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DRAWING A BUG'S LIFE By Stephanie Reyes







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By Joy Moton


By Elizabeth Starr


By Taliyah Clark



By Amanda Cordero



Special thanks to Julie Freeman, Paul Carr and supporters of Focus Magazine


Cover photos by Corrie Coleman and Travis Taylor Back cover photo by Corrie Coleman



letter from the


There are certain things in life that deserve to be celebrated. We believe anything that inspires, encourages and lifts people up falls into this category. Art is one of the most universal connectors of people, and there are some incredible sources of artistic talent in our community. In this edition of Focus, we took a look at some incredible works of art in and around Waco, as well as the people who created them. The art found in our community is worth celebrating because of the way it brings Wacoans together and inspires them to make this community a better place. From murals on the walls of shops and restaurants downtown to theatrical productions performed by the city’s youth, we believe the artistic talent present among us cannot be ignored. We believe the stories of these talented artists are worth sharing. Come celebrate with us!

Kate McGuire & Elizabeth Starr

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You’ve seen them in the corner of your rearview mirror as you drive down a one-way street. The bright colors and powerful messages catch your eye. Waco’s mural scene is gaining momentum and with it, the art culture within the community. Hop into the car and take a drive around downtown Waco. You’ll likely notice the vibrant chickens proclaiming “You look nice today, Wacotown,” or the vivid and meaningful Martin Luther King Jr. mural by the suspension bridge. The community mural by the East Waco Library is a commanding piece that showcases the individual talents of the people of Waco. Waco mural art conveys all types of messages, from cheerful to powerful to abstract. The wall art grabs attention and pulls the viewer’s head, heart and soul in a new direction. The people of Waco feel a richer culture, a sense of pride and a connection when mentioning the murals. Local artists, Baylor students and even visiting artists contribute to the artistic commentary of Waco’s mural scene. “Art is more than a series of images that are disembodied,” said Trevor Paglen, American author, geographer, and artist. “Art is objects that live in real places, economies, spaces, architecture.” There are countless murals tucked away behind the old buildings of Waco. These murals inspire and encourage imagination and skill. They express important ideas and feelings. This is not a new trend, however. “The art scene in Waco has been around… but it speaks a lot about downtown development,” said Meg Gilbert, operations manager of the Art Center of Waco. Within the last five years or so, downtown Waco subtly began to look more colorful. The creativity of its residents began to publicly emerge on the bricks and walls that make up the city. The bare bones of the old buildings were suddenly given new life when splashes of color brought their structures to attention. “It brings people together, provides an enrichment in lifestyle, and gives a sense of self-expression and pride,” Gilbert said. Waco’s eclectic mix of college students and permanent residents can all come together over a public work of art. “People want to find something they can relate to… Public work can reach everybody without any exclusions,” said native Waco artist Mick Burson. Burson is the artist behind the Austin Avenue mural and several other more geometric pieces, such as the Brookview Hills and St. Francis

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Church murals. He believes community art holds a special power. “Painters create the culture of that community,” Burson said. Wacoans agree that art makes an impact in their community and the murals are a public display of a thriving culture. “Visual arts are an attraction; they add interest and bring attention not just to the art but to the building, the architecture, and the message,” said local 18-yearold Mark Arnold. There is a mutually beneficial relationship in public art. The murals attract attention to businesses and the artists who create them. While small, local businesses receive new patrons, artists get recognition for their work in an unconventional way. The art around Waco suggests that anyone in a community can create something beautiful. There are so many blank canvases around the city that could be filled with some local imagination and creativity. “People like to invest in beautiful things,” said Gilbert. Waco is an investment. Its people, color and culture are the currency. There is something to be said about a community willing to take history and make it beautiful again. New businesses are reshaping the traditions of the city and bringing art to its walls. “Students changed in an environment where they could create,” said Gilbert. “It encourages personal growth and community growth.” Whether the public art is playful or political, it has a power in its message. Waco is revealing its true colors through the murals.





' Life Drawing A Bug's Baylor professor Greg Lewallen talks art, faith and insects

RIGHT: The wall above Lewallen's desk is covered with creative materials.

Like the bright lights used to attract bugs at night, Greg Lewallen’s eyes can light up a room when he talks about drawing and collecting bugs. He can tell anyone about each individual bug he has in his office and can spend hours talking about the many exciting and memorable trips around the world he’s taken to get a specific bug. Lewallen’s story starts as early as his first grade class, when he became known as the “kid who could draw.” “I remember at the end of the year before summer vacation, the teacher is just trying to find ways to keep you occupied, and so I drew,” Lewallen said. “For the last two days, I drew 21 pictures to give to all the students in my class of a tyrannosaurus rex fighting a stegosaurus with a volcano erupting in the background.”

