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march 2012

Young Artists of the Piney Woods


PLUS Emily Elbert’s Texas Tour The Healing Arts Exhibit at the Tyler Museum of Art

Suzanne Lynn’s Eclectic Art Collection Photograph of Colby Johnston by Kathy Bowden



As we were putting together this month’s issue featuring young artists of the Piney Woods, I got to thinking about where these talented folks might be in ten years. Of course, that is impossible to know. Since I was sitting on my back porch surrounded by dogs, unoccupied by any other task, and I had already watched the umpteenth re-run of “dog chases squirrel,” my thoughts turned to the past, which is slightly more knowable than the future. If we had been publishing this magazine 10 years ago, I thought, we probably would have written about young artists then, too. Who, hypothetically, would those artists have been? A little research turned up some candidates. Brea Grant is a 31-year-old actress who is currently appearing in Showtime’s drama series Dexter, and is best known for her earlier role in the hit NBC series Heros. She is also co-writing comic books with her brother Zane. She has a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Texas. She did a lot of local theatre while growing up in Marshall. As she got older and began thinking about what she wanted to do with her life, she says she fell back on the one thing she remembered loving the most, and that was acting. So, she took a few acting classes and moved to Los Angeles. Sherri DuPree Bemis is a vocalist, guitarist and lyricist for the Texas-born melodic indie pop band Eisley. She and her sister/band mate, Stacy, wrote all of the songs for Eisley’s 2011 album The Valley. Sherri also has graphic arts talent and avidly pursues tatoo design. She designs and illustrates the band’s album covers and tee shirts and has an active photography hobby. Sherri and Stacy are from Tyler. Longview native Travis Flournoy is a film and television editor living in Los Angeles. He enjoys the challenge of editing because, he says, “It’s like solving a puzzle with too many pieces — and there’s no box to tell you what you’re making until you’re done.” Among other work, he has edited the television episode “Freddy’s Makeover” on Split Ends 401, the feature documentary Beirut Rising, Sara Gazarek’s music video “Dear Someone” and directed the featurette Jay Johnson: The Two and Only. Of course, these three natives of the Piney Woods are “successful,” that is they are doing something they love to do and are making a living doing it. They are not alone, of course. There are many others from the area that are making their way through life and pursuing creative careers with varying degrees of success. A few have achieved celebrity status. Many, like those above, are firmly established on solid career paths, while the remainder toil away at day jobs while channeling their creative energy to follow their artistic instincts. This month’s issue is devoted to a new group of young artists of the Piney Woods. We have selected a few from the field of prospects, most of whom are still in their teens. Featured are extended profiles of musicians Caitlyn Brette, Kassie Dugan, Ally Venable, and Tyler Lenius; photographer Waylon Cunningham; dancer Colby Johnston; and fashion designer Annie Walter. There does not appear to be any shortage of talent, hard work or inspiration among this group. A good sign that East Texas will be a continued source of artistic accomplishment, and in the next decade or so, that we will be able to take note of their successes in these pages.

Gary Krell, Co-Publisher

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About the cover:

Art is defined as a product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. Piney Woods Live is an expression of the community it serves.

Colby Johnston by Fallon Burns On the outside, 17-year-old Junior Colby Johnston looks like any other student. But once you get past her bigger than life smile and radiant eyes, you find something much, much more. Not only is Colby first in her class, Captain of the Kilgore High School drill team and member of the Longview Ballet, she dedicates a minimum of 30 hours a week to persuing her dream of becoming a professional dancer. You could say that dancing is in her blood. Her grandmother, Susie Merritt, still owns a dance studio in downtown Kilgore where she taught dance for twenty years. Colby’s older sister, Lexi, is currently studying dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts. With all this dance background, one would think Colby would have fallen in love with the art immediately. However, Colby originally had her own interests. She played soccer, softball, excelled in gymnastics, and became a cheerleader in the eighth grade. But everything changed the summer of 2009. Colby was selected to attend Miami City Ballet’s Summer Intensive Workshop and was picked to dance the feature role. According to Colby, “It forced me to focus all my attention on dancing. That’s when I fell in love.” Colby starts her school day with Advanced Placement History, Advanced Placement English, Chemistry, and Pre-Calculus. After lunch, she spends six straight hours dancing followed by homework. Colby credits her dedication and drive to her father, Brian, who has often told her, “You have to try your hardest or you won’t get anywhere.” Colby confesses, “I always wanted to cry if I struck out or couldn’t make a goal, but he told me there was no crying in sports, and you have to suck it up. Its been hard to learn, but I would not

be where I am without it.” Colby has a dream to perform on Broadway. The only thing standing in her way is a cracked spine. During the school year there is no time to let the injury rest. “Hopefully, this summer I will be able to audition for colleges 100% okay. My back has been like this for a year; it just scares me. I don’t want to have to dance with an injury like this and not be able to perform. If I could do anything, I would like to attend the University of North Carolina School of Arts and study acting and singing.” Colby’s bright and energetic personality is positively uplifting. It’s not hard to see why she was chosen as captain of her high school drill team as a junior. It’s not hard to see why she is first in her class and was chosen to dance the lead roll of Tinkerbell for the Longview Ballet in their recent production of Peter Pan. Her drive and determination is one that parallels an Olympic athlete. The future is unclear for Colby, but I think we can all agree, it’s bright.

Photograph by Sean Landry

How to reach us: Call the American Classifieds’ Longview Office at 903-758-6900 or 800-333-3082. Fax 903-758-8181 100 W. Hawkins Pkwy., Suite C., Longview, Texas 75605

About the cover - Colby Johnston ....................................................... 3 Kassie Duggan..................................................................................... 4 Waylon Cunningham .......................................................................... 6 Emily Elbert brings Berklee musicians home for Texas tour ................ 7 Artist Profiles ...................................................................................... 8 Tyler Lenius ...................................................................................... 10 ArtsView Children’s Theatre present Winnie-The-Pooh .................... 11 Mt. Vernon Music Association’s Young Artists Showcase ................. 11 Ally Venerable ................................................................................... 12 The Healing Arts exhibit at the Tyler Museum of Art ....................... 13 Caitlyn Brette .................................................................................... 14 Annie Walters - duct tape fashion designer ........................................ 15 Beyond Mere Thoughts by Karen Dean............................................. 17 Piney Woods artist’s home on tour .................................................... 17 Kilgore College’s portfolio competition ............................................. 18 Bigony watercolors accepted into major exhibitions.......................... 19 Artist’s World by Jan Statman ........................................................... 20 Tyler Civic Chorale present Mass Appeal .......................................... 21 The “B” Side of Music by Randy Brown ........................................... 22 Isador Saslav to be honored by Stephen F. Austin State University .... 23 Davis Lane ........................................................................................ 24 Rhythm in Motion featuring the Dallas Black Dance Theatre II ........ 25 Art in the Home - Suzanne Lynn’s eclectic art collection ................... 26

Publishers / Editors Tracy Magness Krell & Gary Krell Advertising Director Suzanne Warren Public Relations Randi Garcia Contributing Writers Kari Kramer, Jan Statman, Randy Brown, Karen Dean, Fallon Burns, Kiley Miles, Savannah Reeves Graphic Artists Tracy Krell, Joni Guess, Mary Hernandez Sales Randi Garcia, Donna Vincent, April Harlow, Fallon Burns Kathy Hollan, Cookie Bias, Suzanne Warren, Carolee Chandler

Sign up for our newsletter by going to our website: © 2012 by Piney Woods Live. All rights reserved. This publication, its associated website and their content is copyright of Piney Woods LIVE. Any reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher is prohibited. March 2012 - Page 3

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Kassie Duggan

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by Kari Kramer


t thirteen, East Texas singer-songwriter Kassie Duggan admits she has a long way to go. In fact, she’s perfectly happy about that. “I want to take my time and build my career slowly while still taking the time to enjoy being a kid,” she explained. “You’re only a kid once, right? I know that I will soon have a whole lot of responsibilities that I don’t have now.” Still, as a “kid,” she’s caught the attention of music fans and representatives from across the nation. Inspired by programs like American Idol, she began singing at the age of 6 while living in Idaho. After moving to Texas, she was given a Carrie Underwood karaoke disc for Christmas. “I would sit in my room with a karaoke machine and a microphone and sing to it at the top of my lungs for hours,” she said. “After that, I couldn’t resist going up on stage at fairs and other outdoor events as much as I could.” Eventually, her passion became a reality, opening for Tracy Lawrence, Jerrod Niemann, Brantley Gilbert and other Texas bands. “My performance at Mud Nationals in 2010 was, by far, my biggest performance with over 10,000 people there,” she noted. “It was really fun!” For Kassie, confirmation of her efforts became evident after recording her first demo in the spring of 2011. “I hadn’t really planned on going anywhere with it,” she said. “After it was finished, we went ahead and uploaded the video for ‘Respect’ on YouTube, and it got over 200 views within the first hour of posting it. “After a few months, my dad started getting phone calls from producers and other executives out of Nashville and LA. My parents flew out to LA to meet with several of the top producers in the music industry. Just recently, my ‘Respect’ video has reached 16,000 views, so I guess I would consider that somewhat successful.” Though she loves performing, Kassie also writes many of her own songs, sometimes collaborating with other artists. “I like writing music that has a unique sound to it,” she said. “I really love all of the classic rhythm and blues, jazz and Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and Etta James, so I try to incorporate a similar sound into my own music. “I love playing piano. I actually play and sing a lot of different types of music on the piano – everything from Beyoncé and Adele and even some of my own songs. I haven’t


really fallen hard into a single genre yet. I like the pop/soul sound of Motown and the authenticity of country. We’ll see where it goes!” Kassie said she has gotten more comfortable on stage as time has passed, one of the biggest changes she has noticed in herself. “I don’t seem to worry as much about making a mistake,” she explained. “I figure that people do not expect artists to be perfect. They are looking for an artist who is willing to give them their best, and they seem to know when it is real. “I really want to be an artist that connects with people through my music. I really want people to feel my music.” Kassie’s music has been capturing the attention of listeners young and old, but performing for all her fans has created it’s own challenges. Finding age-friendly musical venues has been somewhat of an obstacle. Being a minor, she can’t perform in several of the big bars and clubs that draw music enthusiasts. As she prepares for a journey in Europe (where she hopes to play a few shows), Kassie is spending most of her free time working on her songwriting. “I think what is most challenging about being a young artist is coming up with ideas to write about in a song,” she said. “I’m only 13, so a love song or a breakup song isn’t really going to be very believable.” Recognizing her strengths and

boundaries, might be what makes Kassie different from so many of the young performers out there. At the end of the day, she’s just happy being a talented kid. “The thought of having a career at 13 is a little bit overwhelming at times, so that is why I am trying to take things slow,” she said. “I figure I have a lot of years ahead of me to have a singing career. I hope when the time is right and the right opportunity comes along, I’ll be ready.” More information about Kassie is available on her website:

Scan the QR code below to view Kassie’s video!

