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Bless Your Art: Art, Family Style

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bless your aret cleasses tyler tx eguide 2By Kelly Griffith-Fields

On McDonald Road in Tyler, an unassuming building houses a great deal to be explored. Bless Your Art art school has been helping children to experience the joy and benefits of creating art since 2005.

“It is my humble opinion that art makes you better at everything in life,” owner and artist Susan Sellars said with a smile. “But studies have also shown the benefits of art to children.”

Sellers explained art helps to improve a student’s imagination, critical thinking, time management, self-esteem and more.

Bless Your Art provides regular weekly classes during the school year. Elementary age classes are held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:30-5pm and 5:30-7pm. Thursday a class for home school students is held at 1:30-3pm. A class for older children is held on Thursdays as well from 3:30-5pm. Ages four and older may enroll anytime throughout the year, though space is limited. An additional class and summer camps are added during the school’s summer break.

bless your aret cleasses tyler tx eguide 4At Bless Your Art the students have a chance to spend more time on their project than they might have in theirs schools art program. Smaller groups allow for more in-depth learning and myriad styles of art are explored. All of this takes place in an environment conducive to creativity. “We are not looking for perfection,” Sellars said. “We are just looking for everyone to do their best.”

Around the studio the walls are filled with all sorts of artwork. One recurrent theme around the room is portraits of Sellars’ dog. Brown Betty, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, is the star of many of her works. But no two projects are the same. Mixed among Sellars’ Brown Betty art are pieces made by her students. Vivid colors leap from canvas and cornhusk dolls balance on a ledge; all are creations that proudly display an artists’ creativity. “My specialty is variety,” Sellars said. “I like the students to embrace their individuality.”

bless your aret cleasses tyler tx eguide 1Classes work with a wide range of materials. They participate in countless artistic activities. Drawing, painting, oil pastels, watercolors, papier-mâché creations, sculptures, sewing, weaving, folk art, the list goes on and on. Students will generally take away one project a week from class.

“I like the class because you do not get stuck doing one thing,” nine year old artist Lily Mitchelle said. “You can find what you are best at whether it is painting, sculpting or something else.”

An hour and a half spent in an art class gives kids a chance to experience and explore a variety of artistic mediums. Classes are designed to stretch young minds and build self-esteem. While practicing techniques, planning and creative thinking, students become familiar with art elements and create fun works of art. “I like letting them discover their own talents, strengths and weaknesses,” Sellars said.

Eleven year old Micaela Coon has been attending art class for about six years. She enjoys all types of art but through exploration at Bless Your Art she has discovered a passion for painting and blending colors. “Mrs. Susan has taught me not to stick to one thing but to try many things and get out of my comfort zone,” Coon said.

Multiple summer camps will be offered this year. Each camp is one week long. The fun continues from 9am to noon on camp days. Each week of camp will focus on its’ own theme. “It’s a great opportunity for students to explore art, maybe for the first time or to build on skills they already have,” Sellars said. Small groups offer more individualized attention. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace to their own ability in a non-competitive atmosphere. “It is a time to make new friends and new art,” Sellars said.

bless your aret cleasses tyler tx eguide 3Aside from weekly classes and special camps, Bless Your Art is also available to host birthday parties. Young artists can celebrate in a unique environment. Parents may provide cake and drinks, and are allowed to decorate the party room. The studio will be opened two hours prior to the event’s time to allow for any set up of decorations and cake. “All of the cleanup is provided by us, leaving you to enjoy your party and your guests,” Sellars said.

Two hours of studio time is allotted for the event. Each child will be able to make a special, one of a kind, art project to take home with them at the end of the party. Projects are selected based on the age of the guests and theme of the celebration.

Sellars herself is a graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler with a degree in fine art. She enjoys painting murals. Sellars is able to accept a limited amount of work to paint murals, stage props and other special projects. Owning her own art studio though was always the goal. “This was my dream,” Sellars said. “It’s been a blessing to share this with so many faithful students.”

Bless Your Art is conveniently located at 2614 McDonald Road near Loop 323 in east Tyler.

For summer camp schedules, class registration or to find more information visit www.blessyourarttyler.com.