Not only was Lewallen drawing at a young age, but he was also collecting insects. Lewallen said he started collecting insects when he was just five years old. “I cried the first time I killed a bug to put in my collection because I didn’t want to kill it, but I knew if I wanted to keep it, I had to kill it,” Lewallen said. While he did discover his two passions at a young age, Lewallen’s career path took quite a different turn when he was getting his undergraduate degree at Baylor University. Lewallen started out as a music major and quickly realized that he was not very good at piano and, quite frankly, didn’t love it. This all changed one day when he was sitting at the piano after having neglected to practice once again. His piano instructor asked him what he liked to do. He replied: “I draw.” It was that conversation that changed his college

story by Stephanie Reyes photos by Alyson Perkins

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career because, the following semester, he switched from music to drawing and painting. After Lewallen got his undergraduate degree in drawing and painting, he didn’t immediately get a job as an artist. Instead, he worked for 18 years at a construction equipment dealership in the parts department. It was in those 18 years that Lewallen found his true passion, once again. “[My job] had nothing to do with art. It was crunching numbers and selling parts and I hated it,” Lewallen said. “It was a job and it provided a living, but it wasn’t the passion God gave me.” Lewallen remembers sitting in a theater watching the movie ‘Chariots of Fire’ and hearing a line that truly resonated with him and his drawings. “[Eric Liddell] said, ‘God made me for a purpose, Jenny, but he also made me fast and when I run I feel God’s pleasure.’ Those words, to me, exactly describe how I feel when I’m drawing,” Lewallen said. “It’s like I’m doing exactly what God made me to do and that’s motivation to draw.” Throughout his life Lewallen says he can remember countless times he’s been at his drawing table working on a sketch and hours will pass without him even knowing. “I may draw till three or four o’clock in the morning before I even look up for a breath and then I realize, “Oh my gosh, it’s four o’clock, and I go to work in a couple of hours,” Lewallen said. While drawing does take up one part of his life, Lewallen also likes to spend his free time insect collecting. Having studied insects for about 50 years, he will plan trips across the world just to get a handful


of particular species he wants. These trips will often require a lot of specific research on the bug such as location, with which plant they are associated to and when they are ‘on the wing’. On the wing, which is a term often used by bug collectors, to refer to the adult form of the flying insect in its natural habitat. “In 2001, I spent a whole year researching a beetle from South America called Titanis Giganteus and it’s considered to be the largest insect in the world by body mass,” Lewallen said. “We planned that w h o l e trip around this one beetle, but we caught thousands and hundreds of species of stuff we’d never seen before.” After collecting the insects in the wild, Lewallen carefully kills them in order to keep them in pristine condition for drawing. Having drawn insects for most of his life, he said he enjoys drawing lots of moths, grasshoppers and beetles. “I look at them, but I can’t look at the bug without associating the story that goes along with it,” Lewallen said. Having drawn insects for many years, ironically the drawing Lewallen is most proud of is of a façade of the Alamo with a seashell floating in the middle. He spent approximately 160 hours stippling, which is a technique that incorporates many tiny dots to form a image and has more dots closer together to create the dark areas and fewer dots to form the lighter areas in a drawing, in order to prepare this drawing for his first

faculty showing at Baylor. In addition, he went through 24 Micron .005 pens, which makes the smallest dots possible, to achieve the stippling look he was going for. “I’m proud of it because I did it, poured myself into it and it was successful,”Lewallen said. Lewallen has been an artist for quite some time, but he didn’t get the opportunity to have an art showing till last November at the Art Center of Waco. He said growing up in Waco, many people knew he was an artist, but very few have actually seen his artwork. “It was awesome. I was blown away that people would take their Friday night off and come look at my artwork,” Lewallen said. At the showing, one of the pieces he had on display was of a moth with words in the background telling the story of how he caught it. He said he was amazed people actually took the time to stop and read his artwork. “They actually stand there in front of my artwork and spend fifteen, twenty minutes trying to read my

"It just amazes me that God would use me" - Lewallen on telling stories through art and bugs handwriting,” Lewallen said. “That’s an artist’s dream, to try and capture somebody.” Lewallen said what he wants people to know about his drawings is that he is blown away by what his belief in God has done in his life and in this world. “One of the things I’ve begun doing along with telling the tale of where I caught the bug and how I caught the bug is opening up my soul a little bit to expressing my personal faith,” Lewallen said. “It just amazes me that [God] would use me.” As for Lewallen’s plans, he hopes to continue drawing and collecting insects for as long as He’s living and breathing on this earth.

ABOVE: Lewallen displays part of his bug collection. LEFT: Lewallen poses with one of his paintings.

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"SHARING THEATER WITH PEOPLE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL... Certain Waco neighborhoods are notorious for their crime and poverty, making it seem as if this city is simply a mix of affluent university students and downtrodden poor. This view is not only unjustified; it’s incorrect. The neighborhoods outside Baylor are growing, and organizations like Mission Waco are making sure the people in these communities are growing, too. Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theatre, located in the heart of old town Waco on 15th Street and Colcord Avenue, serves a greater purpose than just to entertain its patrons. The theater program allows youth from lowincome neighborhoods to use their creativity as an avenue of hope. Programs like the Jubilee Theatre were established so that children


in Waco and its surrounding areas might have opportunities to see their own potential despite their circumstances, if only for just an hour each week. Here, the performers and producers expect more than a passive audience. They want to make participants think, and think hard. The Jubilee Theatre is small from the outside, but the performance hall is large enough to seat 300 people. Afton Foreman, the theater’s creative director, says it’s the perfect size for now. Talking about the theater made it apparent that Foreman, like the Jubilee, is warm and inviting with a unique spirit and spunk most theater people seem to possess. Foreman has been the artistic director of the theater for a few months shy of a year, but she’s been

with the theater since 2011. Needless to say, she knows exactly how the place operates. The Jubilee welcomes performers of all ages, from five-year-olds to adults. Each program meets at a different time throughout the week to ensure that participants receive the same level of attention and opportunity to develop their skill sets. On one particular Thursday afternoon, the kids hadn’t yet arrived for their practice. The warmth and stillness of the theater was instantly welcoming. It’s easy to see why people come to the Jubilee: Within the quiet space, Foreman’s passion for the kids in this program echoes loudly. “Seeing the kids’ confidence grow