March 2012 - Page 5

Your Always Right with Blue & White.

photography Waylon Cunningham

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by Student Reporter, Kiley Miles - Whitehouse High School


aylon Cunningham, a senior at Whitehouse High School, cautiously stepped into a wood-rotted and run-down shack nearly overwhelmed with the stench of decay and armed only with his camera. He never imagined that he would win a top honor for a photograph that he would take once he got inside. Cunningham was awarded a Gold Seal for his photograph that he submitted into the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) last year. The photograph was recognized as one of the top art pieces at the state level after being one of 24,000 entries.

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This marks the second time that such an honor was bestowed upon Cunningham. He advanced to the state level with two entries: a still life shot of apples and a portrait of his grandmother, Gurney. The portrait later advanced and won a Gold Seal. The photograph that Cunningham earned his second Gold Seal with depicted an unusual and somewhat controversial subject. “I submitted a black and white photograph of a dead dog I had discovered in an abandoned drug den in deep rural East Texas,” Cunningham said. “The second I took that photograph, I knew it was a powerful shot. East Texas has a terrible drug problem, and I feel that this photograph strongly conveys the horror and emptiness that the drug culture makes its victims suffer through.” Although Cunningham considers art to be one of the two favorite aspects of his life, he also is devoted to a number of other organizations and activities. Cunningham is a pianist, assistant editor of the school newspaper, and executive president of the Student Council. He is also a student leader on the debate team, which he counts as his primary passion. “The debate I do, LincolnDouglas debate, is a one-onone event that focuses on philosophical clash and ethical evaluations,” Cunningham explained. “I love philosophy and exploring issues, so I try to integrate what I learn into my art.” At the beginning of his high school career, Cunningham developed the professional goal of one day becoming a

photojournalist for National Geographic or another similar in style magazine. He continued to pursue this goal throughout high school because of his love of understanding the events and issues within the world and sharing that information with those around him. “I think it’s very important to feel a connection to world events,” Cunningham stated. “Too often do we think of issues and global events in the abstract, like they are inconsequential developments in the plot of some fantasy world. We might hear about a tsunami in Asia or genocide in Africa, but words are insufficient to relay emotions in the scene. That’s where the ‘photo’ in ‘photojournalism’ comes in. Pictures allow us to connect a face with a name and an event with an emotion. Journalism is much more effective when we not only know about an issue,

but we also feel it.” Cunningham’s typical favorite subject for photography consists of faces and portraits because of emotions that can be plainly evident in a person’s face. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a face says a million,” Cunningham said. Cunningham constantly tries to improve on his talent by printing his photos as large as possible, thus enhancing every detail. “The bigger, the better,” he declared. “I want to tell a big story with my pictures, so naturally I need to make the frame bigger since a picture’s story is limited to its frame. It forces me to have a high standard, and print only the good shots.”

music Emily Elbert brings Berklee musicians home for Texas tour


ince graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston last year, Coppell, Texas native Emily Elbert has focused on carving out a music career as a global artist. She has performed over 450 shows around the world, and last year performed in eleven countries, including cultural outreach programming for the U.S. Embassy in Israel, Palestine, Indonesia, and Thailand. For three weeks in March, Elbert will be touring Texas, accompanied by The Yesberger Band and Hannah Read. Along with performances in Austin during South by Southwest, the young musicians will play in Mineola, Winnsboro, San Marcos, Crockett, Mansfield, and Dallas. “After traveling so much this past year,” Emily said, “I’m so glad to be home, and am really excited to get to bring Hannah Read and The Yesberger Band with me. It will be a pleasure to introduce Texans to their wonderful music, and also a joy to share the great warmth of Texas audiences with them. I’ve played around the world, but nothing quite compares to playing in small town Texas!” Hannah Read is an innovative singer, songwriter, and fiddler from Edinburgh, Scotland, who now lives in New York City. She has performed for the Dalai Lama and Russian President Putin, and played with Celine Dion. Read studied vocal jazz at The American School of Modern Music in Paris, then moved to the United States where she studied fiddle at Berklee, including bluegrass, Appalachian, old-time, jazz, and other popular music styles.

The Yesberger Band is a groovy and poetic trio who mixes jazz with catchy pop. Lead singer and pianist Devan Yesberger is joined by good friends Gabriel Smith on drums and Kyle Miles on bass. All are currently Berklee seniors. Last summer, the band’s cross-country tour included opening shows for Bobby McFerrin, The Yellow Jackets, and The Temptations. Emily appeared in February at That Guy’s Coffee in Paris, along with Liz Longley, and will be at Crossroads Music Company in Winnsboro, with the Yesberger Band and Hannah on March 10. Other dates, venues, music samples, and more information may be found on the websites for all three acts:,, and

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artists Luis Gilberto Vazquez

artist profiles

ArtsView Children’s Theatre Veteran Luis Vazquez : Ready for the World

Article submissions: Articles are accepted and reviewed by a panel. Photos may accompany articles. Space, relevance, writing and appropriateness play a huge part in the decision making process. Individual artists are more likely to have fewer than 100 words plus a photo published. Deadlines are the 5th of the month prior to publication.

Kayla Valek “I am a wellrounded ‘artist in training.’ My mediums consist of: acrylic, spray paint, and multimedia. I make sock dolls and am also a freelance photographer. My sock dolls have funky personalities. They are full of bright colors to make your eyes light up. I love taking photos of outdoor scenes and using models. Although I’m still learning, I feel like I’m making a lot of progress and have been more visible in the public eye. Most of my work is full of vibrant colors with an organic feel. If you would like to contact me, you can reach me at: Email: Facebook: Bubbly Artisan Gallery (Kayla Valek)”

March 2012 - Page 8

Luis Vazquez has grown up on the ArtsView Children’s Theatre stage. This graduating high school senior has honed and crafted his acting skills and in the process, has exemplified not only a love of the arts but the desire to give back to others and share what he knows… and loves! Luis Vazquez first performed in Happily Ever After at ArtsView in 2005. He was 11 years old, and ArtsView had just acquired their building located at 313 W. Tyler Street in Longview. Over the next several years Luis appeared in Bugsy Malone, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Tom Sawyer and most recently Beauty and the Beast. Luis states, “My passion and love for theatre would not have been possible without the nurture and guidance of ArtsView Children’s Theatre.” Also, thankful to our community and many sponsors for monetarily supporting ArtsView, Luis recognizes the great opportunity to learn about theatre and the arts for little to no cost. Luis, now a senior at Longview High School, established the Hispanic Theatre Guild, demonstrating his tenacious attitude and desire to share from his experiences. ArtsView Co-Founder Vickie Echols says, “Luis’ presence on stage is undeniable. He commands the stage.” Other community organizations see the spark, too! Luis has spoken at Habitat Humanity dinners and most recently received standing ovations

when he delivered his 2012 Martin Luther King Essay at community-wide celebrations. Quoting excerpts from his MLK Essay, “We, the dreamers, are an unstoppable force… we will endure through the storms and strive to achieve the goal of creating a better future.” And, we believe him. Look for Luis to make waves in our community and the world – whether it’s through poetry readings, directing a friend’s music video, or performing or teaching a class at ArtsView. Luis will make an impact, and we are better for it! ArtsView Children’s Theatre is proud of the students that have spent many days and nights at the theatre pursuing their love for theatre. However, ArtsView is even more proud of students, now young adults, who are recognizing their impact on the world. Many thanks go to the countless supporters that have made ArtsView possible by giving so many children the opportunity to love what they know. Our hope is that ArtsView can continue to meet the needs of our community and offer students a quality theatre arts experience and education. To learn more about ArtsView or to support a child TODAY, please call 903-2367535, visit our website www.artsviewchildrenstheatre. com or email Angela Wright, General Manager at ArtsView Children’s Theatre, Where Acting Up is Always Fun!

