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Inside the Artist’s Studio: Willow Lanchester

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Voices Louder Than Words

By Derrick White

“At TJC a random stranger told me I should sign up for Derrick White’s painting class. I went home, and registered for the class. Afterwards, I don’t think there is anything that could have kept me from art,” states local Tyler artist Willow Lanchester.

One of the greatest rewards of my teaching career is the human interactions: getting to cross paths with talented, creative, and inspiring individuals. As the decades roll by for me as an art professor the amount of students I have had the pleasure of teaching now number in the thousands. Each passing year and semester contains its own unique groups of standouts. Artist Willow Lanchester is definitely one of these recent standouts for me as well as for the other art professors in our department at Tyler Junior College.

Willow has only been painting and making art for a little over three years. She started taking watercolor classes during her time as the East Texas Honey Princess. At that time Willow was a part of the East Texas Beekeepers Association’s (ETBA) Honey Queen Program, which is a professional public relations internship. As the East Texas Honey Princess, she did public speaking events to educate the public on honey bees and beekeeping. Willow recalls, “After I expressed some interest in drawing, my Queen Chair signed me up for watercolor classes, so I could develop my artwork to use as a tool for my presentations. While I served in the Honey Queen Program, I would teach the anatomy of the honey bee by drawing it during my presentations. Because of this my artwork began as, and will continue to be, a form of communication. My art is about making sure my voice is heard. It is also about making sure other people’s voices are heard.”

“It quickly began to feel like home,” Willow explained. “Tyler Junior College provided me with an incredibly unique and supportive environment, where I could explore my art and the message I wanted. I am so fortunate to have learned from such talented and supportive faculty. Faculty who are not only dedicated to developing a student’s technical skill, but also the attitudes and thought processes that go into a student’s work. Students are encouraged to go out and exhibit their work, and to participate in, and build community. It is because of this encouragement I was able to continue to develop my voice. One day I hope to do the same for others. I hope one day, I will be able to help develop someone else’s voice,” Willow said.

It was not long after, Willow began at Tyler Junior College, and she was swiftly sucked into the Art Department.

Willow is inexhaustible in studio art classes, an active member of the art club, and involved in its community service activities as well as being a competent and capable student across campus.

She is the founding member of a new student organization named STAR (Sex Trafficking Awareness and Relief). STAR is an organization based out of the Tyler Junior College Art Department, which is devoted to raising awareness about sex trafficking in the local region. STAR is also focused on raising funds for the survivors of sex trafficking. STAR works closely with Refuge of Light, a home for survivors of sex trafficking, to help raise awareness about this growing problem in East Texas. One of the goals of STAR is to bring this issue to the attention of people through the arts.

“We are holding art shows, auctions, and live music events, where all the proceeds go to support the Refuge of Light home,” Willow explained. “Sex Trafficking is a crisis that affects everyone, no matter their age, race, gender, ethnicity, values, religion, or social or economic background. Everyone is harmed by sex trafficking. The aim of STAR is to break down barriers, so we as a community, as a whole, can come together to put an end to this epidemic exploiting those without a voice,” states this young activist.

Willow exhibits her artwork and participates in juried art shows. She was one of three 2016-2017 TJC performance grant showcase artist students and received her associate’s degree in art this last spring.

“I have loved exploring new materials and figuring out how they work together,” Willow said. My work currently has been predominantly ink, charcoal, or acrylic. If one day I lost all of my art supplies, I would still make art out of garbage or anything I could find. A lot of my work comes from a compulsive need to create. I will use any materials available to me so my work has become very process oriented. My work is about getting lost in the process and letting go of everything preventing me from creating. It’s about letting go of everything quieting my voice,” states the artist.

Willow finds inspiration in the work of artists like Hung Liu (a Chinese-American artist who currently resides in California who bases most of her work on historical Chinese photographs). Willow says, “Liu’s work deals with the study of memory and the human condition. She examines how individuals and their lives can be so swiftly lost to the past. It’s the study of how quickly the individual can be lost to history, but at the same time she tells the viewer how that does not make the individual any less important. Her work is a study in empathy ensuring the viewer sees the subject of her work as an individual who had a life and thoughts of their own just like them.” Those with a voice louder than words.

Willow states, “Art has given me a voice and a platform from which I can use that voice in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Art and those who have taught me have given me the confidence that what I have to say means something, that my voice matters. Art has given me a foundation, a confidence, and security so I am no longer looking for help. Instead I can help someone else who needs it.”

You can find more information on STAR (Sex Trafficking Awareness and Relief) and how you can be involved with helping through Facebook.

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Art

Art Events Warming Up For Summer

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Events & Classes

First Saturday of every Month (10am-2pm) – Eastside Fiber ARTist Meeting – The monthly meeting will be held at the Tyler Public Library, 301 S. College Ave, Downtown Tyler. Please join the monthly meetings and participate in a variety of fiber arts from quilting, weaving, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, and mixed media and tons more. Guests and visitors are always welcomed. For more info go to facebook.com/Eastside.Fiber.ARTists. It is free to attend.