TOP LEFT: Sutton and the kids read a script at the afternoon youth program. LEFT: Sutton and a colleague supervise a rehearsal.

from when they started has been one of the biggest ways I’ve seen Jubilee impact people,” Foreman says. “I had a couple kids who came and were just here to try it out. They weren’t very confident about getting up in front of people and speaking, but now every single one of these kids wants to get on the stage.” For many who participate in the program, life at home doesn’t always provide the proper environment for creative selfexpression. With a poverty rate twice the national average, many of the Waco neighborhoods the Jubilee kids call home simply do not have the resources needed to provide a creative outlet. This is where Foreman and the Jubilee step in. The Jubilee Theatre gives kids a place to relax and perform. They aren’t limited within the theater’s walls, but instead are asked to stretch their creativity and dreams farther than their circumstances may allow. From seeing University High School put on “Cinderella” featuring a nearly all-minority cast, to meeting Holly Tucker, a Waco native and former contestant on NBC’s hit show “The Voice,” Foreman explains that these experiences are more formative for the kids than one might expect. Trent Sutton is a senior social work major at Baylor who has spent three years working with the Jubilee kids. He describes his take on the Jubilee Theatre: “For many of these kids, theater is the only place where they’re actually encouraged to

be loud, to be overly dramatic, to tell wild stories, to push back against direction at times, and more,” Sutton said. “The outlet theater provides has been helpful in allowing them to work through their behavioral problems in a context that is safe, fun and inviting, which in turn improves their behavior in other aspects of their lives.” The youth program is growing rapidly under the direction of Sutton and Foreman. They both attest to the power theater has to shape both adults and children. Sutton and Foreman see the life-giving power performing holds, and Sutton says his time at Baylor would have been incomplete without the relationships and experiences he’s gained over the past three years at the theater. “My role within the children and youth programming at Jubilee Theatre has allowed me entrance into the lives of some remarkable kids, just as it has allowed them entrance into mine,” Sutton said. “Sharing theater with people is something special; creating works of art with someone is a sacred experience.” The Jubilee Theatre is a space where community engagement takes place and where children have the opportunity to better themselves. By attending a show at the Jubilee Theatre or investing in the youth programs, you are accepting an unspoken pledge to invest in the people of Waco. Once you sit down to enjoy a show, you will not be able to stop talking about this place.


Light pierces the multicolored windows of Armstrong Browning Library, flooding students’ notes and laptops with joyful vibrancy. The symphony of colors is visually pleasing for students, a welcome exchange for the black-and-white monotony of textbooks. The library is Waco’s and Baylor’s best-kept secret, and understandably so. After all, the library’s elegance is a far cry from the world of smoky barbecue and football festivities for which Central Texas is famous. However, the library’s literary and historical appeal has its own place in Waco. Dr. Andrew Joseph Armstrong, chairman of Baylor’s English department from 1912 to 1952, had a longtime fascination with Victorian poet Robert Browning. Armstrong avidly collected Browning’s works and biographies and donated them to the university throughout his career. “He admired the optimism and spiritual values that he found in Browning’s poetry,” said Cynthia Burgess, curator of books and printed materials for the library. “He felt that Browning was a good match for Baylor and its Christian mission.” The university’s Browning collection continued to grow. Later it came to include another renowned poet: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poet’s wife. Armstrong was not content with merely housing the growing collection in a “Browning Room” in Carroll Library – the only available option at the time. With help from sponsors including the university’s president, Pat Neff, Armstrong began the construction of his namesake library in 1948. The library building was completed in December 1951. Despite changes, the library always maintained a European-inspired sophistication, adding to its unusual presence in Waco. “[Armstrong] and his wife actually had a travel agency here. They conducted tours in the ’20s and ’30s to Europe and other parts of the world during the summers,” Burgess said. “And so Armstrong saw many beautiful buildings in Europe. When it came time to dream about what this building would be like, he incorporated some of the ideas that he had admired there.” Armstrong’s admiration of European architecture certainly influenced the library’s stunning stained glass windows. Originally, three windows were

" light

story by

Amanda Cordero

tomorrow today"



photography by

Travis Taylor

LEFT PAGE: Images of stained glass portraits line the library. RIGHT PAGE TOP: Sunlight streams through a stained glass window. RIGHT PAGE MIDDLE: The serene interior of the library boasts beautiful spaces like the McLean Foyer of Meditation. RIGHT PAGE BOTTOM: Curator of Books and Printed Materials Cynthia Burgess pauses in front of a window.