Caroline Bump Actress, Writer, Choreographer Caroline has been involved in ArtsView Children’s Theatre productions since 2005. Her attention to detail, commitment level, and unprecedented ability to memorize lines and stage blocking made her an amazing Assistant Stage Manager for Bugsy Malone at just 11 years old. Ever since, Caroline has been involved in numerous shows onstage, backstage, and has even won several ArtsView Playwriting Contests in which her plays have been produced for the stage. Her favorite experiences include the role of Jojo in Seussical the Musical, the Original Works camps, and participating in and performing at the Texas Non-Profit Theatre Youth Conference. She also loves choreographing for many of the show choirs including Bravo Players, Encore Players, Peewee Players, Homeschooled Classes, M&Ms Toy Story, Wizard of Oz, etc. Next year she plans on pursuing a major in Musical Theatre and would eventually like to be a professional actress. She also has her sights on holding an awareness campaign using the theatre to present issues such as teen suicide, bullying, and other crises. To anyone thinking about getting involved at ArtsView, she says, “Go for it. Stop thinking and jump right in. At ArtsView, there’s always something for everybody onstage or backstage. ArtsView is a place of learning, teaching, and participating where you will get to use your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. I guarantee you will learn more than just theatre. It will be an unforgettable experience you will never regret.”

artists Carly Hedrick

Abhidnya “Abhi” Ghuge

“I’m 17 years old. I currently attend Longview High School where I take 2D studio art taught by Ellen Herbert. I have also taken Drawing 2 taught by Stephanie Rhea. I absolutely love art and music. I am in the Longview High School Choir, and I have taken piano lessons since I was seven years old. In 2007, while attending Judson Middle School, I won first place on my world poster for the Lions Club in 2007. When I was a freshman, one of my pieces was displayed in the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. This year I won a $2000 scholarship at the Kilgore College Secondary School Portfolio Competition. After that, I will transfer to another university, although I am unsure of which one. I’m not sure of what path I want to pursue, but it will undoubtedly have something to do with art or music. I am HORRIBLE at math. The boy in my drawing above is the only reason that I’m passing pre-calculus – he’s a mathematical genius. I tend to be better at English and the arts. I’ve had a love for art since birth; my parents have kept my doodles since I was able to hold a crayon.”

Abhidnya Ghuge is a graduate student pursing a master of fine arts at the University of Texas at Tyler. She uses paper and specifically, paper plates, as her medium of choice. Her emphasis is on the concept of transformation expressed visually by the physical transformation of paper plates into something ethereal and spiritual. She creates mixed media drawings on paper, prints from woodcuts carved out of birch wood panels and sculptural works made with paper plates. The intricacy of her work, attention to detail and most important, her unquestionable uniqueness is why Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas chose her work to be exhibited in their second series of First Launch Exhibition in 2011. She has won awards and shown her work in New York, Tennessee, Dallas, Houston, Rockport and Tyler. She has works in private collections in London, USA and India. Abhi is from Bombay, India and currently resides in Tyler with her husband and children. Upcoming Exhibitions: Rising Eyes of Texas 2012 student juried exhibition, Rockport, Texas, March 7 - March 31 Craighead Green Gallery, (Dallas) artist group show, March 31 May 5.

Paul “Popi” Anderson

Lindsey Gail

Paul “Popi” Anderson is an artist who has lived much of his life in East Texas but has broad experience that includes living in Central Africa and Europe as well as both East and West coasts and the American Midwest. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Anderson has a unique flair and view of the world. He works mostly in oil paint creating abstract art from medium to large scale. He also is a photo artist and uses a Canon digital as well as Holga film cameras to capture unique unexpected effects. Anderson is represented by P’s Gallery in Longview, Texas. Paul says, “It is my desire and goal that each painting I create finds someone to communicate with, someone to make a connection with. My approach and attitude to art is very down to earth. As a very visual person, I paint what I see and feel through my mind’s eye.” For an opportunity to see more in person, Paul Anderson will have his work on exhibit at Caffé Tazza in Tyler, Texas on Thursday evening, March 29, 5-8 p.m.

Blues, soul, and country are styles of music that you will experience when you get to know the East Texas Singer Songwriter Lindsey Gail. Lindsey began singing and writing songs at the age of fourteen and recently released her first CD, Little Loaded Pistol, a compilation of original songs. The development of her unique style is the result of years of musical influence from people like Patsy Cline, Bonnie Raitt, and Tanya Tucker to just name a few. Lindsey loves to sing and is devoted to connecting with her fans through songs from her heart. Don’t let her size and soft-spoken nature mislead you. Many are pleasantly surprised when Lindsey steps on stage and unleashes the power of her vocals and excitement of her stage presence. Lindsey’s song, “Guilty Cowboy,” recently hit the #1 spot on the Texas charts, Alternative Country category on Three songs held positions in the top 40 throughout the 2011 calendar year. Stay tuned! 903-241-2846

March 2012 - Page 9


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music Tyler Lenius

by Kari Kramer

Tyler Lenius’ musical inspiration was electrified by the only musical band whose name qualifies them to do so – AC/DC. He was 9 years old when he saw a video of the iconic rock band. At the age of 13, he began playing a guitar and eventually learned many of the band’s songs. But, it wasn’t until his grandfather introduced him to the musical stylings of Jimi Hendrix that he understood the power of a set of strings. Still, for the Winnsboro teen, playing guitar wasn’t enough. “My dad told me that I would not be anything if I didn’t learn to sing,” he recalled. “I really didn’t think that I could sing, but one night, very late, my dad caught me singing while playing the guitar. He busted into my room and said, ‘Who is that singing?’ From that time on, my mother and dad have pushed me to sing more while playing the guitar.” By the age of 14, Tyler was writing his own songs. “The first song that I wrote was ‘Love Hate Relationship,’ which is the title track of my new EP.” As he grew more comfortable with his guitar and his voice, Tyler, now 16, admits that he was hesitant, at first, about performing for an audience. “My first show was at Winnsboro High School,” he recalled. “I was scared to death. I didn’t think that I could perform due to my hands shaking so bad. But, once I hit the first note, I knew that I had found my home on the stage.” While he’s grown as a performer and musician since that time, Tyler said he feels like he’s retained the same musical core he began with – something that is uniquely his. “My music has a mix of everything,”

Youn Artis g t

he said. “I like playing the blues and being able to express my feelings on the guitar. My music has a mix of rock and indie, in my opinion.” “I began writing my own music and had to find the music to back it, and while doing so, I came up with my sound.” And, while he has remained the same in many ways since beginning his journey, Tyler said he expects a certain amount of change to come as he matures along with his career. “I’m still wet behind the ears and will stumble and fall through this path that I’m taking,” he said. “However, I will learn from my mistakes. The seasoned musicians are like a library – they have a wealth of information on the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts.’” Thus far, it seems he’s on the right path. He recently released his new CD, which is available on iTunes as well as other mediapurchasing sites. Tyler said he’s been keeping busy promoting his career and playing shows nearly every weekend. This summer he plans to hit the road with hopes of being picked up by a label or management team. He is especially excited about playing his first out-of-state show in Los Angeles, California later this year. For more about Tyler, his music and shows, visit his website at or his Facebook page:

Scan the QR code below to view Tyler’s video!

theatre & news ArtsView Children’s Theatre presents the Oh-So-Lovable WINNIE-THE-POOH ArtsView Children’s Theatre welcomes the return of its favorite storybook character, WINNIE-THE-POOH! Based on the stories by A.A. Milne, the production will run Thursday through Sunday, March 1-4, 2012. The production lasts approximately one hour and is recommended for children ages 4 and up. In A.A. Milne’s delightful tale, there is nothing Christopher Robin’s friend, Pooh, would rather do than drift peacefully through life, humming tunes and stopping every once in awhile to “eat a little something.” But this time, his penchant for eating gets him stuck! And it’s just when his friend Piglet needs him most! Kanga is preparing to give poor Piglet a bath and forcing him to take Strengthening Medicine! Will Pooh get unstuck in time? ArtsView Children’s Theatre’s all youth show, under the direction of veteran director Pat Clark, features performers 8-15 years of age from Longview and the surrounding areas - including Hallsville, Kilgore, Tatum, and Gilmer. New to ArtsView, Mason Moore portrays Pooh, while veteran ArtsView participants, Lane Sullivan (Christopher Robin), Rachel Armour (Kanga), and Lexi Jones (Piglet) all bring Pooh’s adventures to life! Apprentices, led by Artistic Director Laura Bowen, are ages 13-15, and help to create and manage the action backstage. They

are Kaitlyn Maloy, Calvin Davis, Nicole Mayfield, BethanyTrauger and Paige Bagley. The show features scene design and construction by Cody Bowen, scenic painting by ArtsView’s Board President, Caryn Pepper, lighting by Anthony “Fro” Horner, sound by Nathan Olson, costumes by Bonnie Capshaw, and props, hair/ make-up design and application by Kelli Jester. Mindy Armour is Stage Manager, and Alan Parker is Technical Director. Following the adventures of the teddy bear with an insatiable appetite for honey, the show opens Thursday, March 1, at 7:00 p.m. with additional shows on Friday and Saturday, March 2 & 3 at 7 p.m. Matinees will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 3 & 4, at 2:00 p.m. All performances will be located at ArtsView Children’s Theatre, 313 W. Tyler Street, downtown Longview. For more information on this production and to find out more about the 2012 Season or PATHS – (Performing Arts THeatre School) please visit our website at www. Special thanks to the City of Longview ~ ArtsView Children’s Theatre wishes to thank the Cultural Activities Advisory Commission for their continuing support of selected productions and musicals.

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The Mount Vernon Music Association looking for artists for annual Young Artists Showcase As seen on National Geographic Knights of Mayhem full contact jousting.

The Mount Vernon Music Association will hold its annual Young Artists Showcase concert at the Mouunt Vernon Music Hall at 3:00 p.m., May 20, 2012. All students from East Texas are eligible, with ages up to and including high school seniors. Contestants may be vocal or instrumental, soloists or ensembles. The application deadline is April 1, 2012. Materials should be sent to the Mount Vernon Music Scholarship Committee, Box 719, Mount Vernon, TX 75457. Applicants should include three copies of an audition recording (CD or DVD) of the piece they intend to perform at the Showcase. Also include an application fee of $10 for soloist and accompanist or $15 for ensemble. Checks should be made payable to Mount Vernon Music Association.