 

Friends, some camps are filling up already. Don’t miss out!
(American Girl Camp, June 22-25 only has a few seats left)
More details at: www.blessyourarttyler.com

1. JUNE 8-11: PAINTER’S PARADISE (I)
Paint your hearts out this week! We will use acrylics, watercolors, tempera, finger paints, and more on paper, canvas and wood. Paint big, paint messy paint wild! 5 and up

2. JUNE 15-18: BIG ART FOR LITTLES.
A week reserved just for my youngest artist. 4s and 5s will enjoy lots of hands-on, squishy, messy, art of all sorts. Small classes so I will offer TWO choices: morning session 9am-11:00 OR afternoon session 11:30-1:30.

3. JUNE 22-25: AMERICAN GIRLS CAMP:
Bring your favorite doll and spend this week creating fun things for her and her friends. We will enjoy some sewing, lots of painting, sculpt play food and more. Ages 6 and up

4. JUNE 29-JULY 2: 3-D CAMP
All week will be filled with 3 dimensional art, including paper mache’, mosaics, collage and more. Ages 6 and up

5. JULY 6-9: ANIMAL LOVERS
This week will be filled to overflowing with all sorts of animal art. Paint, draw, sculpt and more! Special guest “Brown Betty” will attend class on Thursday. Ages 6 and up

6. JULY 13-16: WILD THINGS!
A yearly favorite since 2005, this week will be filled with slimey, gooey, creepy art! Bugs, gak and more! Ages 5 and up.

7. JULY 20-23: PAINTER’S PARADISE (II )
A repeat of Painter’s Paradise I, but with plenty of different options to enjoy it a second time if desired.

8. JULY 27-30: BIG KIDS’ RETREAT One last fling as summer draws to a close. Reserved for “big kids” only, ages 10 and up. Lots of drawing, painting and sewing. Bring your ideas and we will go where our creativity leads us!
1. JUNE 8-11: PAINTER’S PARADISE (I)
Paint your hearts out this week! We will use acrylics, watercolors, tempera, finger paints, and more on paper, canvas and wood. Paint big, paint messy paint wild! 5 and up

2. JUNE 15-18: BIG ART FOR LITTLES.
A week reserved just for my youngest artist. 4s and 5s will enjoy lots of hands-on, squishy, messy, art of all sorts. Small classes so I will offer TWO choices: morning session 9am-11:00 OR afternoon session 11:30-1:30.

3. JUNE 22-25: AMERICAN GIRLS CAMP:
Bring your favorite doll and spend this week creating fun things for her and her friends. We will enjoy some sewing, lots of painting, sculpt play food and more. Ages 6 and up

4. JUNE 29-JULY 2: 3-D CAMP
All week will be filled with 3 dimensional art, including paper mache’, mosaics, collage and more. Ages 6 and up

5. JULY 6-9: ANIMAL LOVERS
This week will be filled to overflowing with all sorts of animal art. Paint, draw, sculpt and more! Special guest “Brown Betty” will attend class on Thursday. Ages 6 and up

6. JULY 13-16: WILD THINGS!
A yearly favorite since 2005, this week will be filled with slimey, gooey, creepy art! Bugs, gak and more! Ages 5 and up.

7. JULY 20-23: PAINTER’S PARADISE (II )
A repeat of Painter’s Paradise I, but with plenty of different options to enjoy it a second time if desired.

8. JULY 27-30: BIG KIDS’ RETREAT One last fling as summer draws to a close. Reserved for “big kids” only, ages 10 and up. Lots of drawing, painting and sewing. Bring your ideas and we will go where our creativity leads us!


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Family

At Cowan Center: “The Wizard of Oz” April 21st

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The Cowan Center is located at 3900 University Blvd. on the UT Tyler campus. Tickets are available at the box office, by calling (903)566-7424, or go to cowancenter.org. Upcoming productions are:

April 21st (7:30pm) – “The Wizard of Oz” will be presented at the Cowan Center. There truly is no place like home! The entire family will be captivated as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and beyond with Dorothy, Toto, and their friends the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow in this lavish production, featuring breathtaking special effects, dazzling choreography, and classic songs. Tickets are $37-$72.

