco is a truly creative space. The Art Center rotates exhibitions from local artists, in addition to an outdoor sculpture garden. It also offers a number of courses in several mediums for artists of all ages and skill levels, and sponsors an artist-in-residence who works out of studio space on the second floor.

1300 College Drive

4.    Dichotomy is a fantastic coffee and drink shop. That, however, hasn’t prevented it from also showcasing local art on its walls. Coffee, cocktails, and curation.

508 Austin Ave.

5.    Interior Glow is housed on the first floor of the beautiful Praetorian building in Downtown Waco. This high-end home decor shop would be incomplete without the original works of art that are for sale on its walls. Bru Coffee is also located in the same space (art + coffee = yes).

601 Franklin Ave.

Klassy Glass

Klassy Glass

6.    Klassy Glass is a wine bar and bistro with walls boasting dozens of works by local artists. Sip a glass of wine, enjoy the day's lunch special, and purchase quality pieces of art from Waco artists during your next trip to Klassy Glass.

723 Austin Ave. # 1

7.    Anthem Studios is on the fourth floor of the Praetorian, making it a great stop after visiting Interior Glow. Anthem is an art gallery and studio space that houses several local artists, so there might be an opportunity to meet the artists who's pieces are for sale on the walls.

601 Franklin Ave.

8.    Papillon Antiques is located on Upper Austin right next to Christi's and offers a wide selection of European antiques and gifts, as well as original art. Like Studio Gallery, the artworks can be seen on the shop's website.

1025 Austin Ave.

9.    Stanton Studios is an architectural art studio specializing in wood, glass, and metal. Work from Stanton Studios can be seen in churches and other structures across Waco. During the holidays, the studio sells mouth-blown glass vases and ornaments and even offers do-it-yourself sessions to the public.

318 Rogers Hill Rd

10.  The Findery is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. The farmhouse-style shop includes clothing and accessories, as well as home decor and art. The Findery is made up of six different vendors under one roof.

501 South 8th St.



In Waco for Spring Break? 10 Activities Your Family and Friends Will Love!

By Rebecca Edwards

Waco is full of great activities for kids this Spring Break!  Here are our top ten ways to enjoy quality time with your family and friends for Spring Break 2017!

10        Outdoor Play at the Silos

If you’re a Waco native or visitor, the outdoor space at the Silos is a must-visit.  From the ever-green turf with yard games and swings to the ever-changing garden and topiary tee-pee, just the grounds themselves are worth a visit.  Not to mention the food trucks, with local favorites like Common Grounds and Luna Juice Bar, it’s a perfect spot for an afternoon snack.


9          Skate World Waco

One of my favorite things to do as a child was roller skate.  Our local rinks are great places to escape back to childhood with our children.  Skate World is having daily specials, including free or reduced admission and concession discounts.  If you haven’t been, this week is great opportunity.

8          Downtown Photo Walk

On two afternoons during Spring Break, our wonderful library is hosting a downtown photo walk.  Meet at the Waco Hippodrome at 2:00 on Monday for a downtown tour.  Then, on Wednesday, the walk meets at the "Branding the Brazos" longhorn sculptures by the Suspension Bridge.  Bring your camera, and wear your walking shoes!  A great way to see our lovely city up close.

7          Cameron Park Zoo

Spring Break is a popular time to be at the zoo, and the City of Waco is ready with a transit bus schedule to additional parking areas.  There will also be special food vendors on site to help fill hungry bellies.  Families can purchase tickets in advance and skip the line at the entrance.  A membership to the zoo is also a great value.  Be sure to try to see Baby orangutan Razak, born January 12th.  The primate team is keeping an extra close eye on him, but he is out from time to time for the public to see.

6          Waco’s Murals

Did you know Waco has over twenty murals all over town?  Use the list from Waco Fork and see if you can find them all.  Don’t forget to find out the story behind each one.


5          Cameron Park

With its ample river front trails and abundant play-scapes, Cameron Park is the ultimate [FREE] leisure destination in Waco.  The iconic Lover’s Leap provides a panoramic view of the Waco area.  With plenty of space to spread out, Cameron Park is a lovely patch of beautiful natural scenery right in the middle of the city.  Check out the free app which includes detailed trail maps!  The City of Waco will host a game of Capture the Flag on Tuesday at 2:00.