Performance Awards will be made to an East Texas music student or group of students. Three recipients will be chosen from the performers at the Young Artists Showcase and will be recognized during that program. The monetary awards will be for $150, $125, and $100. The intent of these awards is to encourage and acknowledge excellence in music performance. The Mouunt Vernon Music Hall is located at 402 Leftwich St. in Mount Vernon. Call 903-563-3780 for more information.

March 3-4 Pirates Invasion/Coronation of Queen Catherine De Medici

March 10-11 Age of Discovery

March 17-18 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

March 24-25 Renaissance Romance

March 30 Student Day

An application form for the Young Artists Showcase can be found on the MVM website at:

March 31 Fairy Tales

9:00 pm - Midnight Fifth Annual Masquerade Ball

Artisans• Comedians • Pirates

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March 2012 - Page 11

music Ally Venable

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by Kari Kramer

4th Annual Short Exposure Photography Exhibit –– March 3-18 Juror: Andrzej Maciejewski

Maciejewski’s Garden of Eden series at LMFA February 21stMarch 10th

52nd Annual Student Invitational March 24 - April 28 Juror: James Hayes

Hayes’ glasswork currently on display at LMFA

215 E. Tyler Street, Longview, TX (903)753-8103

March 2012 - Page 12

Ally Venable of Kilgore plays four instruments. She sings. She writes her own music and performs popular covers at large and small shows around the region. Her talent is that of a seasoned musician, which might come as a surprise given that she’s only 12 years old. “I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I received a small karaoke machine when I was about 4 years old, and I would sing ‘Brick House’ in front of the mirror in my room.” Later, she began performing at church and school programs. Eventually, she was asked to perform with one of her favorite local bands, The Darby Warren Project. “Darby Warren from The Darby Warren Project invited me to sing with them one time, and I sang ‘Me and Bobby McGee,’” she said. “They are an awesome rockabilly band. Then, I started filling in breaks for them at The Back Porch in Kilgore. I was pretty excited about getting to do that. After that, it just grew from there.” Ally eventually put together her own three-hour set, performing at venues around the area. Her band, The Ally Venable Texas Austen Band, is beginning to gain fanfare. Her style is a combination of several musical influences. “The music that I like to play is blues and Texas country, and some of the pop songs are fun, too,” she said. She credits entertainers like Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson and Stevie Ray Vaughn for her musical flair. “I really enjoy listening to Buddy Guy because I like the way he plays his strat and how he emulates the whole band with the piano and the horns with some of the chords he plays,” she added. It’s evident Ally knows her music, but she admits getting others to see that hasn’t always been easy. “Being this young, it is hard to get people to take you seriously. They think it’s just some little girl wanting to sing a song,” she explained. “I overcome that by giving my performance my all, and hopefully once they hear me, they know I’m pretty good.” “Young entertainers are different from older entertainers because they don’t have all of the experience as some of the pros, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t work

as hard as they do, or have less talent… It’s just about getting out there and giving it your best for your audience.” Pushing forward and constantly aspiring to improve, Ally feels good about the direction of her career. “I feel like my guitar playing has improved and my voice is has strengthened over the last year,” she said. “I’m just having fun with it; hopefully in the future I will make it big.” Ally is currently working on a demo which she hopes to have completed in the next few months. In addition to several local shows, she’ll be performing at AlleyFest in Longview later this year. For more information about Ally, visit her Facebook fan page:

Scan the QR code below to view Ally’s video!

art & news The Healing Arts exhibition


Benefiting Bethesda Health Clinic & Tyler Museum of Art Bethesda Health Clinic and the Tyler Museum of Art are excited to announce a new exhibition and gala slated for May 2012. The Healing Arts exhibition will feature artworks created by local artists who have a connection to the Clinic and will be on view May 8 through May 27 at the Museum. A gala will be held at the TMA May 17 offering guests an opportunity to enjoy the exhibition as well as food, drinks and the high-energy music of Latin contemporary jazz artist, Carlos Guedes. The events’ proceeds will benefit both Bethesda Health Clinic and the Tyler Museum of Art. Artists may pick up an entry form and information packet from both institutions and must turn in their entry forms to Bethesda by March 30. To qualify for entry, artists must be connected to the Clinic in some way, either as a caregiver, patient, volunteer, or otherwise. Artists of any skill level are invited to create art expressing their personal experiences with both physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the healing process. “I am very excited about collaborating with the Tyler Museum of Art for The Healing Arts exhibit,” said Diane Thomason, Bethesda’s Director of Development. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our patients to express their personal experiences with illness, healing, gratitude, faith and hope. By creating a work of art, our patients and those touched by Bethesda Health Clinic can use the creative process of art as a healing force.” Although the body of research and studies focused on the role of art in the healing process is relatively new, many medical professionals have observed and reported a connection between creative expression and the body’s physical healing processes. In fact, new research connects art therapy with recovery from various brain injuries and conditions such as dementia. “The simple act of creating something joins a

person’s physical body – their hands and eyes – to their emotions and imaginations,” said TMA Director Kimberley Tomio. “I think that when a person undergoes treatment for serious or long term illness, he or she may lose that mind body connection, and creating a work of art can help mend that disconnect. We all need a reason to heal, and as in so many other instances, art can serve as a great reminder of what life is all about.” The concept of The Healing Arts exhibition and gala was created by both organizations working in concert to produce an event that celebrated this connection between art and healing, and the lives that have been forever changed by both. “There seems to be mounting evidence that all forms of creative expression can be helpful in the healing process, and we hope that our collaboration with Bethesda will strengthen both organizations’ ability to serve our community,” said Tomio. The Healing Arts exhibition will be free and open to the public during regular Museum hours. Tickets for The Healing Arts Gala are $75.00 per person, and may be purchased by calling the Tyler Museum of Art at 903-595-1001. In addition to viewing the original art, guests of the gala are sure to enjoy a dynamic performance by Carlos Guedes. The Dallas based musician plays a custom-made electroacoustic harp and combines a unique blend of contemporary Latin jazz with Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms. Sponsorships are available, and both event and sponsorship information may be found at Bethesda Health Clinic is a Christ-centered ministry that provides affordable, high quality care for the working uninsured in Smith County. The clinic offers primary and specialty medical care, dental care, and health care education. The clinic’s success is due in large part to volunteerism and the extensive on-going collaborative network supporting these services. In every year since its inception, the clinic has served an increasing number of patients. In 2011, Bethesda conducted over 15,000 patient visits.

The Tyler Museum of Art exists as an educational and cultural center to enrich the lives of East Texas citizens and visitors through the collection, preservation, study, exhibition, interpretation, and celebration of the visual arts. Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. For more information on The Healing Arts exhibition and gala, call (903) 595-1001 or visit

MARCH 1-3 & 9-10 • 7PM & MARCH MARC MA ARC RCH CH 4 & 11n•c2PM 2e PM M s

a m or fn by er pWr Written Writ itte itte it ten Michael M icha ic cha hael el Stewart el Ste tewa ew rt lrrrry e Music c &a Lyrics Lyri Ly rn rics ri ics sc b by y Je Jerr Jerry re ry d He H Herman erman e rman n Publisher: Tams-Witmark Tam

The story of Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, and send his money circulating among the people like rainwater the way her late husband taught her.

Director: Heather Finch Musical Sequences by Tammy McGary

MAIN STREET THEATRE 227 Main Street • Sulphur Springs, Texas Performed by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.


Short Story Contest Rules Posted The North East Texas Writers Organization (NETWO) has posted rules for their 2012 Short Story Contest on its website. The contest opened in January, with the final deadline for receiving entries falling on March 15. The top story will receive a $150 prize along with an offer of publication. Other cash prizes to be awarded by the three-judge panel are $100, $50, and $25. Complete details are at In other NETWO matters, the 2012 Writers Conference is scheduled for April 27 and 28. This year’s event will be held at

Mt. Pleasant’s Civic Center. Two New York agents, a small-press publisher and editor, along with authors Jodi Thomas, Jaye Wells, Corey Mitchell, and Sylvia Dickey Smith will present the program. Friday’s agenda consists of two workshops with Saturday’s events to include a speaker presentation and one-on-one interviews with the agents and publisher. For detailed information go to the NETWO website, www., where biographies of this year’s speakers can be found along with online registration capability.

106 W. Main St. • Henderson, TX

903-392-8200 Email: Mon.-Thurs. 7am-10pm Fri. 7am-12am • Sat. 8am-12am

March 2012 - Page 13


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Caitlyn Brette by Kari Kramer

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SATURDAY, MARCH 10 Roger Creager Doors Open at 8pm • $15 Cover

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 Jessica Breanne & The Electric Hearts (Rock) Doors Open at 8pm • $10 Cover


Uncle Lucius (Rock) Doors Open at 5pm • $10 Cover

Adam Brown & The Triple Crown Band Doors Open at 8pm • $5 Cover



Zach Edwards Doors Open at 8pm • $10 Cover

Anthony G. Parrish and Friends Doors Open at 8pm • $5 Cover

March 2012 - Page 14

As a young child, Caitlyn Brette, 14, wasn’t the obvious rising singing sensation that she has become. “I had a really bad lisp when I was little, and my speech therapist suggested singing as a treatment,” she said. As she continued singing, those around her began to take notice of her improvement. At the time, her father was playing bass guitar for the Houston-area band Black Jack County. “He noticed that I was really good at it, even with the lisp, and started teaching me,” she recalled. “As I got better and started doing this professionally, he quit the band and became my guitar player. That is one of the things I love about this, is I get to spend so much time with my dad.” By the age of 9, Caitlyn was performing in Nashville. For her, the experience left an impression, “Hearing all the positive feedback about my voice really made me feel like I was on my way,” she said. Since, she’s continued to expand her musical horizons, encompassing a wide spectrum of styles. “I really love all kinds of music, and this shows in my songs,” she said. “My music can be classified as everything from country to rock, and many other styles in between.” Caitlyn has already written and recorded her own original music. Her EP, This is Me, is available on iTunes and Amazon. com. “One of the songs on it, ‘Legacy of the Red, White and Blue,’ is a military tribute song about my family,” she noted. “All the money we raise from the sales will be donated to Lone Star Military Resources which helps returning soldiers here in East

