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.

CWCW: 6 ways to get involved with the Waco Civic Theatre

By Madeleine Morren
Communications 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.

Image courtesy of the Waco Civic Theatre

Image courtesy of the Waco Civic Theatre

Image courtesy of the Waco Civic Theatre

Image courtesy of the Waco Civic Theatre

There’s a popular saying among the theater community that there are no small parts. For many decades, the Waco Civic Theatre has worked diligently to ensure everyone in the community has a part to play, whether it’s acting on stage or helping behind the scenes. The non-profit is dedicated to bringing quality live theater while providing a creative outlet to the community.

On this week’s Conversations with Creative Waco, the Waco Civic Theatre’s executive director Eric Shephard talks about the exciting upcoming season, and how the support of those willing will be crucial. So tune in today at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on 103.3 KWBU fm to find out how you can get involved!

Keep reading to learn what’s in store for the WCT’s new season and how you can get your tickets.

“The Wizard of Oz” July 19 – 29. The classic tale is making its way to the stage and you could be a part of it! Join Dorothy, Toto and WCT as they venture into the land of Oz this summer. But I think we all can agree there’s no place like Waco.

“Newsies”–Sept. 7 – 17. Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The newsies will be taking over and they don’t mess around. Join them in taking a stand against the money-hungry publishers of New York!

“Once”– Nov. 9 – 18. From a beautiful relationship comes beautiful music. Don’t miss WCT’s take on this musical drama that’s sure to melt any music-lover’s heart.

“Steel Magnolias”–Jan. 25 – Feb. 3. WCT is taking us down south to join the feisty ladies of Louisiana. It’s sure to be a night filled with love, loss and a whole lot of laughs. 

“Shakespeare in Love”– March 22 – 31. You don’t have to love Shakespeare to enjoy “Shakespeare in Love.” Adapted by Lee Hall from the 1998 film, the story follows a young Shakespeare and how he came to find his muse.

“Mamma Mia”– May 3 – 19 . What better way to kick off the summer than with ABBA? So for all you dancing queens out there, it’s time to take a chance on “Momma Mia!”

Tickets and additional information about auditions and how to get involved can be found at the Waco Civic Theatre’s website.

6 events to make your April more cultural & creative

By Madeleine Morren
Communications Intern                                                                                                                        

April is not over yet and Waco has a lot of creative events left to enjoy! So shake off that last bit of winter chill and explore the stimulating culture in the community. From musical ensembles and art exhibits, to concert series and comedy, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Here you’ll find a list of only 6 events to get you started, but more things and event details can be found at the Waco CVB Calendar of Events, so you can enjoy everything Waco has to offer this spring.

Annual Juried Student Exhibit- April 13-15

The Martin Museum of Art will be hosting this unique exhibit showcasing Baylor University’s professors, graduate students and staff. It will be a great opportunity to admire the work these artists have put in all semester. Admission is free and details of the event can be found at the Martin Museum’s website.

Baylor University Theatre presents: Cabearet- April 13

It’s a busy weekend for Baylor! Join the Baylor Theatre program tonight at the Hooper-Shaefer Fine Arts Center as they perform in “Cabearet.” Admission to the show is “pay-what-you-can,” with the proceeds benefitting the Leta Horan and Jerry MacLauchlin Endowed Scholarship. Visit Baylor theaters website for more information.

Rootstock: A Texas Wine Festival- April 14

The Rootstock Wine Festival is back for its third year! Join Valley Mills Vineyards Saturday at Indian Spring Park to enjoy some of the best wine in Texas. If you’re looking to grow your knowledge of wine, this is the place to be. Visit their website for ticket information.

Cocktails with the curator: an evening at Cultivate 7Twelve- April 19

This month’s Cocktails with the Curator will join Rhiannon Rosenbaum and featured artist Brad Settles. It’s going to be a great opportunity to meet the artist behind this month’s landscape exhibit. You can ask questions and hear the stories behind the pieces and enjoy a glimpse into the artist’s process. Spots are limited so RSVP today and enjoy Cocktails with the Curator free of charge!

