Artistry at Work: Artists, dancers, musicians show their wares

Published on Saturday, 7 December 2013 23:41 - Written by By Betty Waters

Art lovers braved bone-chilling temperatures for ArtWalk on the downtown Tyler square on Saturday.

Artists, musicians and dancers exhibited their diverse and eye-catching talent inside businesses as visitors strolled the cold sidewalks from place to place to view their artistry.

The largest gathering of artists and dancers was inside the Fair Building on South Broadway Avenue off the square, where about a dozen artists displayed their works and an area was set aside for live performances. There also were special interactive projects.

More artists set up at scattered sites around the square in businesses along East Erwin and North Spring streets.

Displays featured watercolor, acrylic, oil and mixed media, photography, jewelry and woodworking. Dancers included the Fly Kids Troupe — and musicians wandered about. There was even a “poetry slam,” where poets recited original poetry.

ArtWalk is part of a very robust arts program conducted by Tyler’s Main Street Department in efforts to revitalize downtown, Beverly Abell, Main Street director, said.

ArtWalk brings people downtown where they can visit artists, support artists by buying art, the artists can be seen and visitors are introduced to owning original art, Ms. Abell said.

“We organize it with our ArtWalk Committee of volunteers, and they are part of the downtown Tyler arts coalition, which is also under our umbrella,” she said.

Twenty-seven artists registered for ArtWalk, plus dancers, demonstrators, musicians and poets.

Ben Horlander poured and cast metal toy soldiers. Sam Fontenot made a giant Texas flag out of red, white and blue sticky notes that people could help put together.

Saturday marked the second time that Vickie Fears, a Tyler professional artist, has participated in ArtWalk.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting more people in the art business,” said Ms. Fears, who has been drawing all of her life and painting since she was 12.

She paints landscapes and animals in oil but also likes acrylics.

Elizabeth Groth, a senior at The University of Texas at Tyler, displayed woodworking, printmaking and jewelry. One of her woodworking pieces contained thousands of small pieces of wood.

Dana Cargile, of Tyler, sat painting a dog. She described herself as a “painterly artist,” which she said is half impressionistic, a little whimsical and has lots of thick heavy paint.

“I love to paint portraits. I love to do landscapes and I love to paint all kinds of animals,” Ms. Cargile said. She has been participating in ArtWalk for three years and said it is fun and a great way to meet people.

Ms. Cargile voiced surprise with attendance Saturday in spite of the cold weather.

“There’s been more turnout than you would imagine,” she said.

Sonia Semone, of Tyler, pushed her Boston terrier in a stroller as she went about viewing the displayed art.

“There’s beautiful art work and affordable art work that people can buy,” she said. “I try to come every time to support local artists.”

Dan Fusco, of Whitehouse, said it was cold and a shame that the weather was bad, but he and his wife, Sissy, wanted to see the art.

“We come to most art walks. We like them. We enjoy them,” he said. Ms. Fusco said, “There just aren’t enough of them.”

Melanie Allen, of Tyler, said she bought a beautiful silver ring that somebody made and would have bought several paintings if she could afford them. The art, she said, was “very pretty.”

Margaret Johnson, of Tyler, brought her grandson to dance and look at the art.

“I think we are privileged to have a lot of art in this city and I come no matter how cold it gets,” she said.

Crystal Walker, of Tyler, said ArtWalk “is a really good way to get the underground Tyler art scene up into the public and out in the open so everybody can appreciate it.”

Carol Fraire, also of Tyler, said, “I think it’s fun. I like the way it’s spread out. It’s entertaining and I like to see all the different types of art.”

Lisa Wilson, of Hawkins, called ArtWalk “pretty neat.” She added, “I think it’s a wonderful way to display their art and it gives people something to do. If they want to hang art on their walls, it’s the perfect place to come.”