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LEFT: Students study in the frequently-used Scholar's Room. MIDDLE: Burgess looks out one of the library's 62 stained-glass windows.

installed in the Browning Room at to the collection because, unlike the held these places dear to their hearts the Carroll Library. Armstrong was others, they do not reflect scenes from and mentioned them in their poetry. Because of the importance of Italy closely involved with the planning and the Brownings’ poetry. “For these windows, we came to the Brownings, the library, the designing of the library’s main floor windows from the late 1940s to the up with the idea of reflecting the collection’s donors and the artistic Brownings’ lives in Italy,” Burgess said. collaborators took great care in building’s completion in 1951. Since then, even more windows have “Their lives and their work were hugely translating ideas and poetry into glass masterpieces. Each window in been added. Today, there are the collection took about a year 62 stained glass windows in the to design and make, demanding library, constituting the largest " the library always a very detail-oriented collection of secular stained collaboration from all parties. glass in the world. Most of the maintained a “[For the designs,] I windows portray lines from the remember doing research on the Brownings’ poetry. To design and create the stained glass, the European-style sophistication" different types of flora that are found around Rome, what kind library worked with six American of things would be growing in stained glass studios; Charles J. the hills above Florence. It was quite a Connick Associates of Boston created influenced by their time in Italy.” The subjects for the windows bit of research,” Burgess said. the majority of the windows. The Florence window was the first The Italy Windows collection, are Italy (the country as a whole); created by Willett Hauser Architectural Florence, Rome, Venice, Vallombrosa, of the series to be installed. Its design Glass of Philadelphia, was installed a Benedictine monastery in the dictated the pattern for the rest of most recently in the Cox Reception Apennine Mountains, and Asolo, a the windows: an elaborate wreath Hall. These six windows are unique small town near Venice. The Brownings of flowers and fruit surrounding the


RIGHT: The stained glass window of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice is one of the many windows in the library inspired by Italian culture.

area’s principle landmark and verses the literary community. Visitors have included esteemed literary scholars of poetry. Italy was a dreamy facet of and award-winning authors. In 2005, Elizabeth’s and Robert’s relationship. the library hosted a meeting for Prior to their marriage, Robert traveled President George W. Bush, Mexican through Europe and despite her poor president Vicente Fox and Canadian health, Elizabeth dreamed of worlds beyond England. In his love letters to her, Robert painted Italy as a paradise very "Italy was a dreamy facet different from their dreary home country. A week after Elizabeth's and Robert's their private wedding, the couple left for Italy. It became relationship" their home, inspiring both to pen lines such as “Open my heart and you will see / Graved inside prime minister Paul Martin. of it, ‘Italy.’ / Such lovers old are I and Though the library has welcomed she: / So it always was, so shall ever various distinguished guests, it’s still a hidden gem in the Baylor and Waco be!” (“De Gustibus,” R.B.) The windows speak of a world communities. “We continuously encourage students beyond Waco. But that doesn’t stop the world from coming to admire the to come in to the library,” Burgess said. library’s windows and contributions to “Not just to look around, but to use the

collection. It is a research library, so we have plenty of resources for students to use.” Even though the library isn’t as popular with students as other typical study locations, some students appreciate its beauty. It offers a more serene, contemplative atmosphere than other more areas of campus. of populated “Overall, the library is just nice and quiet. When I’m studying, it’s nice to look up from your work sometimes to just see the beautiful stained glass,” freshman Kyle Binder said. “The ABL stole my heart.” With its rich literary history and gorgeous stained glass, the library seems out of place in Central Texas. But that’s where its beauty lies. Armstrong Browning Library is a tangible reminder that art – both visually and poetically – transcends time and place.

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, K C I L C N , T N I O R P E H P A R G O T O PH


ateur m a n o igh in e w s r e ph ations a c r i l g p o t p o a al ph aring n h o i s s s o t e f o h ro Three p ography and p te McGuire by Ka phot

n m s Rod Aydelotte, chief photographer for the Waco Tribune-Herald and a 1977 Baylor alum, has covered events like the 1993 Branch Davidian siege at Mount Carmel, and he’s photographed seven U.S. presidents’ visits to Waco.

Associate photo editor for National Geographic, 2009 Baylor alum Janna Dotschkal creates multimedia pieces and edits photos for National Geographic magazine, both for print and online.

Dallas-based portrait photographer Kent Barker shoots editorial pieces for magazines like Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, Esquire, GQ, Texas Monthly and for advertising firms like Nike, Budweiser, Northwestern Mutual and others.



f Is everyone a photographer? It’s so easy to borrow, rent or purchase professional photography equipment like cameras, lighting kits, online software and more. Also, social media applications make dull, uncreative photos come alive with vibrant filters and decorations. Even services like GetInstaFamous use the photo sharing application Instagram to market people and, hopefully, make them famous. Is someone a photographer just because they can take a “good” photo?

Is photography only meant for professionals who were trained for this field?

Having spent a lot of time looking at both amateur and professional photography, I can say without a doubt that there is a difference in quality. Professional photographers are trained to frame a photograph in such a way that it will be easy to read and understand. Distracting backgrounds, white space or overexposure are going to confuse the viewer. You should be able to look at a photograph and immediately know what the photographer is trying to communicate. Photojournalists in particular are trained in ways to photograph a story and provide information that is unbiased. As with reporters or other field journalists, they take every care not to alter a situation when shooting or later on in Photoshop.