May 20th and June 3rd (10am-2pm) – Beginning Stained Glass Class – This beginner’s class will be held at Hobby Lobby, 1909 ESE Loop 323, Tyler. Learn all the skills necessary to create a beautiful stained glass piece with the copper foil technique. This is a beginning class and participants will learn how to work with patterns, cut glass, grind glass, copper foil, solder and much more. By the end of the class participants will take home their own art glass. No prior experience is required. All tools are provided for students use during class time. Tools and equipment are shared amongst students. Register at email pdonathan@ymail.com. Cost is $65 per person.

June 6th (6-8pm) – 6×6@110 Exhibit – The 6×6@110 is an annual art fundraising project to benefit Gallery Main Street in Downtown Tyler. The gallery is a City of Tyler facility operated with cooperation of the Downtown Tyler Arts Coalition, an all-volunteer group of artists who schedule and jury fine arts exhibits and organize projects. All of the net proceeds of 6×6@110 will go to support those activities. The name “6×6@110” reflects the fact that all artwork sold in the show will be 6”x6”, and will be shown at Gallery Main Street, located at 110 W. Erwin. You can pick up canvases at the gallery through May 30th.

June 16th (11am-11:30pm) June 17th (11am-4pm) – Junebug Art and Music Festival – Calling all artists! Junebug is an annual community Art and Music festival with an afternoon farmers market. This event encompasses art in its many forms. There will be teachers of weaving and soap making, along with hands on pottery wheel demonstrations. Attendees senses will be engulfed by the sights, sound, smell and feel of all that is to be offered at this very unique art event in a very quaint little artsy community. The show will offer up a stage filled with eclectic musicians, bands, and songwriters. Saturday there will be a community Farmers market where locals can sell their organic and/or locally sourced products. Vendor and artist applications are available at theforgebenwheeler.com. The family-friendly festival, which is located in the tiny art enclave of Ben Wheeler,TX, highlights the work of artists, musicians, and artisans from the Lone Star state. Headquartered on the three-acre park-like property surrounding the FORGE (a local restaurant, bar, and music venue), the festival will give attendees an opportunity to witness the creative process through “live art” displays as well as the chance to actively join in the process. For more information email junebugsummerfair@gmail.com

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14th Annual High School Art Exhibition at TMA

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This Month at Tyler Museum of Art:

14th Annual High School Art Exhibition on Exhibit

The Tyler Museum of Art (TMA) is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Regular TMA hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5pm Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The Museum is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler. For more info call the museum at (903)595-1001, tylermuseum.org, or email info@tylermuseum.org.

TMA’s 14th Annual High School Art Exhibition on Exhibit Through May 6th

An unprecedented number of aspiring artists from local schools will have their first opportunity for a full museum exhibition with the Tyler Museum of Art’s “14th Annual High School Art Exhibition,” continuing through May 6th at the Museum. The museum is located Tyler Junior main Campus is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. Admission is free.

What began in 2005 as a small showcase for 23 students from four area high schools has blossomed into a major exhibition and community event. This year’s juried competition tops the previous record of 2016, spotlighting for the first time the work of more than 100 students from a best-ever 14 high-school campuses in Tyler and nearby cities.

The community is invited to meet the participating artists, enjoy light refreshments – and cast their votes for the annual Viewers’ Choice Award to be presented at the exhibition’s conclusion. Ballots are available at the Visitor Services desk in the TMA lobby.

Participating schools in the “14th Annual High School Art Exhibition” include All-Saints Episcopal School, Bishop T.K. Gorman Regional Catholic School, Cumberland Academy, Grace Community School, John Tyler High School and Robert E. Lee High School, all of Tyler; The Brook Hill School, Brownsboro High School, Bullard High School, Chapel Hill High School, Elkhart High School, Frankston High School, Whitehouse High School and Winona High School.

Support for the exhibition is provided by Collectors’ Circle-Platinum Sponsor The Rogers Foundation; and Collectors’ Circle-Gold Sponsors Martha and Randy Key, McElfatrick Charitable Foundation and Myrtis D. Smith.

“Sticks and Stones: Works by Helen Altman”

Tyler Museum of Art celebrates the arrival of springtime with a quarter-century survey in the career of one of the most diverse and prolific contemporary Texas artists. “Sticks and Stones: Works by Helen Altman” continues through June 3rd in the museum’s Bell Gallery. Admission is free.

The exhibition, organized by the TMA and curated by Caleb Bell, features more than 40 pieces spanning a dynamic body of work by Altman, a Fort Worth-based artist noted for her ability to move between various series across an eclectic array of media.

“Sticks and Stones” focuses on her fascination with flora and fauna, which “have been a much-appreciated constant in my life,” the artist said. “They have been a constant source of joy and also a source of coping.”