Baylor University’s Jazz Ensemble- April 19

Baylor University will be hosting a night filled with live jazz music at Jones Concert Hall. Conductor and senior lecturer Alex Parker will lead nineteen of Baylor’s student-musicians. So if you like free concerts and jazz music, you will love this ensemble.  

Brazos Nights: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy- April 20

One of the things I love most about Waco is the live music. Brazos Nights is a summer-long, FREE concert series, and it begins here! Big Bad Voodoo Daddy starts the series off at Indian Spring Park. Check out their Facebook to see more information.

Special thanks to Waco CVB for their contribution. Visit wacoheartoftexas.com/events for non-arts events and to stay up-to-date with events as they're added.

Top four reasons to check out this year's summer camp calendar

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By: Madeleine Morren, Communications Intern

Summer vacation is almost here and we have just the thing for parents and kids looking for something fun to do, besides your daily trip to the pool. Waco is filled with various creative summer programs for kids, and we’ve got them all in one place! Here are four reasons to check out this year’s summer camp calendar:


It’s free and easy to use

One of our goals at Creative Waco is to facilitate the connection between the community and its creative culture. Our online calendar makes it easy to find the perfect fit for each unique child using searchable key words like date, age, grade, and topic. Or if it’s easier for you to browse, you can see all of the programs available on one page. Now it’s easier than ever to make a decision and you don’t have to worry about missing out on a single opportunity.


There is something for everyone

The beauty of our summer camp calendar is that it’s not limited to programs focused on artistic talents. There are countless ways for kids to explore their creativity and what they enjoy the most. There are programs for art, music, photography, sports, dance, electronic game design and even robotics. There’s really no limit to what kids can do this summer.


Keep kids active and engaged

Research shows that students suffer cumulative learning loss when they are not educationally engaged throughout the summer. Studies have also proven that the environment of summer programs help kids learn faster than in classrooms during the school year. Summer programs help kids build on characteristics that will serve them in the future, like resiliency, teamwork and decision-making. In this day and age, it’s hard enough to get the younger generations away from their phones and the different technologies, so make it easy for them to unplug and engage!  


Stay local

Cross-country road trips and summers abroad are not always feasible, especially if you’re on a budget. Summer programs are a fun and easy way to get kids off the couch and get them outside this summer. It will give them something to look forward to without having to go very far and will help connect them to their community. 

CWCW: 6 ways the Art Center is a champion for the arts

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.

"The Waco Door" | Sculpture by Robert Wilson | Located in the ACW Sculpture Garden

"The Waco Door" | Sculpture by Robert Wilson | Located in the ACW Sculpture Garden

Photos courtesy of the Art Center of Waco

Photos courtesy of the Art Center of Waco

If you've been part of the Waco community long enough, it's likely you've heard of the Art Center of Waco. If you're lucky, you've even had the chance to experience some of the creative programming they faithfully bring to the Waco community.

The Art Center is a nonprofit arts organization with a long history of challenging barriers to arts programming for all areas of our city. Meg Gilbert, Art Center director, talks about both the labor and joy of bringing art to the community on Conversations with Creative Waco, today at 11:30 a.m and 8 p.m. on 103.3 KWBU fm.

Read on to find out a bit more about the Art Center and how they are proudly championing the arts in our community.

  1. Traveling Art Expedition. One of the newest programs to come out of the Art Center, Art Expedition is a fantastic program that brings a mobile art gallery to area schools. A trailer truck has been filled with pieces created by local arts educators, and outfitted with lighting and fixtures that mimic a gallery. The experience shows students that a career in the arts is possible while giving them a taste of what a gallery experience is like.

  2. Rotating exhibitions featuring local and regional artists. Sadly, there aren't any exhibitions currently on display because the Art Center vacated their building on MCC's campus due to safety concerns this past fall. However, they are currently officing out of Cultivate 7TWELVE (712 Austin Ave.) and may have exhibitions in this space and others in the future. Keep up with them to get updates on their building search and any pop-up exhibitions in the future.