Anyone can be a photographer, but just because they have the software they are not professional photographers. A professional sees photos in a different light. They see angles, composition, lighting, and by really looking at those things they create good photos.



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I’ve been a photographer all my life and I’ve seen huge changes in the medium. The digital realm and the wide offering of Photoshop has brought even more people into photography but, a lot of them that are in photography aren’t really making a living per say because they are charging so little that they aren’t making a living.

2r Can anyone be a photographer?

What makes a good photographer?


A pro is going into a situation looking for the moment which may be a brief instance in time you get the perfect photo. A pro is doing the crazy things to create the photo, they’re going to put a lot more time and energy into something - we are thinking ahead of what to do. Just because you have the camera and software doesn’t make you the photographer,


Because you can buy a nice camera and have Photoshop, you still need to learn your basic skills. Although there is this advancement, it’s still photography. There is a level of technology in post-work that it is a big factor. To be fluent in your post-work it’s important to know contemporary photography. I don’t think going to school or college does too much. I take in youth around town as interns so they can be assistants for others. Most are doing tethering. They need to know how things work and how to set up a light, et cetera.


While the accessibility of photography to the masses has changed the photography industry and made it harder for photographers to support themselves financially, there are signs that people still value professional photography. Instagram in particular has allowed many photographers to get more commissioned work than ever before. More people are looking at good photography and wanting to consume professionally crafted images.

Having a sense of ability, a point of view. A good photographer — when you look at their work, the work will exude a quality of work. One of the qualities of a good photographer is knowing what to throw away. Young photographers work hard on something and want to put it in there books but really look at the photos you need to sort out the rubbish. What is going to make you stand out? Need to take a different perspective.


A great photograph has clean lines, wellbalanced composition, appropriate exposure (light or darkness) and a story or situation that is clear and well represented. While to a certain extent amateur photographers are improving because of technological advances, in the end they often lack a refined eye for capturing the right moments in the right way.


There are various ways to classify photography, but everybody who takes a photo is going to have a unique eye, a lot of that varies from one degree to the other, are they news, sports, feature, et cetera… It doesn’t matter what equipment you may have but what kind of photographer you are.



TOP: Javiar Anderson gestures vividly with his hands. SECOND: Tahj Painia and Bruce Smith III face the congregation. THIRD: Smith III uses dramatic expression to communicate with the congregation. BOTTOM RIGHT: Painia and Anderson end a performance in a somber pose. BELOW: Anderson's facial expressions display his emotion during the mime performance.

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story by Joy Moton photography by Rachel Leland


Four young men wearing purple robes and white paint on their faces enter the sanctuary with graceful movements. As a gospel song begins to play, the group stands at the front of the church looking around frantically. Then, the young men begin to leap, spin and run with excitement along with the song’s crescendo. The congregation watches in awe as the group conveys a musical message using their bodies. At Marlboro Heights Baptist Church in Killeen, Tyresa Conley is the youth minister and overseer of this mime group. She defines mime ministry as something that “combines miming and dancing led through worship to give glory to God and minister to the hearts of people.” The mime ministry at Marlboro Heights is made up of four young men ranging in age from 14 to 18 who have a sincere desire to use their gifts to inspire people. Conley decided to begin mime ministry at Marlboro after watching her nephew, 15-year-old Javier Anderson, struggle to be a part of the predominately feminine dance ministry the church had. “I started looking into ways he could minister through dance that were more powerful and more manly,” Conley said. Around 2010, Conley tried to round up some participants for a mime routine in a Christmas play. Eight young men stepped forward. These eight took the congregation by surprise and engaged in an art form that would soon bloom into a ministry. Mime ministries exist in churches all over the country. The use of miming to worship began with a group of twin brothers called K&K Mime in the early 1990s. With bold movements and rhythmic timing, the mimes depict powerful messages by bringing song lyrics to life with their motions. Though Conley’s idea to start a mime group originated from a need for more masculine choreography, mime ministry isn’t limited to males. “Not many women feel they’re able to do it, which is very off, because anyone can mime,” 18-year-old Tahj Painia said. According to Painia, there were women who participated in the ministry until they left for college. “Anyone can mime as long as you have the heart for it,” Painia said. The mimes’ face paint plays a special role in the effects of their craft by symbolizing the concealment of their identities. Conley said it isn’t about the people doing the movements but the message they intend to convey. “Like any sport, if I’m in mask then I’m more free to do what I want to do,” Conley said. The paint also serves to draw away from the individuals’ faces so that witnesses will pay more attention to the motions of their bodies. “When you use your body, it actually paints the picture of what the message is saying,” Anderson said. “It’s actually giving a clear image of what you’re dealing with.” There is a significant difference between pantomiming and miming for ministry. These eight young men make it clear that miming for ministry isn’t a matter of entertainment.