Texas and Wounded Warriors of Texas.” In addition to traveling around Texas and the rest of the United States, Caitlyn is busy working on her first full-length album – a lot for any entertainer to handle. But for Caitlyn, her age makes the situation especially different, and she’s thankful for the support system she has in place. “It is really hard to get people in this business to take a 14-year-old serious,” she said. “The fact that I know half the guys at my label (Angry 3 Records) and a band of adults helps people sit up and realize I really am serious.” “I mean, I am only 14, but I have been performing in front of live audiences since I was 8. So, I have over 6 years doing this -- some older performers can’t say the same.” Looking into the future, she hopes to mature as an artist and gain new fans. “I really feel that I am still learning, so I am always changing -- hopefully getting better,” she said. “I just want people to hear and like my music. I put so much of myself in the songs I write that I want people to feel something when they hear them.” To find out more about Caitlyn and her tour schedule, visit

Scan the QR code to view Caitlyn’s video!

fashion Annie Walters: duct tape fashion designer


Youn Artis g t

by Student Reporter, Savannah Reeves Whitehouse High School


ameras flash as the couple poses before a painted background. The boy grins in his tuxedo, and the girl smiles in her dress with a corsage around her wrist – normal prom clothes. But upon closer inspection, the camera will see that every article of clothing is made of duct tape. “I’ve always loved fashion design, and the whole idea that you can [wear] something that is completely yours,” senior Annie Walters says. “I wanted to make the dresses because it’s different, and I’ve never seen anyone [make] something out of duct tape and actually be able to wear it.” Walters came up with the idea for a duct tape dress on her own and makes all of the dresses by herself. This includes purchasing the materials, designing the pattern, and putting it all together. She began working on her dresses two years ago, has completed two of them, and plans to begin making a third in the next few months. Each dress is made entirely out of duct tape and took four to five months to complete. Walters also enjoys other forms of art leading her to participate in several art classes. She claims that the one thing that she couldn’t do without would be her two favorite art teachers. “There are some days she will be in [art class] just one period, and there are [other] days she’ll be in here three periods a day, and then she works on [her dresses] a lot at home,” Walter’s art teacher, Christine Killian, says. “It’s very time consuming. The joy of being able to start and complete these projects excites Walters, and she loves the idea that she is able to make something that nobody else makes. Her first dress’s theme was prom, her second told a love story, and the one that she will start in March will have a theme of things that intrigue her. “I usually research the trends that are going on right now, and connect them into the types of dresses that I’m making so that they’re in style,” Walters says. “When I start making the dress, I get a pattern from a local store and I [use] construction paper to construct what the dress will look like. I then layer the construction paper with plastic, layer the plastic with duct tape, cut out all construction paper, and then piece the duct tape pieces together to make the dress.”

Walters is inspired by several different things including the song, “Let Me Feel You Shine,” by the David Crowder Band. Other inspirations come from people. Walters has received many responses about her dresses from other people, but the most memorable was from a child. “This one little girl told me she wanted to be like me and design something unique and creative when she was older,” Walters said. “That really touched me that someone said that. It really meant a lot because I want to be able to be a leader, and inspire people to be creative and challenge themselves.” Walters has participated in several competitions with her dresses including a “Stuck at Prom” prom dress for a chance at a scholarship and several others that required her to model the dresses. For this purpose, Walters makes all of the dresses to custom-fit herself. Her most recent competition was the East Texas State Fair Youth Fashion Show where Annie entered “Mosaic Love Story” and earned a first place nod and an opportunity at a scholarship. This dress has more than 18,000 hand cut mosaic pieces in varying colors and over 1,500 hand cut and folded blades of grass. It depicts a scene of two young children in innocent play on the front and, as time goes by, we see the young couple frozen in time at the moment he is professing his love and proposing marriage. Walters believes that fashion designers hold a big role in society because they are the ones that choose what the next generation will be wearing. Walter’s fashion dreams aren’t limited strictly to duct tape, however. Her favorite artwork is Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World because of the story of Sleeping Beauty told through mosaics. “I am a very visual person,” Walters says. “So the whole idea that the big Disney castle was a mosaic and made by hand really inspired me to challenge myself. In the future, Walters hopes to go into fashion retail and become a buyer at local

Woman In Mind A bit of comedy – a bit of drama. Written by English playwright Alan Ayckbourn Directed by Maryann Miller

MARCH 16, 17, 23, 24 Evening performances begin at 7:00 pm

MARCH 18, 25 Sunday matinee performances begin at 2:00 pm Tickets may be purchased at the door: $10 for adults and $5 for students. 200 Market St. • Winnsboro, Texas




Helping others with their online presence. stores. To help accomplish this dream, she wishes that she had the power to see into the future, so she can see what will be in style in the next generation. “What she’s learning here is how things are put together for quality, and how to make different patterns do different things,” Killian says, “which is going to come in handy when she gets into fashion merchandising.” Walter plans to continue making these dresses and pursuing her dreams in the fashion world, while remembering a piece of advice she was once given to “Don’t stop trying your hardest.” Walters told her. “Even if you’re tired of working on a project that takes you four to five months, you just have to persevere. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing, because it’s going to turn out great.”

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writing Beyond Mere Thoughts

by Karen Dean

Nurturing Artistic Creativity in Our Children

Have you every stopped to think about what’s going through a child’s mind that would have creative artistic possibilities? Have you done or said anything with a child to encourage them to draw a special picture or write an interesting story? When their world is being bombarded by electronic devices, multiple story lines, and blasting colorful images, it might be too crowded in their minds to come up with a creative thought of their own. If art classes and creative writing are not offered or encouraged at school, how much potential is hidden or wasted? Parents and grandparents often tell me about the gifted child in their lives who is constantly sketching, painting, writing, building, or doing some other creative projects. These adults share their frustration of wanting training to help develop their talented young people. While teaching at a Creativity Summer Camp, I experienced first hand the hunger, enthusiasm, and talent in so many children. How awesome to see their attention and eyes glued to a watercolor painting demonstration as I pulled them into my world of bold paint strokes and dancing brushes in all sizes and shapes. Some of their questions are quite entertaining and specific, pouring straight from what’s

in their fascinated hearts. You can tell they would love to get their itching hands on good art supplies to create a spectacular masterpiece from their mind. What a great joy to see young faces light up to watch possibilities unfold before them. So often the children are bursting with excitement as they vividly describe the story burning in them but don’t know how to put it to paper. They already know who their wild characters are and the strange settings where they exist. One summer, while teaching at a Creativity Camp, my group of campers ranged from 1st to 6th grade. First, the entire group of campers watched me demonstrate a simple way to draw people. Then, my smaller group of eight attentively listened as I shared crazy stories of how I get ideas to write and illustrate children’s books. Giving them story starter ideas for characters and plots and quickly jotting them down on a fill-in-the-blank form gave them the spark to surge ahead quickly. They immediately started writing like busy little beavers on a mission. At the end of the five day camping week after working on their books just one hour a day, each child had completed a book they wrote and illustrated. Parents were amazed and proud to see their child’s creation on display.

Consider enrolling your child in fun creative classes to help unlock their artistic potential. Even if they are not in a class, having their own art supplies at home and encouragement from parents can make a huge difference in that child’s life. For me, it’s lasted a lifetime. Stop by next month for a few more writing tips.

In addition to being a published author and illustrator of children’s books, Karen Dean is also an accomplished artist in oil and watercolor, painting architectural landscapes, seascapes, still life, and Classical Realism portraits. Visit her website to view the gallery.

Mineola Main Street Music on the Streets

MUSICIANS WANTED for acoustic music on the streets! Listeners Welcome • Bring your lawn chairs. • Pull up and have a good time!

Every 3rd Saturday Rain or Shine 10am-?

No Amps Permitted • Bring you instrument and chair, find a group, form a circle and start pickin’ and singin. • Meet at the gazebo on Johnson St. and form groups or bring your group.


It costs nothing to play or listen!

Meet at the Gazebo on S. Johnson at 10am to form groups. For additional information, call Dewey Choate at 903-569-9845


No matter the medium, we’re pleased to support the Arts in East Texas.

“There is incredible power in the arts to inspire and influence.” Julie Taymor, American Director

Piney Woods artists’ home on tour Historic Tyler on Tour, an annual tour of historic homes held during Tyler’s spring Azalea Trails is scheduled for March 31 & April 1, 2012. One of the seven homes on the tour this year is that of Don and Bonnie Edmonds. Our readers will recall that their Mid-Century Modern and its artistic owners were the subjects of the feature article “Exploring Art with the One You Love” in the February 2011 issue of Piney Woods Live.

3700 Gilmer Road • 202 Hollybrook Dr. 903-759-0751

March 2012 - Page 17

time flies. plan ahead. Training wheels today, a new car tomorrow. Preschool now, college before you know it. From education savings plans to stocks, mutual funds and insurance, we have the investment solutions you need to plan for the future.

news Ten high school art students earn KC scholarships at portfolio competition

• Investments • Financial Planning • Estate Plans • Tax Planning • Retirement Planning • Financial Reports • Bookkeeping / Payroll • Income Tax Preparation

Talk to a financial advisor today about your picture for tomorrow.


903.297.9933 to arrange a free consultation.

