No longer a hidden gem, the creative arts scene in McLennan County, TX has seen tremendous growth in recent years. From music and photography to painting and ceramics, the area is supported by patrons, local businesses, and community members who are passionate about it. But the real driving force behind this vibrant landscape is the artists themselves. Waco has a long history of blues and gospel music, and today you can find any type of professional artist: singers, musicians, actors, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and graphic designers.
The challenge was that many people didn't know where to look for these creatives. To address this issue, some successful artists have taken it upon themselves to help other aspiring creatives by forming relationships, providing them with jobs, or offering them a space to showcase their work. Bibles is one such artist who organizes art parties and beautification projects at affordable prices for a wide range of Waco residents. He is passionate about the power that beauty and creative expression can bring to the community.
The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) was impressed by Waco's application for a cultural district designation. Not only did it include video production aspects, but it also highlighted the unexpected and lively art scene that was already in the making. In recent years, this scene has started to blossom - thanks in part to initiatives like Creative Waco. This local art agency works on behalf of the City of Waco and McLennan County to involve the public in decision-making processes for public art and creative spaces.
Mark Salinas is another key figure in this movement. He works with Forecast Public Art to fund the symphony, civic theater, art center, and art festival. He then evaluates the impact of these grants on the community. Lisa Sheldon is another artist who has been exploring various forms of expression since her late entry into the art world.
Kathleen Seaman recently spoke with a couple who have spent their marriage telling stories through music, a potter who loves creating art that people interact with every day, and a gallerist who is making up for his late arrival in the art world by exploring various forms of expression. Each of them discussed their creative journey, the effect of the pandemic on their work, and the ways in which they are helping to expand their sphere of influence in the local art community. Creative Waco's website offers original artwork and art prints, jewelry and accessories, virtual presentations, stationery and stickers. You can also learn more about their artistic survey on their Instagram or Facebook accounts.