“You can just do this out of it looks cool or whatever, but if there’s no ministry in it then there’s no point,” Anderson said. “You won’t fulfill the purpose of what mime ministry is.” As a ministry group composed of AfricanAmerican men, a significant portion of their impact comes from the group’s opposition to racial and gender-specific stereotypes. “We understand that there’s a lot of stereotypes that go into it and they’re battling that every time they stand,” Conley said. In spite of a society where teenage males are commonly portrayed negatively, these young men desire to use the ministry to portray hope to the congregation. “I feel like it brings a resurgence of hope to the community and it kind of battles the idea that all black men are the stereotype of trouble,” Painia said. It’s important to include art in ministry because art is a large part of life, Conley said. She described how the most popular songs in our culture include dance. “I think it just aids to support it in a way that grabs people, unlike just directly,” Conley said. The mimes say they cherish the brotherhood in this ministry. Anderson described his connection with the team, which was particularly significant after growing up in a single-parent home as an only child. To Anderson, the absence of his father has been tough and growing up without siblings has made him feel isolated. “I feel like every boy needs his father,” Anderson said. “Every boy needs a manly figure, period.” After growing in the mime ministry, Anderson said he no longer feels alone and has found something even greater than dear friends. “I’m an only child, but when I’m here in this ministry I feel like there’s brotherhood,” Anderson said. At the age of seven, Painia’s life was changed after moving to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was not aware that his family was leaving New Orleans for good until he got to Texas. “It was very tough seeing my mother and father trying to deal with moving from a place where they’ve grown up,” Painia said. After living in Texas for five years and finally arriving at a new church, Painia said that in spite of his timidity, the young men with whom he now dances were welcoming toward him. “They opened their arms to me to accept me and it was a smooth fit,” Painia said. After dancing with the mime ministry, people noticed him and admired his passion. “Mime ministry has drawn me closer not only to God but to other people and made me more social,” Painia said. The mimes say they hope the ministry will continue at Marlboro Heights long after they graduate. According to Conley, this form of art is significant to ministry because it conveys unforgettable images that speak to people. “It shows what God can do and it shows who he is at the same time, and I believe when you have those two as one it creates something beautiful,” Anderson said.




story by elizabeth starr photos by alyson perkins 22


bringing the art of carpentry to Waco, Clint and Kelly Harp hope to gather people around the table

A time-honored symbol of community and fellowship, the dining table is often the centerpiece of the family home. Stories, laughter and meals are shared here, where families gather at the end of a day spent apart. At the table, dreams can be shared and passions pursued. Clint and Kelly Harp’s dream of owning a home goods shop grew into something more than just a fun way to make and sell nice furniture. They believe in the ability of a well-made table to bring people together. “We’re inspired first and always by family and togetherness,” Kelly says. “The table is a place where humans gather.” Clint and Kelly are the owners of Harp Design Co., a furniture and home goods shop in the heart of Waco. Though the shop was made famous by the HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” the Harps’ path to shop ownership was completely unscripted. “You have to be crazy enough to try something like this,” Clint says, shaking his head. “At first, it didn’t feel like the furniture thing was going to work out.” Clint and Kelly were college sweethearts who got married shortly after graduation from Baylor University. While they were newlyweds, Kelly taught elementary school and Clint worked several different jobs. It was in the early days of their marriage that Clint’s passion for carpentry began to grow. “I’d always wanted to make furniture, and I would make stuff for Kelly using the tools I had bought to remodel our house in Dallas,” Clint says. The Harps traveled to Europe to be missionaries for a year after living in St. Petersburg, Fla., briefly and then in Dallas. During their time abroad, the couple’s fascination with home improvement didn’t end. “While we were in Paris, we had the opportunity to paint and fix up the little apartment we were renting,” Clint laughs. “I remember hauling these huge buckets of paint down into the metro – it was a lot of fun.” When the Harps moved back to Texas, Clint pursued several more career opportunities until he and Kelly were about to become parents for the first time. Clint took a “real” job in Houston selling medical equipment and was making a steady income, but he soon realized that his heart wasn’t in his work. “When we moved to Houston, I put my tools in the garage and just tried to start earning the most money that I could,” Clint explains. “I was making plenty of money and had a great schedule, but realized that this just wasn’t it.” After much deliberation, Clint quit his sales job and decided to dust off his furniture-building tools. The Harps merged Kelly’s clothing company, which she’d started shortly after the family moved to Houston, with Clint’s budding furniture business to form Harp Design Co.

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It was right about then that Kelly decided she wanted to return to graduate school. The couple had no way of knowing at the time that Kelly’s choice to return to Baylor to work on her master’s degree would eventually set the plans for Harp Design Co. into forward motion. “I knew if she wanted to do this, she’d have to get a full ride because we had no money,” Clint says and smiles. “But she got a full ride to start Baylor’s American studies program, because she’s incredibly smart.” The Harps moved their young children to Waco, and Clint began volunteering with Habitat For Humanity. Because of his connections within the nonprofit, he found a shop to rent, and it seemed as if Harp Design Co. was back on track. Then, through a mutual friend, the Harps met Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of “Fixer Upper” and owners of Waco’s Magnolia Market. “At the time, Joanna was doing home shows and was interested in building some furniture,” Kelly says. “No one knew this, but when we were filming the pilot for the show, Kelly was in school and I was applying for jobs,” Clint adds. Soon, Joanna caught on to Clint’s talent for furniture building and began commissioning him to build pieces she designed for her business. When the show began filming, Clint and his pieces were featured, promoting his business. When filming for “Fixer Upper” began, Harp Design Co. was still mostly in the idea phase. Now it’s a successful shop dedicated to selling home furnishings and goods built with thought and care. “I want people to look at our tables and have a desire to sit down and eat,” Kelly says. “I want them to sit down and know that table was built with energy and love.” Clint and Kelly’s design style reflects the positivity they hope to convey to their customers. Using reclaimed or recycled wood full of imperfections and flaws, Clint produces beautiful works of art in the form