  3. Accessible summer camps for kids. The center offers a wealth of summer camps for elementary to high school students. Campers learn the history and craft of things like printmaking, sculpting, painting and more. The Art Center works hard to make their programming widely accessible, so one of the best features of their summer program is that they offer a limited number of scholarships each year. (Check out Creative Waco's Summer Camp Calendar to see all the Art Center listings, as well as creative camps offered by other creative, educational, and community organizations.)

  4. Art classes for adults. From weaving to ceramics, the Art Center has a history of offering a wide variety of creative courses for adults. Although course offerings change throughout the year, there is almost always something new to try. Classes, schedules, and registration info are listed on their website.

  5. Art classes for children. Because much of the Art Center's programming focuses on children, it only makes sense that they offer creative classes for kids year-round. At Art Lab, students are invited to learn about the history and processes of creating art before trying their hand at creativity. These affordable courses ($12/90-minute class) can be viewed in detail on their website.

  6. Community engagement through volunteering. The center is always open to allowing community members serve in creative facets. From art education to community events, volunteers are able to support the organization's mission using their own creative strengths. Check out their volunteer page to get connected!

Top 10 things to do in the Cultural District

By Madeleine Morren
Communications Intern 

For those looking to stay local this spring break, Waco has a plethora of fun activities to do, particularly in the Waco Downtown Cultural District. Officially designated by the state of Texas in 2016, the cultural district is filled with local businesses that each bring a unique flair to the artistic and cultural life of Waco. Check out these 10 ways to get in on the action:

  1. Hear live music. Live music is a huge part of cultural experiences. It helps people come together and enjoy great music from local musicians as well as performers from across the nations. Some great places to hear live music in the area are the Backyard Bar Stage & GrillCultivate 7Twelve, Austin’s on the Avenue, Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits and the Waco Hippodrome.

    Brazos Nights is a music festival held in Downtown Waco from April to July that features artists from across the nation. Families and friends can come and enjoy delicious food from local food trucks and listen to great music!
  2. See public art. Some of the best things about the downtown area of Waco are the murals across numerous buildings. Not only do they bring color to downtown, they help bring beauty to what were once old and decrepit buildings. It’s worth jumping in the car with some friends and taking a mini mural tour.

  3. Attend a festival. Whether you are a foodie, movie guru or art lover, Waco has a festival for everyone. Downtown Waco will be hosting the Texas Food Truck Showdown this month on March 17. Later this year, the Wine & Food Festival will have over 200 wines to taste and delicious food to eat!  

    The Deep in the Heart Film Festival is also later this month, from March 22-25. The film festival will have short and feature films, workshops and panels with the filmmakers.

    The visual art in the area plays a huge part in defining the creative atmosphere in Waco. Waco Cultural Arts Fest and Art on Elm are two of Waco’s art festivals that feature extraordinary work from local artists as well as state, national and international artists.

    This summer The Juneteenth Family Fun Day Weekend will be considered the largest celebration weekend in Central Texas dedicated to the empowerment and independence of African Americans.

  4. Eat delicious food. Cooking is an art in itself, and the masterpieces are delicious! The wide variety of food styles in the area is an indicator of the versatility of Waco’s culture. A few of the restaurants in the district you don’t want to miss are Portofino’s, Stone Hearth Indian Café, Dichotomy and Clay Pot–Waco’s only Vietnamese restaurant.

  5. View and buy art. The art festivals are not the only time you will have the opportunity to see fantastic art pieces. Make a trip to Cultivate 7Twleve, where you can enjoy art exhibits and buy handmade work. There are also a number of shops and restaurants selling art straight off the walls, such as Klassy Glass Wine Bar & Bistro, Dichotomy, Waco Winery Tasting Room & Rooftop Patio, Interior Glow, Papillon Antiques, Christi's and Gather Waco.