4          Waco Hippodrome

Waco’s 'Grand Dame', this restored historic theater is always fun to visit.  The atmosphere cannot be beat, and we love the food and drinks you can order during a movie is more than convenient.  For the week of Spring Break, The Hippodrome is showing The Wizard of Oz on the big screen (see Mayborn Museum’s events below).  And once you revisit that classic, be sure to enjoy seeing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off again.  Both films have multiple showings during the week.

3          Waco Library Programs

One of our favorite [FREE] things in Waco is the Waco-McLennan County Library.  Not only are there limitless stories in which to get lost, but also dynamic programming that keep my children curious about what will be next.  This year, our library is leaving the library!  That’s right.  Throughout the week of Spring Break, while all the books and resources that we are accustomed to will still be at the library, “Library On The Go” will be held at different locations throughout Waco.  Visit The Art Center Waco, Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place, The Waco Police Department, and the East Terrace House while enjoying great stories and themed crafts at each location.

2          Mayborn Museum

Our family has always had a membership at the Mayborn Museum since our children were little.  But even as they get older, the fun continues!  The Mayborn is running a membership special during the week of Spring Break:  purchase a membership and receive an extra one-day guest pass. 

This Spring’s traveling exhibit features fun, educational activities involving the story of The Wizard of Oz.  Littles and Bigs alike will love exploring the Gale farm, finding the yellow brick road, pretending to be the Wizard, and scaling the witch’s castle.  Also on display are literary works and movie memorabilia related to all things Oz.

And there’s more!  Fifty images of Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh, my!) by three of National Geographic’s top photo journalists is an additional bonus exhibit.  The rich images of these beautiful creatures might be worth the cost of admission alone!

Finally, beginning March 4th through the end of May, National Geographic’s Extreme Weather, a 40-minute movie will play in the SBC Theater.  Admission to Extreme Weather is $3 for children, adults, and groups, $2 for Baylor University students and museum members. Show times are

    •       Saturdays - 11 am, 1 pm, & 3 pm

    •       Sundays - 2 pm & 4 pm

    •       Tuesdays11 am & 1 pm

1          Art Center of Waco

The NUMBER ONE Edwards Family destination for this year’s Spring Break, of course, is the Art Center of Waco.  We love seeing the art of Waco’s own Joel Edwards. (We’re all really proud of him.) His solo show is up until the end of the week, and the Art Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Tuesday through Saturday.

While you’re there, check out the sculpture garden and the beautiful McLennan Community College campus.  (Pokemon trainer alert!)

Waco App: Android

Waco App: Android

STILL LOOKING FOR MORE? Don't forget to check out Waco's online calendars for more information about what's on each day and be sure to download the brand new WACO APP! 

The app is available in the Play Store for android and the App Store for Apple. Search for “Waco TX,” or “Waco” and look for the heart icon with a W in the middle. 

Have a great Spring Break!

Rebecca Edwards is an artist, photographer, educator and lover of life who lives in Waco with her husband, Joel, and their three kids.

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Why the Arts Matter in Texas

By Caitlin Giddens

The arts are more than entertainment. They evoke powerful emotions. They connect us through shared experiences. They change us and our communities for the better and they generate $5.5 billion each year for the state’s economy.

These were the key points of discussion during the Texas Arts Advocacy Day, organized by Texans For the Arts in partnership with the Texas Cultural Trust, at the State Capitol on February 9. The Creative Waco team left the session feeling informed, empowered, enthusiastic about speaking for the arts and proud of Waco for serving as an example of a community in which diverse sectors are working together effectively to grow the arts.

“It is helpful to have firsthand knowledge and to see how arts advocacy works on a state level,” Angie Veracruz, co-founder and executive director of the Central Texas Artist Collective, said. “We learned how to change perceptions about the arts. The arts are vital to a community and thrive when there is support from all sectors.” 