April 28th (7:30pm) – Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 will be presented at the Cowan Center. The East Texas Symphony will close their season with Beethoven’s monumental Symphony No. 9.  The Orchestra will be joined by ETSO Chorus, UT Tyler Concert Chorale, and Patriot Singers, and a quartet of soloists.  The concert also features the ETSO premieres of Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Brahms’ Nanie.  It’s a grand evening of choral music ending the season on a high note.

May 10th (7:30pm) – The Celtic Women will be presented at the Cowan Center. This global phenomenon started on a winter Dublin night in 2004. The idea was conceived to create a musical ensemble featuring a selection of exceptional classically and traditionally trained Irish female musicians. Tickets are $42-$77.

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Around East Texas

Calling All Poets, April 21st

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The East Texas Spoken Word Invitational Competition

The East Texas Spoken Word Invitational is an ‘East Texas poets only’ competition and will be held Saturday, April 21st, 7:30-9:30pm at El Guapo Records, 257 S. Broadway Ave., Downtown Tyler.

On this night, come celebrate International Poetry Month in a family-friendly space. At this collective community gathering, the featured poet will be Aaron Dunn, author of the new collection “Poetry For Your Sake.” Aaron will be reciting works which will be available for purchase.

There will be 12 poets selected for his annual spoken word event. Prizes will be awarded. Poets can enter the competition for $10. There is free admission for any audience member.

Tickets are available at eventbrite.com > East Texas Spoken Word Invitational. To participate, you must have an eventbrite ticket.

Seating is limited. For more info call or text (972)704-5001 or go to mikeguinn.biz.

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Downtown

Liberty Hall: Bill Anderson in Concert

Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson in concert this weekend!


Liberty Hall is hosting a variety of upcoming events. Liberty has something for all ages! Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin St., Tyler. Tickets are available online at libertytyler.com.


April 20th (7pm) – Bill Anderson in Concert – Country Music Hall of Famer, Bill Anderson, has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry sine 1961. One of the most popular, most enduring entertainers of our time, he’s known, in fact as “Whispering Bill,” a nickname hung on him years ago as a result of his breathy voice and his warm, soft approach to singing a country song. For tickets call (866)710-8942. Tickets start at $40.

April 21st (8pm) – Mouse & The Traps – After more than 50 years together, Mouse & the Traps continue to be one of the best examples of “Texas Rock & Roll.” Formed in Tyler, Texas in 1965, Mouse, Nardo, Dave & Larry continue to give the public just what they want – great rock and roll. Whether you remember “Public Execution,” “Hit the Bricks,” or not, Mouse & The Traps has something for everyone. Tickets are $20-$25.

May 10th (7pm) – Twitty & Lynn: Grandchildren of Conway & Loretta in Concert – Tayla Lynn grew up in the heart of Tennessee and started singing with her grandmother at an early age. Tre Twitty, the grandson of the late Conway Twitty, is a remarkable young talent and will perform as well. For tickets call (866)710-8942. Tickets start at $30.

June 27th (7pm) – Country Music Hall of Famer Connie Smith – In 1964, Connie Smith recorded the Bill Anderson-written “Once a Day.” Issued as her first single, it spent eight weeks at #1. She also cut darkly personal songs, including “Ribbon of Darkness” and “The Last Letter.” For tickets call (866)710-8942. Tickets start at $40.

July 20th (7pm) – “Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute” is a show based out of Nashville, TN, that focuses on performing songs by America’s Band, The Beach Boys, to sheer perfection. The show includes over 30 well-known hits. Members of Sail On have performed with Brian Wilson’s band, The Zombies, Earth Wind and Fire, Cheap Trick, Mark Lindsay. Tickets are $20.

August 11th (8pm) – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band will visit Liberty once again! They are a modern bluegrass band that plays and sings the songs of The Beatles. Performing some of the very best music composed by Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison, beloved songs are presented with instruments you normally wouldn’t expect to hear. Tickets are $20.

August 16th (7pm) – The Bellamy Brothers – Best-known for the easy rolling, ‘70s Southern soft rock classic “Let Your Love Flow,” the Bellamy Brothers are the most successful duo in country music history, consistently climbing into the upper reaches of the Billboard country charts during the ‘80s, including “Redneck Girl,” “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me,” ‘“You Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie,” and “Dancin’ Cowboys.” For tickets call (866)710-8942. Tickets start at $40.

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