Tommy N. Thomas & Associates 2836 Bill Owens Pkwy., Ste A Longview, TX 75605


Kilgore College 2012 Art Symposium Winners. From left to right: Jacob Delacarda, instructor Jeanne Davis, Sarah Smith, Cole Brasil, Courtney Howland, instructor Linda Keane, Samantha Michaelsen, juror Dr. Rebecca Riley, Sarah Johnson, juror Future Akins-Tillett, Lee Anna Latham, instructor Mary Graham, Nichole Adair, instructor Ellen Herbert and Catherine Garland.

Ten high school art students were named as Kilgore College scholarship recipients as part of the annual Kilgore College Secondary School Portfolio Competition on Feb. 5. The scholarships to KC, ranging from $800 to $2,000 were presented to students for outstanding portfolios. Carly Hedrick of Longview High School was named the top prize winner and was awarded a $2,000 KC scholarship. Student artwork was judged by two jurors, Dr. Rebecca Riley and Future Akins-Tillett. Riley is an artist and Vice President at Lone Star College—Kingwood in Houston. Akins-Tillett is an Associate Professor in Art Education and Visual Studies at Texas Tech University. Students from 21 East Texas counties

took part in the contest. The portfolio competition was part of the college’s Secondary Art Symposium for secondary school art teachers and their students. “The purpose of the symposium is to avail professionals (artists/instructors) for consultation and demonstrations that might provide insight and renew enthusiasm for teaching art,” said Carolyn FoxHearne, gallery director. The symposium also provided the opportunity for teachers and students to see a cross-section of work from schools participating in the Portfolio Competition.

High School


Scholarship Awarded


Ellen Herbert

L’Louise Graham Scholarship ($2,000)

Courtney Howland

Robert E. Lee

Linda Keane, Linda East

Jeanne Velde Scholarship ($1,600)

Lee Anna Latham

Pine Tree

Mary Graham


Robert E. Lee

Linda Keane, Linda East


Student Carly Hedrick

Samantha Michaelsen

Pine Tree

Mary Graham


Spring Hill

Bud Dunn


Robert E. Lee

Linda Keane, Linda East


Cartherine Garland


Ellen Herbert


Jacob Delacarda


Jeanne Davis


Sarah Smith


Jeanne Davis


Nichole Adair Cole Brasil Sarah Johnson


news Bigony watercolors accepted into major exhibitions Artist Ron Bigony has had his painting West End Depot accepted into the Western Federation of Watercolors 37th Annual Exhibition in Las Vegas, NV. Entries into the exhibition are restricted to members of one of the eleven regional associations that make up the Western Federation. The Las Vegas exhibition runs April 2 through June 4, 2012. Mr. Bigony has also received an acceptance notice from the American Watercolor Societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 145th International Exhibition, April 3-22, 2012 at the Salmagundi Club in New York, NY. The painting accepted is called Bank Alley and is a watercolor of the alley behind the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Getting to exhibit in both organizations is exciting and special. It is really an honor and privilege to have my painting exhibited along with such great artists as Frank Webb, George James, John Salimen, and my personal favorite, Joseph Zbukvic,â&#x20AC;? said Mr. Bigony. Mr. Bigony is past president of the East Texas Fine Arts Association and lives in Longview. Some of his work is shown at Longviewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gallery 100 and at the Frame Up Gallery in Mount Vernon. The artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s web-site is

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March 2012 - Page 19

art Artist’s World by Jan Statman In Praise of Collectors

You see them everywhere: the little kid with a pocket full of bright pebbles, the kid with the big sand pail full of interesting seashells, or the kid hauling around the big stack of comic books. They were born to be collectors. The kid who collected the pebbles possibly grew up to collect antique furniture. The kid with the seashells possibly grew up to collect art, and the kid who finally forgave his mom for throwing away all those comic books probably now has a fascinating home library. Collectors collect. That’s who they are; that’s what they do. They collect gimme caps or stamps, or vintage teapots or china figurines or tiny elephants. If you can name it, there is somebody who will collect it, and there will be people who are busy publishing magazines about it. Whether it is a cottage or a castle, the well-appointed home will always have a collection of books, not only books but worn volumes of good books. You will hear a respectable sound system playing good music. You will find a collection of original, meaningful art. There will be one or more pieces of family heirloom furnishings such as grandpa’s desk, Aunt Sophie’s chair, or great grandma’s dining table. Of course, we all know that decorating styles are different. One person might like clean edged contemporary where one spectacular painting or sculpture dominates a room. Another person might like the filled-full look of a European parlor where every wall boasts collections of framed items, where every surface has a treasure for the eye, and every curio cabinet is filled with lovingly collected curios. Still another person might have started to collect Native American pottery even before the prices went sky high. In defense of all these dedicated collectors, I am obliged to mention that Hoarders is one of the most dangerous shows now on television. The camera sails through the homes of seriously troubled people who have filled their spaces so full there is nothing left but narrow pathways to wind through their rooms. Maybe these people started out by collecting interesting stories from old magazines? Perhaps they progressed from keeping

March 2012 - Page 20

interesting stories to keeping the whole magazine? Before long they had piles of magazines stacked in every corner. From there it was easy to start collecting old newspapers, church bulletins, bicycle parts, balls of twine, jelly jars, cardboard boxes and peculiar felt hats. They never know when they will need a cardboard box or a peculiar felt hat. Their collections somehow became obsessions covering walls, floors, tables, and chairs making proper housekeeping impossible. Generations of Dutch children were told to pick up after themselves because their rooms looked “Like a housekeeping from Jan Steen.” Jan Steen was a Dutch Genre artist who painted the unruly lives of peasants in such messy rooms that cats and dogs were eating off the floors. A whole generation of New York children were told to pick up after themselves because their rooms looked “Just like the Collier Brothers.” The Collier brothers were a pair of unfortunate eccentric recluses whose Fifth Avenue mansion was in horrible disrepair. When they died, it took the police several days to find the poor men’s bodies. They were lost in a maze of junk. These are examples of the collector’s instinct that has somehow gone terribly wrong. It does not apply to all people who collect and tastefully display items that capture their interests and feed their imaginations. Unfortunately, this popular television show has made it possible for obsessive compulsive congenital minimalists to point their scrawny judgmental fingers at any and all collectors while they use insulting words like “pack rat” and “hoarder.” As an artist, I am fortunate to know that my paintings have been adopted by loving collectors. One particular art collector likes to hang artwork floor to ceiling in his large rooms. When they are not displayed on the walls, some parts of this particular collection are carefully stored in a special climate controlled cabinet behind locked doors. A floor to ceiling collection of paintings, sculpture and graphics is not “hoarding.” It is proof of the collector’s dedication.

(Continued on next page.)

art & news Some collectors like exquisite textiles, handsome design and high fashion. These collectors fill their closets to overflowing with carefully selected pieces in many styles and colors. Sometimes, their wardrobes span decades. This year, popular women’s magazines demand that proper people toss out perfectly good articles of clothing because they have not been worn this season. This must be done to avoid the appearance of being “hoarders.” Last year, they demanded that the same proper people purchase something they called “investment clothing” that was supposed to last forever. Collectors pay no attention. Collectors collect. Then there is the library problem. Once upon a time, an extensive home library was a mark of intelligence and culture. Now a book collector is branded with that unfortunate “hoarder” label. While it may be true that those adorable little flat screen devices might hold as many volumes as the entire Library of

Congress, some of us still take comfort in collecting real books. Real books have pages to turn, an illustration or two and maybe even a nice hard cover. Their batteries never run down. Book collectors can always reach out to walls of books for a comfortable visit with old friends. Rhett might leave Scarlett, but he will never leave me in the fog. Alice will always follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole. Huck and Jim will always have adventures on the Big River. Mr. Darcy will always come courting. Hermione will always figure things out before Harry and Ron. More recently, we are left to wonder whether the newlyweds, Bella and Edward, like to go shopping at the Wal-Mart after midnight. So let’s hear a nice loud cheer for the people with pebbles in their pockets and seashells on their windowsills. Collectors are not “hoarders.” They are the experts whose knowledge and dedication should be respected, admired, and cherished.

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For the third concert of its 2011/2012 season, the Tyler Civic Chorale draws upon the rich literature of choral masses written for the Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, and Greek Orthodox churches. The composers or arrangers include Felice Anerio, Anatoly Liadov, Tomas Luis de Victoria, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The concert will be sung twice, first at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and again at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. The site is the sanctuary of Christ Church Episcopal at 118 Bois d’Arc in Tyler. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students, available at the door or from choristers. Donald Duncan, the Chorale’s artistic director, says, “Our upcoming program draws upon the rich heritage of music written for the Christian celebration of the Mass. The repertoire includes two mass settings of contrasting styles as well as accompanying motets and Marian anthems. Stylistically speaking, there is something for everyone in this program! The music is generally serene, deeply spiritual, and quite beautiful.” For more information, e-mail or visit and the Chorale’s Facebook page.