  6. See a craftsperson at work. There are a number of places to see Waco's creative minds at work. For starters, fans of jewelry crafting can see the process at Virage Goldsmiths and Summer Ellis Bijouterie, which shares space with another shop on the first floor of the historic Praetorian building.

    A unique characteristic of art gallery Cultivate 7Twelve is their upstairs space. Once you have enjoyed all the artwork displayed in their exhibit downstairs, you are encouraged to tour the upstairs workspace. There you will find artists and artisans hard at work on new pieces. Watching these masters at work will give you a much deeper appreciation for their art, and it’s a fun way to get to know your favorite artists! 

  7. Find beautiful jewelry. A cultural district is full of people creating new things. You will not find handmade jewelry anywhere else like the what’s made in the cultural district. Pop into places like Virage, Summer Ellis, Spice Village and Roots Boutique for one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry!

  8. Sample locally-made alcohol. The downtown area is full of fun places where you can enjoy local wine, beer and even whisky! So if you get tired from all the shopping and sight-seeing, sit down with some friends and enjoy a few drinks at places like Waco Winery Tasting Room & Rooftop Patio, Klassy Glass Wine Bar & Bistro, Waco Wine Shoppe and Balcones Distillery. 

  9. Sip some locally-brewed coffee. But if you’re thirsty for something a little less stiff, there are other great places that serve locally brewed coffee and tea! So for all you coffee-drinkers and tea-lovers out there, you will definitely want to try Dichotomy Wine & Spirits. BRÛ Artisan Coffee Works is a great place to enjoy a cappuccino while shopping for home furnishings, and Pinewood Coffee Roasters is a unique twist on the bar scene.

  10. Pamper yourself. Although food and art are essential parts of any cultural district, Waco's cultural district also includes businesses focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Businesses like Cultivate 7Twelve and Yoga Bar offer classes that help balance the body and the mind while keeping you in great shape. If the pressures from work or school have gotten the best of you, take some time for yourself at places like Pure Elite Spa and On the Avenue Salon and Blow Out Bar

This blog post is part of a series of "Top 10" articles for the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau. See a full list and calendar of events at the convention center website. Keep up with things to do around the Waco Downtown Cultural District with the official Waco app. Search "Waco" in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

CWCW: 5 reasons to get excited about Deep in the Heart Film Festival

By Rae Jefferson & Louis Hunter
Director of Marketing and Communications & Deep in the Heart Film Festival Co-Founder

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.

One of the best things about Waco's cultural sector is the variety of talent and art forms that can be found in our city! Last year was the first time a city-wide film festival took place, and it quickly proved to be an important event for the artistic life of Waco. Deep in the Heart Film Festival is back for its second year, and there's even more in store this time around. Snag your tickets for the event, scheduled for March 22-25 at the Waco Hippodrome and other locations in Waco.

Tune in to Conversations with Creative Waco, as we sit down with Louis Hunter, co-founder of DHFF, and talk about all the new things festival-goers can expect this year. Listen today at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on 103.3 KWBU fm.

In the meantime, check out 5 reasons to get excited about Deep in the Heart Film Festival.

  1. There's something for everyone. There's family-friendly films, horror movies, comedies, documentaries... if you love movies, you'll find something to love at the festival. Check out the list of official selections on the DHFF website.

  2. You can't see these movies anywhere else. They're not common Hollywood films bankrolled by studios. These films are personal stories and passion projects. For them to make it on the festival circuit, they have to be audience-friendly, so they're high-quality pieces curated specifically for the Waco crowd.

  3. There are opportunities to learn about the craft. Discover the cutting edge of Virtual Reality filmmaking, and find out what it takes to make a feature film. The festival will feature a number of interactive and educational components for those who want to take their film festival experience a step further, making it perfect for professionals, students, and curious movie-goers.

  4. You can meet the filmmakers. Last year, filmmakers came to Waco from Hollywood, across the US, and even Paris. Austin, Dallas, and, of course, local moviemakers were present, as well. Deep in the Heart Film Festival is the only place in Waco to meet these actors, writers and directors and talk with them about their films.