Altman’s specific choices of media throughout her career – blankets, wire birds, egg editions, and torch drawings, to name just a few – also reflect a pronounced emphasis on exploring the unique in the everyday.

“Many of my works use commonplace materials and objects. I respond to ready-made objects that are often discards or flawed in some obvious way,” she said. “Alterations in these familiar things elevate them and draw parallels to our own human predicament.”

Altman received both her bachelor of fine arts and master of arts degrees from the University of Alabama, as well as her master of fine arts from the University of North Texas. Her work has been widely exhibited and is featured in numerous public collections, including the Art Museum of South East Texas, The Grace Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.

Support for “Sticks and Stones” is provided by Collectors’ Circle Platinum Sponsor The Byars Foundation.

Special events in connection with the exhibition include: Free First Friday tours at 11am May 4th and June 1st; and Family Days from 2-4pm Saturday, May 12th.

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Art

14th Annual High School Art Exhibit at Tyler Art Museum

This Month at Tyler Museum of Art:

14th Annual High School Art Exhibition and “Sticks & Stones: Works by Helen Altman” on Exhibit

The Tyler Museum of Art (TMA) is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Regular TMA hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5pm Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The Museum is supported by its members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler. For more info call the museum at (903)595-1001, tylermuseum.org, or email info@tylermuseum.org.

TMA’s 14th Annual High School Art Exhibition on Exhibit April 8th-May 6th

An unprecedented number of aspiring artists from local schools will have their first opportunity for a full museum exhibition with the Tyler Museum of Art’s “14th Annual High School Art Exhibition,” opening Sunday, April 8th and continuing through May 6th at the Museum. The museum is located Tyler Junior main Campus is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. Admission is free.

What began in 2005 as a small showcase for 23 students from four area high schools has blossomed into a major exhibition and community event. This year’s juried competition, tops the previous record of 2016, spotlighting for the first time the work of more than 100 students from a best-ever 14 high-school campuses in Tyler and nearby cities.

Five outstanding works as selected by the jurors will be presented with “Merit of Honor” awards during the Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony from 2:30-4pm, Sunday, April 8th at the Museum.

The community is invited to meet the participating artists, enjoy light refreshments – and cast their votes for the annual Viewers’ Choice Award to be presented at the exhibition’s conclusion. Ballots are available at the Visitor Services desk in the TMA lobby.

“Merit of Honor” winners will receive gift certificates from Dick Blick Art Materials. All participating artists will receive Certificates of Participation and one-year student memberships to the TMA. To RSVP for the April 8th opening reception, call (903)595-1001.

Participating schools in the “14th Annual High School Art Exhibition” include All-Saints Episcopal School, Bishop T.K. Gorman Regional Catholic School, Cumberland Academy, Grace Community School, John Tyler High School and Robert E. Lee High School, all of Tyler; The Brook Hill School, Brownsboro High School, Bullard High School, Chapel Hill High School, Elkhart High School, Frankston High School, Whitehouse High School and Winona High School.

Support for the exhibition is provided by Collectors’ Circle-Platinum Sponsor The Rogers Foundation; and Collectors’ Circle-Gold Sponsors Martha and Randy Key, McElfatrick Charitable Foundation and Myrtis D. Smith.

“Sticks and Stones: Works by Helen Altman”

Tyler Museum of Art celebrates the arrival of springtime with a quarter-century survey in the career of one of the most diverse and prolific contemporary Texas artists. “Sticks and Stones: Works by Helen Altman” continues through June 3rd in the museum’s Bell Gallery. Admission is free.

The exhibition, organized by the TMA and curated by Caleb Bell, features more than 40 pieces spanning a dynamic body of work by Altman, a Fort Worth-based artist noted for her ability to move between various series across an eclectic array of media.

“Sticks and Stones” focuses on her fascination with flora and fauna, which “have been a much-appreciated constant in my life,” the artist said. “They have been a constant source of joy and also a source of coping.”

Altman’s specific choices of media throughout her career – blankets, wire birds, egg editions, and torch drawings, to name just a few – also reflect a pronounced emphasis on exploring the unique in the everyday.

“Many of my works use commonplace materials and objects. I respond to ready-made objects that are often discards or flawed in some obvious way,” she said. “Alterations in these familiar things elevate them and draw parallels to our own human predicament.”

Altman received both her bachelor of fine arts and master of arts degrees from the University of Alabama, as well as her master of fine arts from the University of North Texas. Her work has been widely exhibited and is featured in numerous public collections, including the Art Museum of South East Texas, The Grace Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego.

Support for “Sticks and Stones” is provided by Collectors’ Circle Platinum Sponsor The Byars Foundation.

Special events in connection with the exhibition include: Free First Friday tours at 11am April 6th, May 4th and June 1st; and Family Days from 2-4pm Saturday, April 14th and May 12th.

 

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