Texas State Gospel Singing Convention Carolyn Teage, Mount Vernon’s Main Street Manager, has announced that Mount Vernon has been selected as the site of the 80th Annual Texas State Gospel Singing Convention. The convention date is April 13-14, 2012 and is expected to draw a crowd of more than 200 gospel singers from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama. “First United Methodist Church has graciously offered use of their facilities for the convention and we anticipate a big crowd and a big time! Everyone is welcome” at the event, said Ms. Teague. A woman of many hats, Ms. Teague is also the tourism chairman for the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, and said that she will be the “point person” for the event. Interested persons can contact her at 903-537-4070 or go to or

March 2012 - Page 21

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Randy Bachman sang what would later become â&#x20AC;&#x153;Takinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Care of Businessâ&#x20AC;? while still a member of The Guess Who. At that time the song was called â&#x20AC;&#x153;White Collar Worker,â&#x20AC;? but The Guess Who never recorded it because they thought the guitar intro was too reminiscent of The Beatlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Paperback Writer.â&#x20AC;? When Bachman-Turner Overdrive was formed in Vancouver, a local DJ there had a catch phrase: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taking care of business.â&#x20AC;? Well, Randy heard his show and rewrote the chorus to utilize that phrase replacing â&#x20AC;&#x153;white collar workerâ&#x20AC;? for the chorus. It was released on BTOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second record, and the rest is history. In 2011, it was the most licensed song in Sony Musicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s catalog. So, guess what? This month we are going to talk about taking care of business. I am going to back up a little in the conversation we have been having in this column and refocus. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bâ&#x20AC;? Side of Music is really about the business of music, and there are a lot of sides to that business. This time I want to talk about one of the nuts and bolts of the music business: your brand. You arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t only putting your art out there. No, you are building a brand, and that brand is you. How that brand (you) is viewed by others directly determines how successful you will be. Scary to think about, huh? Everything you do, say, write, sing, paint or sculpt is either adding to or taking away from your image and reputation as an artist. That image and reputation is

your brand, and your brand is what sells product, puts folks in seats, gets bookings and has folks paying attention to your art. Think of building your brand as its own art form. Now you may be chuckling a little right now when I talk about brand building, saying to yourself, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now he isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t talking about me. I am an artist, not some kind of marketing person.â&#x20AC;? Well, I hate to break this to you, but unless you take your brand very seriously, you are losing money and selling yourself short. Think about it from the perspective of a potential booking. A promoter is trying to bring as many people as possible into their venue. When that promoter looks for potential artists to hire, they are going to look for someone who will show up on time, take the job seriously, not get drunk and fall off the stage (unless that is your brand), provide a professional quality performance and, most of all, pull in a crowd by their name (brand) recognition. I guess you might have gleaned from the last paragraph that sometimes bad behavior is desirable. Well yes, sometimes it is an artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brand. Jim Morrison of the Doors and many others built a reputation of pushing the envelope of entertainment into areas of not normally accepted behavior. If your brand is to be the bad boy or girl of your genre, then get to it. But remember, it is difficult to change horses in the middle of a stream. Once you go one direction, it is very difficult to change that direction without some damage, if only temporary, to your brand. I am not telling you this to get you to change what you do as an artist. Nope. I am simply telling you this in order to make you aware that you are a brand and that like everything in the universe, every action has a reaction. If your goal, (Okay, so wait just a cotton pickinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; second here. Did he just ask if my art had a goal? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m an artist, not some kind of business person.) is to be a

well known childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s artist, then making more bawdy work public might not push your career towards where you want it to go. While a specific goal might not be your cup of tea, it is certainly beneficial to keep a general direction of travel (goal) in mind. Some artists work hard to be hated because that is the reputation (brand) that they have developed. Others strive to be loved, and others still want to walk that fine line between love and hate. It makes no difference, but you should be aware that you are making a choice every time you perform, write a press release, make a booking, email a fan, sign an autograph, post to a social network, have promo photos shot, make a video, create your art or yes, even write a column. So, I think it is a good idea to ask yourself a few questions about your art: Who am I? What is my brand, and how do I want to build upon what I already have to get closer to my artistic and yes, even my financial goals as an artist? You really donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to decide, but if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, then be aware that without a plan, you are wandering in the wilderness. Unless your goal is to do just that, then as I have heard it said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care where you are going, you could wind up anywhere.â&#x20AC;? If that really isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t where you want to go, then maybe you need to start takinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; care of business. Who knows, you may find out things about yourself as a person and an artist you never knew. After all, isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t that what art is really all about? By the way, if you have comments, suggestions or criticisms about this or any of my columns, feel free to send them to me: If you ever simply get curious about what the heck this rambling old man does, then go to Listen to a few songs and let me know what you think. See you next issue. Randy Brown is a small business owner and singer/songwriter living in East Texas and has been involved with many sides of the music business over the years from being a sideman, a sound man, touring songwriter, operating a venue, and a recording studio owner/engineer. He is building his own brand but is afraid to think about what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s value might be.

news Isador Saslav to be honored by Stephen F. Austin State University by Jan Statman Dr. Isador Saslav will receive a singular honor when the School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches dedicates a scholarship fund in his name. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;Isidor Saslav String Scholarship Fundâ&#x20AC;? was created in recognition of Dr. Saslavâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important contributions to music and to the university. He was a member of the faculty of the Stephen F. Austin Music Department, which is now the School of Music, for ten years from 1993-2003. A special concert will be performed at Cole Hall in the Wright Music Building to mark the historic event. In addition to Dr. Saslav and his wife, nationally known pianist Ann Heiligman Saslav, the twenty-five performers in the unique concert will include Saslavâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former students at Stephen F. Austin State University and faculty members of the School of Music. Friends and colleagues of Dr. Saslav who hold important positions in the field of music will travel to Nacogdoches from across the United States to help celebrate the new string scholarship. The concert will include the Mendelssohn D Minor Trio performed by four different sets of three performers, and the Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins performed by twelve different soloist performers. Stephen F. Austinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Orchestra of the Pines directed by its music director, Gene Moon, will accompany the Vivaldi Concerto. Visiting violinists who will perform in the concert include Charles Castleman of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York; Karen Clarke, faculty member at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee; Kenneth Goldsmith, faculty member at Rice University in Houston; Leonard Kacenjar, conductor of the Marshall Symphony; and Richard Luby, faculty member at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Cellists will include Paul Christopher, faculty member at Northwestern University in

Natchitoches, Louisiana; Evan Drachman, director of the Piatigorsky Foundation in New York; Daniel Levine, member of the Dallas Symphony; and Robert Newkirk, faculty member of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Pianists will include Richard Dowling of Dowling Music in Houston; Tonu Kalam, conductor of the Longview Symphony Orchestra; and Robert Freeman, retired Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Faculty members at Stephen F. Austin University will include violinist Jennifer Dalmas; cellists Evgeny Raychev, Mario Ajero, Andrew Parr; and pianists Linda Parr and Ron Petti. Dr. Saslavâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s former students are Shane Almendarez, Fahad Awan, Hee Chan Chang, and Diana Hector Norwood. The public is invited to attend the unusual musical event. Donations to the Isidor Saslav String Scholarship Fund will be accepted at the door. Dr. Saslav has served as concertmaster for more than seventy-five different productions in various cities. To mention only a few of his remarkable accomplishments, Saslav was concertmaster of, and soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Minnesota, Baltimore, and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras as well as the orchestra of the Round Top Festival in Texas which he helped to found with conductor Leon Fleisher in 1975. He also served as concertmaster of the Indiana University, Dallas, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, and Baltimore Opera Orchestras and has been a member of the Detroit Symphony, the Chautauqua Symphony, and the Orchestra of the Festival Casals in Puerto Rico. The Saslavs presently live in Mrs. Saslavâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hometown of Overton. He serves as concertmaster for the Longview Symphony Orchestra.

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music Davis Lane

by Kari Kramer

Those who know the East Texas music scene already

know Davis Lane. The Texas Country-Rock crew has been entertaining fans at saloons, dive bars and dance halls since 2006.

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Today, leadman Joshua Hamman, drummer Jake Boggess and the rest of the Davis Lane Band, are still playing saloons and dive bars, but they occasionally find themselves entertaining larger crowds at places like Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, too. They recently held a CD release for their second album, How to Catch a Train, at The Basement Bar in Fort Worth. “There was a great crowd,” said Hamman. “It was a great, attentive and supportive audience.” The show was streamed by, which provided a unique opportunity and experience for the band. “It made for a great night of filming,” added Hamman. “The friends and new fans we had at the show helped everything stay at the right level of intensity throughout the night.” The footage from the event might later be used for a music video the band plans to produce. It’s all part of a larger plan the band hopes to pursue. And yet, to Hamman, in some ways, it doesn’t seem like that long ago the band was just a couple of college guys playing music. “A friend of mine, Jason Hicks, started Davis Lane with me,” said Hamman. “We were playing baseball together at A&M Commerce. I guess we were bored, ha!” The band name comes right out of East Texas where Hamman is from. “Davis Lane is the county road where I kind of grew up on the family farm,” explained Hamman. “It was my grandparents’ place. They were the only people on the road who weren’t Davises. So, it just kind of seemed fitting to me.” Hamman, a Grand Saline native, stuck with his dream of creating a successful band over the years. Combining his East Texas roots with several musical influences, Davis Lane started creating a brand of music crowds adore. “Growing up in a small country town influences everything about your life whether you want it to or not,” Hamman said. “However, I’ve been influenced by everything from human emotion witnessed from afar, to personal experience.” “As far as musical influence, Steve Earle has always been a large influence on me. There’s so much great music out there that it’s hard to say exactly where we draw all our influence because it’s kind of different for every mode. For example, as a writer, my influences are Steve Earle, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Townes Van Zandt and many others. As a performer, the list would be vastly different with people like The Marshall Tucker Band.” Boggess, a resident of Tyler, who grew up listening to classic rock with his father, said that while living in East Texas has an impact on the band’s music, they aren’t “boxed in” by it. “What influences our music is each member’s unique style that he brings to the table,” he added. The rocking rhythm and country beats paired with Hamman’s smooth and gritty vocals have blended for a unique sound. “I would call it Americana or folk rock,” Hamman said. “We mix in some blues, country and rock and roll.” It’s a formula that has proved successful. Fans now pack shows

