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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Parker-Astin Arts Center: Bryan's Art Angel Takes a Bold Leap

The Parker-Astin Arts Center blossomed with appropriate fanfare Thursday, Sept. 18th, and promises to be the heartbeat of the art community in Bryan's historic downtown district. That is a mouthful, and is only possible because it is owned and managed by Bryan's angel in residence, Greta Watkins, formerly of the Frame Gallery just down the street. Greta has moved her studio and frame shop into the old Parker-Astin building, and offers much the same products and services as before-  a very comfy cultural center.

Greta's opening attracted a fairly young crowd.

The very respectable jazz band (with Randy Watkins on drums) playing during the grand opening inspired an aura of class and urban sophistication, but the crowd and the artists were a very laid back collection of home folks.

All this stimulation!

Theodora Krc poses with "The Guardian," a fitting symbol of Parker-Astin's matriarch.

I met vivacious Theodora Krc (kersh) of Bryan, who makes jewelry and paints contemporary abstracts. One of her nicer Motherwell-esque works was hanging in the restroom!  Her heavily textured painting of an angel called The Guardian fascinated my camera as the light played on it. She insisted it looked better in the daylight. I'm pretty sure it relishes in each unique lighting situation.

John Pinkerton was happy to stand next to his portrait of Janis Joplin, which seemed as alive as any of us in the room. John is always experimenting with new themes. Each one is treated with his special, unmistakable perspective. He started with cats. Then dogs. Then movie legends of his youth. He's done blues legends and now he's doing rock legends. Art buyers understand that he will soon be the legend.

Highly acclaimed Mary Scott of Caldwell has transitioned into acrylics after many years of pastels and oils. She found that art galleries preferred paintings on canvas. She is now painting with rich hues and values which were impossible with her pastels. Still, we will miss those exquisite, dreamlike pastels. But Mary is not looking back, she is slated to appear in Southwest Art Magazine, and is committed to creating a style with her new medium that will attract art lovers with equal passion to the past. And that is why we artists love art... it is constantly evolving.

Becky Witherspoon explained her unique encaustic techniques. She paints with melted wax using a hot iron. Her smaller works were very intriguing and priced very reasonably. Becky was next to the swinging jazz band, and it was hard to hear her explanations, but her kind smile said everything  you need to know.

Tim "Pops" Vanya of Somerville explained how he is once again forming a western artist's group, called The Western Associates, of which he hopes to exercise a good deal of paternal influence. He is still determined to connect the dots, and to help western art collectors find what they want without having to travel to Santa Fe or Scottsdale. He also explained the definition of an artist; somebody who refuses to quit! He was probably referring to himself, but his definition would apply to many of the artists in the room, including the gallery owner.

I decided to go and get this story posted, but looked around one more time. Perhaps a hundred people gathered and sipping wine and having a good time... with art as the backdrop. I'm going to just say it. These dedicated artists cannot survive on good will and social popularity. If you were thinking about buying a piece of art, there will never  be a better time to weigh in at the CASH REGISTER, and affirm what these folks are doing.

Creative juices can flow abundantly in places such as this.

If you move the A in GREAT to the end, you get Greta. Parker-Astin is the real deal and should attract real deal collectors. Furthermore, it is a great addition to the downtown Bryan art scene, and GreAta and the other artists within deserve a visit, and your patronship.

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