of dining tables perfect for any home. “We work a lot with raw wood, but we like to push it more towards modern and clean lines,” Kelly says. Though the use of raw, imperfect wood is employed in much of Clint’s work, products sold by Harp Design Co. aren’t all fashioned in a rustic style. Nor do the Harps tend to seek trendy or modern inspiration for their pieces. The shop’s aesthetic, a modern spin on traditional lines and textures, is truly the embodiment of Clint and Kelly’s unique style. “I’m someone who goes hiking and doesn’t enjoy staying on the trail,” Clint says. “I don’t want to do something everyone else has already done. We tailor our pieces to our own personal design and they end up fitting in lots of different places.” The couple finds great joy in carefully choosing items that they hope will inspire their customers. Clint’s furniture, as well as the shop products, are designed and chosen with a keen eye and artistic flair. “I hope people bring something home from our shop that feels real, that feels like someone put a lot of thought into wanting it to be part of a home,” Kelly says. Clint and Kelly Harp’s furniture and design shop was conceived from the desire to encourage others to live the lives they love. With creativity, vision and a bit of help from “Fixer Upper,” the couple has watched their business do just that. “We hope we’re bringing people together,” Kelly says. “That’s huge for us.”

"I want people to look at our tables and have a desire to sit down and eat." - Kelly Harp

FAR LEFT: A Harp Design Co. worker finishes a table by dipping its legs into black paint. LEFT: An employee at the shop carefully polishes a table. BELOW: Kelly and Clint share a laugh over ideas for products. BOTTOM: The decorative home pieces sold in the store are carefully chosen and displayed by Kelly.

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Creative science? Those two words don’t usually correlate, until you meet Alex Le Roux. A recent Baylor mechanical engineering graduate, Le Roux designed and created a 3-D printer that can create large concrete structures and 3-D images. Le Roux has always been good with his hands. As a child, he loved building things and always excelled in math classes. When he got to Baylor he chose to major in mechanical engineering because it combined all of his favorite things. “Mechanical engineering is right the intersection of what I enjoy doing and what I am good at,” Le Roux said. His interest in 3-D printing came as Le Roux was diving deeper into his field of study. As he was deciding which route he wanted to go with mechanical engineering, Le Roux researched which engineering field was experiencing the most growth. Surprisingly, it was 3-D printing technology. Though this type of technology was still in its infancy at the time, Le Roux saw an opportunity in the field where he could be involved with every aspect of printing. He wanted to study materials science of the substrate (the material or substance with which an enzyme reacts) and stress analysis of printer components. “I bought three different 3-D printers before I decided to go out and build my own printer,” Le Roux said. “Each was a little different and taught me a lot about how a printer functions and where there might be room for improvement.” He was right. At the end of Le Roux’s journey, which took the






RIGHT: Le Roux's bedroom-size printer rests beside some tubing he created. RIGHT BELOW: A cable and wires box connects to Le Roux's printer and computer.

entire spring and summer months of 2015, he had a fully functioning 3-D printer. Le Roux’s professors were impressed that he had built a printer. One of his professors even came to his home to view it. His peers were equally as impressed and encouraging, offering to help him during the development stage of building. Since building the printer, Le Roux has been testing it to see its capabilities. He plans to begin printing the structural components to build a small house. Le Roux hopes that the house structure will show that constructing with a 3-D printer can lead to major decreases in cost, time and labor – factors often negatively associated with a construction budget. He also hopes the house structure will generate more interest for the printer itself from different companies. “We just need to refine and improve on the printer just a little more before taking on more than the few customers who have already put in orders for our minimum viable product,” Le Roux said. While reflecting on his work, Le Roux noted that creativity is needed to build a printer that makes 3-D objects. “The printer has the capability of printing most 3-D models,” Le Roux said. “The biggest restraint on what the printer outputs is what the user can imagine and model on the computer,” Le Roux said. Le Roux believes that 3-D printing can be an art form, but it depends on the printer’s capacity. “3-D printing definitely can be an art form if the printer is up to the task of making art,” Le Roux said. “Some printers are up to the task, some simply are not... I like to think that our printer does make art!”

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raising their





It’s a beautiful spring day when I meet with Fiona Bond and Rae Jefferson of Creative Waco. We’re in front of Dichotomy, Waco’s popular coffee and spirits shop, eating burritos from the food truck across the street. People from all walks of life pass us as jazz music buzzes from the coffee shop’s speakers. It’s the perfect setting to discuss the creative energy of Waco. “There is something fundamental to us as human beings that demands creativity,” says Bond, the director of Creative Waco. “It’s like an itch that we need to scratch.” Bond, a native of the United Kingdom, knows that Creative Waco can scratch that itch. Founded last April, the organization is a nonprofit that focuses on growing and supporting the creative culture of Waco. “Creative Waco is a little bit like a council for the arts,” Bond says. “We do the job of bringing together arts organizations, funders, policy, desires of our community, and put them all together in a format that can drive a powerful agenda for making Waco a cultural hub.”