throughout Texas and parts of the Southeast. The combination Photo by Muddy Boots Photography of musical styles grabs the attention of a wide range of eager ears. “I think our music actually appeals to a large, diverse group of people,” said Hamman. “They range in age from 8 to 80 – maybe older or younger, but that hasn’t been verified. People usually dig us that are fans of Texas Country or Southern Rock. However, we get compared to people from all genres. We really play a variety of styles in our music, at least as far as our live performance is considered. The album is probably a little more country than anything. That’s one of the reasons we are looking to jump back into the studio very soon.” The band has put out two albums. Their first album was selfproduced and recorded with Bryan Foster of OddBox Studios. That album gained them a fair amount of attention, but it was their second effort, How to Catch a Train, that was recorded in Fort Worth at SG Studios. “It turned out great,” said Hamman. “We collaborated with Greg and a good friend of ours, Jackson Edwards of The WeatherVanes, on the production and are super happy with how it turned out.” Their single off that album titled “Sabine River Bottom” has enjoyed several weeks on the Texas Regional Radio Top 100 chart. “We couldn’t be prouder that our first attempt did so well,” said Hamman, who has been traveling the Southeastern United States playing shows and promoting the song and album. “It’s been kind of hectic trying to handle all of the booking and showing up on the doorstep of radio stations all across the state to promote and trying to play shows and practice,” he said. “The journey is hectic, to say the least. It’s been fun though.” Both he and Boggess said they hope the momentum continues to build. They’d like to see sold-out shows at larger venues as the notoriety of the band increases. They are currently working on new material while debating whether to release another single off How to Catch a Train. “It’s really hard to decide because we like all of the music for different reasons,” explained Hamman. “We are writing new music every day and are ready to get back into the studio very soon to work on another album.” Boggess said the band, which has seen its fair share of rotating members over the years, finally feels settled. “We have finally found a group that feels complete, and we are trying our best to run with it,” he said. “That’s all you can do.” Hamman said he certainly has no plans on stopping now. “I’ve always kind of been led to writing poetry, lyrics, short stories, or whatever I could,” he said. “I’ll always write and play. One day, I’m sure I’ll stop chasing the highway, but until then, it’s going to be a good ride.” The band’s music can be found on iTunes, Rhapsody, Zune, and Amazon. Their music and more information about the Davis Lane Band is also available on their website

dance Rhythm in Motion...featuring the Dallas Black Dance Theatre II

East Texas Symphonic Band’s 2011-2012 Schedule Sounds of Spring Concert • APRIL 2, 2012 Featuring Jennifer Puckett on flute and a vocal ensemble singing to selections from Les Miserables. Belcher Center, 7:30 pm, $1 at the door for adults (students & children free)

Pops in the Park Concert • MAY 24, 2012 Teague Park Amphitheatre, 7:00 pm, Free Admission

The Arts and Humanities Council of East Texas (AHCET) presents another fantastic year and evening of stunning and mesmerizing performances of the second company of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. The crowd-pleasing dancers will be at Caldwell Auditorium, Saturday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. “There’s a buzz in the air with great anticipation of these extraordinary artists coming back to Tyler for a third consecutive year,” says AHCET Executive Director Debbie Kirkland-Waffer. Tyler/ East Texas will have the opportunity to experience an evening of imaginative excellence and energetically strong performances. This year’s theme, Rhythm in Motion, promises to be another stunning mixed repertory of modern, jazz, ethnic and spiritual works. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre II consists of 10 semiprofessional, aspiring artists from around the nation. The dance company engages the cross-cultural community through

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Teresa McKenzie will be holding a web painting class on Wednesday, March 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Mineola League of the Arts, 200 W. Blair in Mineola. This is an abstract type of painting which uses Halloween spider webbing. It is very interesting and exciting to see how your painting turns out. Fees are $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers. Supplies are furnished. If you have your own inks or acrylics that you would like to try, you can bring them. For additional information, call the League at 903-569-8877.

March 2012 - Page 25


art in the home Suzanne Lynn’s eclectic art collection by Jan Statmen

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Live Music 2nd Saturdays Shannon Monk Trio – March 10 Dale Cummings – April 14

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March 2012 - Page 26

When guests visit her home filled with art, sculpture, and art objects, it is difficult to believe that Suzanne Lynn hasn’t always been an art collector. Although she always enjoyed art, she credits her interest in collecting to the time she moved to Laguna Beach, California. “When I was living in Laguna Beach, they had an art show they called Pageant of the Masters,” she explained. “They selected a master’s painting, and they recreated that painting on-stage with real people. The background was painted life-sized, and the people posed in costume to create the image. It is still going on and it has been a sell out every year since 1932. A friend said, ‘Come go with me. I have tickets, and tickets are hard to get.’ I didn’t want to go because I thought it was a rather odd idea, but I went, and when I saw it, I could not believe it! It was fabulous! I had always been interested in art, but that truly sparked my interest.” Living in a community that prided itself on supporting the arts encouraged her dedication to art. “Laguna Beach supports the arts,” she said. “In turn, the arts support the community because every year tourists go there, not only for the magnificent scenery, but to see and buy art. When you are in Laguna Beach, you are always surrounded with art. Even the city is a work of art. It is drop-dead gorgeous. It’s just like you are living in a painting. You are right there on the coast, and the drive from Laguna Beach to Newport

Beach is as pretty a drive as you can see anywhere in the world. There are tons of galleries. There is art and there are artists everywhere. Some of it is very bad, and some of it is very good.” She began her collection by having the opportunity to meet and visit with working artists. A large landscape, a small still life, and several other paintings in her living room were painted by popular California artist, Ron Young, who became a close friend. “He was exhibiting in a lot of galleries in California,” she explained. “I was interested because he kept telling me, ‘Look at this.’ and ‘Let’s go look at that.’ I had the privilege of attending exhibits with him which added greatly to my appreciation of the art.” The Longview native has lived in New York, and California and has had the chance to travel to Asia, Africa, Europe and many of the exciting and exotic places of the world. “I bought the small painting of a man and woman in Montmartre in Paris,” she said. “It was winter and it was cold. The painting was in a street fair where paintings are hanging off all the fences. This painting just struck me, so I bought it. That’s all it takes. I just have to like it. I will know I like it when I see it, and I don’t care if it matches my red walls or my print sofa or a favorite chair or anything like that. It doesn’t have to fit into any certain spot in my house. If I like it, I will find a place for it. It just has to speak to me. I bought this little bronze from an artist in Colorado who I met at an art show. I fell in love with it, and I still love it.” In addition to the Ron Young paintings in her living room, a whimsical floral painting by Ransle hangs above the mantel which is guarded by an Early American angel. Two small Chinese figures stand on pedestals in the company of ceramic plates from Middle Europe and the Orient. The grouping is completed with hand-turned wooden candlesticks, crystal bowls, and a standing wooden Buddha. “I didn’t want him to look so poor so I gave him a lovely necklace. I bought it at a charity function,” she offered. “ I think it makes him look quite handsome. I loved the necklace as an art piece, but after I bought it, I discovered it was too heavy for me to wear. The pendant is solid. The tiny black beads may look like jet, but they were hand punched out of old 45 rpm records.” Visitors are transported directly to sunny California when they walk through a red-framed doorway into a hall. A large-scale landscape painting hangs above a Chinese vase perched on an Indian table. The popular landscape artist’s landscapes sell for many thousands of dollars in chic California galleries. While visiting a resale shop in a distant city,

art in the home the collector’s instinct fired. Ms. Lynn recognized the piece which was hanging in a dusty space on a dark and dreary wall. The resale shop owner had no interest in art and so he treated it badly, considering it to be something of little value. Realizing what it was, and knowing who had painted it, she was able to rescue it by paying what she knew to be only a fraction of its financial value and its value as a work of art. More important to the collector, she restored the lonely painting to a well-deserved place of honor in a happy home. A wooden figure sculpture is decorated with a series of holes. This handsome sculpture is an acupuncture model. It was once a teaching tool, and the small holes in the wood indicate the acupuncture points of the body. A small study is filled with painting and sculpture. One wall has a variety of paintings, sculptures and art objects that hang together as high as the ceiling. A dark painting on wood has been carefully lit to show its image. It was purchased when Ms. Lynn lived in New York. She later discovered it is dated to the 17th century. The farming figures on the same wall came from a visit to Vietnam, and the portrait of a young man was purchased in China. The thoughtful looking Eurasian man wears a rather unfashionable suit, but the brilliant white of his collar and cuffs looks as if, even though he is down on his luck, he has been careful to wear a clean shirt. A large piece in the bedroom once belonged to a movie producer and boasts a collage of images from films he produced. Another wall has a collection of photographs from Saigon, Manhattan, Paris, Africa and a spectacular photograph taken on the Brooklyn Bridge. A nearby table holds a sculpture of a cat from Cape Town South Africa and an African tribal basket. She adorned a five-foot tall wooden sculpture with beads from Tibet to give him “an international flavor” so that he wouldn’t feel so bare in the company of the room’s elaborate textiles. Another international piece is an intricately beaded Yuruban crown from Nigeria. It shares a wall with a dynamic woven textile wall hanging from Czechoslovakia. A California artist did a whimsical assemblage sculpture titled “Life is Good.” A Mexican saint sculpture shares a polished tabletop with a Chinese lamp. “Collecting art is simple,” Suzanne Lynn explained, “I always try to find a work of art or an artifact when I travel. I will bring home something for either a wall or a tabletop, or it will find a way into a special corner. When I see a work of art and I like it, I buy it right then and there. If I leave it and come back for it later, someone else will have it. I buy it because I love it, and I will find a place for it and it will work. It always does. I don’t buy anything because it will “fit in,” because I know that if I love it, of course it will fit into my home. All my artwork lives happily together. If they want to live here with me, they have to be happy together.”

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March 2012 Piney Woods Live Magazine  

A monthly magazine of artists and artistic happenings in the Piney Woods region of Northeast Texas.

March 2012 Piney Woods Live Magazine  

A monthly magazine of artists and artistic happenings in the Piney Woods region of Northeast Texas.