Keynote speaker Margy Waller, senior fellow with Topos Partnership, shared her critical research in communicating the impact and value of the arts. The first step is differentiating the arts from entertainment. If state leaders think of the arts as entertainment, they will fail to understand why investment in this key sector is vital.  

Waller explains it’s important to understand that the arts are a necessary part of the community and local economy. This sector contributes $343.7 million in state sales tax revenue annually. The arts serve as the strongest beacon of tourism, generating revenue for local businesses. And they enhance local property values and incentivize new construction. 

“We all benefit from the powerful ripple effect of a vibrant creative sector in Waco,” Creative Waco Executive Director Fiona Bond said. “When people come together to share experiences and ideas, they connect with each other in powerful ways to create a community that can solve its problems with imagination, understanding and a dose of laughter, wonder, curiosity and the unique magic that the arts bring.” 

That ripple effect could be seen in new research released at the event by the Texas Cultural trust, quantifying the benefits of arts in education.

This year’s Advocacy Day was especially important, as last session’s investment funding for the Cultural & Fine Arts District Programs is not included in the proposed state budget. If this appropriation is not reinstated, Downtown Waco, the newest cultural district in Texas, will lose its opportunity to apply for this high impact investment.

“Cultural districts are a powerful resource for cities,” Bond said. “Analysis on the first 1.5 million dollars that was invested through the state’s Cultural District program shows that it delivered more than $20 million in direct impact. That’s a great return on investment by any measure.”

State leaders will decide whether to restore the $5 million appropriation for Cultural Districts in the next few weeks during the 85th Legislative Session budget discussions. To support the appropriation, write a letter to your senator or representative. Tell them the facts and the benefits of arts in our community. 

“When talking about the arts, know your facts and be truthful, especially when speaking to a state leader,” Veracruz said. “They have many topics of interest on their plate. They need to know the key facts in order to vote for what is best for their communities.” 

Texas-specific research into the impact of the arts can be found on the Texas cultural Trust Website.

If you aren’t in direct contact with your state leaders, you can advocate for arts funding by contacting Executive Director of Texans for the Arts Ann Graham at info@texansforthearts.com

From left: Animator and cartoonist, Greg Peters; Director of The Art Center of Waco, Meg Gilbert; Creative Waco staff member, Caitlin Giddens; Director of Central Texas Artist Collective, Angie Veracruz; Baylor Religion Department faculty member and Creative Waco board member, Elise Edwards; Creative Waco staff member, Luann Jennings; Texas State Representative from Waco, Doc Anderson; and Creative Waco Executive Director, Fiona Bond.

From left: Animator and cartoonist, Greg Peters; Director of The Art Center of Waco, Meg Gilbert; Creative Waco staff member, Caitlin Giddens; Director of Central Texas Artist Collective, Angie Veracruz; Baylor Religion Department faculty member and Creative Waco board member, Elise Edwards; Creative Waco staff member, Luann Jennings; Texas State Representative from Waco, Doc Anderson; and Creative Waco Executive Director, Fiona Bond.

Arts in Education: Cultural Arts Waco

We continue our posts for National Arts in Education Week (#ArtsEdWeek) with today's profile: Cultural Arts Waco

Cultural Arts Waco celebrates and promotes our community’s diverse artistic and cultural life; develops and enriches its cultural capacity; and champions the economic, social, and educational benefits of the arts in the Greater Waco area and beyond. 

Summer STEAM for Creative Kids!

Summercamps 2016

“What?  Texas summers are hot and humid already!  Why in the world should I add STEAM?”

It's short for "Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math"…STEAM!  Classes and camps that focus on these areas allow for active, creative, and hands-on learning.   How fun would it be to combine art and programming skills to imagine and produce your own computer game?  Who wouldn’t want to act in a play and use technology to present the final product? How cool would it be to express yourself with art, or design a robot to solve a task!  Both art and science stimulate the senses and allow for imagination and exploration.  Inside everyone is a creative problem solver that is just waiting to be set free. 

And it gets better! Evidence shows that kids learn best when they are having fun in a creative environment.. They also retain what they have learned much better with these kinds of hands-on experiences.