Director of Creative Waco Fiona Bond brainstorms with her colleagues at a local coffee shop.

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But make no mistake: Waco is not the next Dallas, Austin or Houston. It has the potential to be something new that can blossom with its own distinct flavor. “We have a unique opportunity – we get to do the thing that really has happened hundreds of years ago in most cities in the West,” Bond says. “We get to be the generation that defines the city’s cultural identity. And that’s something that for most Western cities, the boat has already left.” For Rae Jefferson, Bond’s intern and a senior journalism major at Baylor, Waco’s dynamic is changing drastically and for the better. “I have friends who, when they were freshman here – seven, eight years ago – hated it. They were so bored,” Jefferson says. “That’s not the same message I hear from students now. I think Waco has done a good job with taking what it has and really expanding it.” Waco’s creative expansion, ironically, is credited by its size. Unlike larger Texas cities, like Dallas or Austin, Waco’s smallness allows people to be intimately connected to the community. “You get really familiar with the places that are here and the people that are here,” Jefferson says excitedly. “It’s easier for you to invest in the community when it’s small enough for you to actually access the entire community.” “And the city is small enough for a person to make a difference,” Bond chimes in. “It’s a city on a human scale.” Waco’s size also allows great performances (that might be overlooked in other cities) to thrive. And surprisingly, Waco draws globally recognized names, such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Joshua Bell. “I had the privilege of taking my two children to see Yo-Yo Ma, and in the orchestra – playing with Yo-Yo Ma – were three of their music teachers,” Bond says. “We are a town of not many more than a hundred thousand people, and yet, we have a symphony of the kind of quality that can play with top artists.” But it doesn’t matter if a world-class musician is performing or not. Waco’s success as a cultural hub lies in its community. Creative Waco approaches all events, performers and artists – both world-class and up-and-coming – with the idea of community engagement. “I love the Texas Food Truck Showdown because it shows that Waco really is so central to this area,” Jefferson says, eyeing Sergio’s across the street. “Food trucks come from Dallas, from Austin, from Houston, from all these crazy places. Waco has that capacity to be the meeting point for so many different kinds of people. And also – there’s really good food.” The Texas Food Truck Showdown is only one of several ways for the community to be


engaged in the arts. Waco has plenty of artsy hot spots and experiences, some of which are undiscovered gems. “I love going to Waco Civic Theatre, Art Center Waco, Art Forum of Waco, Art on Elm, Waco Cultural Arts Fest . . . who am I leaving out here?” Bond asks, laughing. “These are all just staples of our cultural landscape. They’re all organizations who do what they do very well.” Bond and Jefferson continue to excitedly describe Waco’s artistic groups and efforts, but it’s clear that these organizations have one thing in common: a desire to enrich Waco in shared experiences through art. “The arts are a great unifying theme,” Bond says emphatically. “I’m proud to say that on my board – at a time where great political divisiveness has never been higher in the U.S. – I have the former chairs of both the Democratic and Republican parties. And it’s because the arts unite.” But the arts also push the community forward, which is a major part of Creative Waco’s plan. Creative Waco is currently working on obtaining Cultural District status for Waco from the Texas Commission of the Arts. This proposed cultural district will be a designated area in the city that spotlights the Waco’s unique flavor. It will be a local and tourist hub and a venue for promoting the community’s economic development. “Applying for Cultural District status has been an ongoing process since last year,” Jefferson says. “We just got approval from the county to set up this district here. The process will go on from there. But getting Cultural District status isn’t just Creative Waco’s private project; the community can definitely contribute. Creative Waco is currently selling canvas tote bags, both blank and uniquely hand-painted by local artists. These bags not only raise funds for the art community, but also allow buyers to show support of the proposed cultural district. “The more support from the community we can show for the cultural district, the more likely we are to get it,” Bond says. “So we’ve been selling the tote bags. We’re auctioning them off at the end of April, beginning of May.” Bond shows me a few of the bags. They’re gorgeous, of course, but what strikes me about them is the amount of love and passion that is splashed across them. The bags are a manifestation of the care between the Waco community and the arts. That care continues to grow. “In ten years’ time, I see snapshots that are not just about the arts and culture,” Bond says, smiling. “It’s really about an ecosystem of thriving for the entire community. That’s why I’m here.”

"The ar are a g unifiyin theme" FIONA B

ABOVE: Bond and her team discuss marketing ideas at a meeting. BOTTOM LEFT AND RIGHT: Samples of brightly colored Creative Waco tote bags are displayed at the meeting. BOTTOM MIDDLE: Bond poses on a street downtown, where much of the art movement in Waco.

rts great ing "Bond

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Focus Magazine Spring 2016  
Focus Magazine Spring 2016  

Baylor University Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media's Spring 2016 Focus Magazine. Created and published by co-editors...