  5. It's all about community. We all love movies. We all go to movies. This is a great way to enjoy good movies and dip your toe in the Waco art community. Not only to meet filmmakers, but to meet new friends as well!

Special thanks to Louis Hunter for his contributions to this blog post.

What to expect at this year's Art on Elm pop-up art exhibit

By Madeleine MorrenCommunications Intern



Art on Elm is much more than just a pop-up art exhibition. It will be a weekend filled with beautiful art, live music, guest speakers, delicious food and artisan vendors. Even if you are not an art aficionado, there is something for everyone at this cultural festival!


Local artists are invited to apply for a chance to be a part of the event. Artists can submit pieces for either the Juried Exhibition or for an artist booth, and artisans can apply for a spot in the Arts and Crafts Market. Applications can be found on the Art on Elm website and will be accepting submissions until March 15.  

The festival is April 6-7 located in historic East Waco and here are a few things you won’t want to miss:


Splash on the Color!

Pick out your most colorful outfit and kick off the weekend at the preview party, Splash on the color! It’s going to be a great way for the community to come together and celebrate the growth and vitality of the arts in Waco’s cultural district. There will also be live music, hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets for the event can be purchased on the Art on Elm website.


The Juried Exhibition

Artists are allowed to submit a maximum of three pieces for a chance to have them displayed at ArtPlace on 418 Elm Ave. This is a great opportunity to see unique creations ranging from paintings and graphic designs to ceramics and sculptures by artists from across the state. The best part is you can buy some of the artwork!


Arts & Crafts Market

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


Elm Tea Fest

For all the tea lovers out there–get ready. Because this is an event not just for tasting teas (though that is an added bonus), it’s about learning everything there is to know about tea. So even if you aren’t the biggest fan of teas, you can still come and enjoy learning about the history and culture of tea. And who knows, maybe even find one you like!


Details for each event can be found at the Art on Elm website  

How to be Creative Without Having to be Artistic

By: Madeleine Morren

Communications Intern

Growing up, I was always the butt of the joke in my family because I would rather go see a play, watch a movie or tour a museum than watch a football game. I come from a sports family. Three generations of quarterbacks, my mom ran marathons and my sister was a competitive cheerleader. Unfortunately I was not blessed with an athletic talent. My interests were geared more towards the arts.

Don’t get me wrong–I am no artist. Any painting or drawing of mine rivals the work of a toddler. I can’t play an instrument and the only time you will ever catch me singing is when I’m in the shower. I have two left feet so dancing is out of the question. But despite my lack of artistic talent, I still find incredible joy and influence from the creative work of others.

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My greatest inspiration comes from my favorite artist and best friend, Mary Catherine Davis. I have fifteen years worth of doodles, hand-painted birthday cards, and other artistic knick-knacks she probably doesn’t even remember giving me. I have been to every dance recital, every art show and every artistic function she was featured in. She took me to my first Broadway show. She introduced me to the Dallas Museum of Art. It’s safe to say she left a lasting impact.

My form of creative expression is writing and I hope to make a career out of it someday. Although there is almost a formulaic way to write anything in the business world, what sets apart a good writer from a great writer is how well they are able to tell a story. In order to tell a good story, you need a certain level of creativity. 

Mary Catherine taught me at a very young age that creative and artistic are not synonymous. You don’t need to be an artistic prodigy to find value and meaning in art forms. I found that creativity comes through whatever inspires you. My creative inspiration came through my friend's artwork, and through her I have found inspiration in numerous other artists, songs, paintings, dances and movements. Creative inspiration is all around us, we just have to look up every once and a while to see it.  

Now a senior art major at Ole Miss, Mary Catherine plans to attend graduate school and specialize in art therapy. She is taking her beautiful gift and using it to heal the pain of others. What could be more inspirational than that?  


CwCW: 12 Reasons to love Cultivate 7TWELVE

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.