This summer, over twenty different experts in the visual and performing arts, science, technology and education have united to offer an impressive array of summer camps and classes in the Waco area.  Camp and class listings have been gathered into ONE EASY TO USE, SEARCHABLE WEBSITE!  Check out all the incredible opportunities that are available for YOUR kids! There's something for every age, ability and pocketbook right here in Waco.

Why not add a little STEAM and give your child a “cool” summer!


Cindy Olbrich

Engineering For Kids-Heart of Texas

Best Photo Backdrops in Downtown Waco!

Our friends at Chisholm Crossing have compiled a fabulous list of places with interesting and photogenic backdrops that you might not have thought of to take your Easter, prom or graduation pics. Of course there are far more than 10 top picks. What are yours?

This iconic green door on Austin Avenue was designed and made by Stanton Studios here in Waco!

Check out the full post with pics

1. Ivy wall – One of our favorite spots, hands down, is the Insurors of Texas wall that faces Mary Avenue (Mary Avenue and 5th Street). The wall is covered in ivy or some other vine-y type greenery and is just plain lovely. Perfect if your photo subject is a redhead

2. Copper doors – The front doors to the Chapel at Meyer Center (1226 Washington Ave.) are copper, top to bottom. They might not interest everyone but they positively make us swoon. Climb the Chapel steps and see what you think.

3. Nice look Waco mural – If you’re going for something fun and Waco-flavored and your subject doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight with the backdrop, try the “You look nice today, wacotown” mural at 7th and Washington Ave. With its own hashtag (#nicelookwaco), this mural has become an Instagram favorite.

4. Green door – This unique door at 714 Austin Ave. is EVERYONE’s favorite. You can see why. I’d guess that door sees a photo shoot multiple times a week.

5. 5th Street alley – Are you looking for a little grit for your picture? It doesn’t get much grittier than the alley between Franklin and Austin that runs from 5th to 6th street. I walk that alley every day and constantly notice interesting details.

6. Suspension bridge – With so much history behind it and the distinct look of it, this iconic bridge has become Waco’s unofficial logo. If your heart is said on the bridge for pics, we suggest trying different angles to make your shot unique. We’re even fond of the little pre-bridge structures.

7. Cameron Park – To put it plainly, what part of Cameron Park ISN’T photogenic. Some suggestions: Jacob’s Ladder, the back porch of the Cameron Park Clubhouse, any of the overlooks.

8. Random walls – We’ve got so many great walls downtown, lots of used brick and faded paint. There were too many to suggest just one.

9. 8th Street mural – If you’re going for colorful, look no further. This mural, off Austin Avenue between 8th and 9th streets, is so much fun. On the weekends and evenings, the parking lot empties and you can walk right up against the wall to get the shot you want. Check it out.

10. Finish out the list for us! Do you have a favorite photo spot downtown?

Spring is the perfect time to check out art markets in Waco!

Bob Estrin

Calling all artists and art-buyers!

There are many great new opportunities for visual artists to SELL work in Waco throughout April and for collectors to check out new work by some really talented artists!

With over 30,000 people currently visiting Waco each week to buy stuff designed and made in Waco, NOW is a great time to seize the opportunity and build a reputation for Waco as a great place to come to buy art, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork and other lovingly made treasures.

Artists, Learn how to rock the markets!

HERE is a great article from artist Bob Estrin on how to be successful when you're selling art in a market setting!

And here are some markets throughout April!

1/ April 2nd Texas Foodtruck Showdown (Heritage Square)

Over 20,000 people are expected to come to Waco on April 2nd for the Chamber of Commerce-run Texas Foodtruck Showdown.


2/ April 9th Art on Elm Ave (Elm Avenue)

Lots of opportunities for exhibiting and selling work! Technically the vendor deadline has (just) passed, but you can still apply to exhibit. 


3/ April 16th onwards: Waco Artist Market (Heritage Square)

This is a brand new venture  - planned for Saturday afternoons in Heritage Square.


4/ April 23rd: Rootstock: A Texas Wine Festival (Indian Spring Park)

Another brand new venture by the river! Local wine and food by the river plus art, music and other cretive opportunities.

image Artist Bob Estrin Copyright