Photos courtesy of Cultivate 7TWELVE

Photos courtesy of Cultivate 7TWELVE

No one loves space more than Rebekah Hagman, but it’s not asteroids and star dust that she’s after. The director of art gallery Cultivate 7TWELVE recently moved to Waco and has made it her mission to create a home – a space – for artist and spectator alike in the heart of downtown Waco.

Cultivate 7TWELVE is operated by a passionate team of people sourced from various corners of the creative community in Waco. Join me on a deep dive into Rebekah’s passion and the mission of Cultivate 7TWELVE during the first episode of Conversations with Creative Waco at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. today on 103.3 KWBU fm.

The gallery is a new edition to downtown, with its doors opening in fall of last year. The two-story building is bursting with creative energy and artistic opportunity. Read on to see why Cultivate 7TWELVE is a local space to love.

  1. It’s all local. Artwork displayed in the gallery is carefully curated to include some of the best work in Waco and McLennan County, shop goods are locally sourced, and events are hosted by and celebratory of Wacoans from all walks of life.
  2. The gallery exhibition changes every month. Because one of Cultivate 7TWELVE’s goals is to provide professional opportunities for local artists, exhibition pieces are switched out frequently. This ensures fresh viewings for art patrons, as well as more chances for different kinds of artists to get their work into the public sphere. Themes for upcoming exhibitions can be found on the gallery’s website.
  3. The shop is fully stocked with must-haves. As mentioned earlier, everything in the gallery’s shop is soured from locals. The inventory features items like art prints, kitchenware, books, jewelry, and stationery.
  4. There’s always something to do. The folks at Cultivate 7TWELVE work to provide a full calendar of events for each month. Farm-to-table dinners, live music performances, and intimate film screenings are just some of their offerings. Use the online calendar, like them on Facebook, and follow their Instagram to keep the gallery on your radar.
  5. There’s always something to learn. From yoga to brush lettering, Cultivate 7TWELVE offers a number of creative classes and is adding more all the time. Stay up-to-date with their online workshop listings to find classes for both children and adults.
  6. It began with a Creative Waco project and generosity from community partners. Cultivate 7TWELVE sprang up from a project started by Creative Waco last summer. Waco 52 was an exhibition featuring works from 52 different local artists (and available as a deck of cards). It opened in the building that now houses Cultivate 7TWELVE, which came to be after Rebekah and her husband, Jeremy, visited Waco 52 and formed a vision of what the space could be year-round.
  7. It houses the Creative Waco office. Last fall, Creative Waco moved into one of the second-floor workspaces. We’re neighbors with some of the most creative people in the city and get to see art in action just about anytime we want. If you’d ever like to chat with one of the awesome people on the Creative Waco team, feel free to pop in.
  8. It’s filled with artists from various backgrounds. The gallery is overflowing with talent ranging from filmmaking and design to painting and wood burning. The best part is that the Cultivate 7TWELVE artists are always eager to share their work with visitors. The workspaces are open for public viewing during the gallery’s hours of operation.
  9. It was originally a bakery. This is just a fun fact! The building was originally built in the early 1900s as a multi-level bakery complete with industrial brick ovens in the basement and dumbwaiters to transport goods to upper levels. There are still remnants of some of this equipment, so keep your eye out on your next visit.
  10. It still sells baked goods. Cultivate 7TWELVE offers a selection of cookies, breads, and other goods produced by Crowe’s Nest, a local home-kitchen bakery. Add some free WiFi to the mix, and the gallery becomes a great, quiet place to get work done.
  11. It’s a great place to network with other creatives. A number of collaborative projects have come out of the gallery because of the amount of creative talent working under one roof. Chat with Rebekah or any number of artists working at Cultivate 7TWELVE if you want help fleshing out an idea or just want to meet other folks engaged in the Waco arts community.
  12. It showcases how strongly the arts are thriving in Waco. All it takes is entering the building to see how many people are working under one roof to make art and support artists in Waco. From spectator to creator, there is a role for everyone to play, and Cultivate 7TWELVE works to make that possible.

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.