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Nora Schreiber: Artist & Activist, Will Work to Help Others

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Nora-Schreiber-BraveBy Derrick White

“People are the biggest horror show on earth, have been for centuries,” is a quote from the late poet and novelist Charles Bukowski. This is a quote I have sometimes agreed with. Look around and you won’t have to look far to experience people (who are born, live, and die just like you and me) being negative, nasty, or hateful to each other, and it is an easy thing to want to give up on humanity. We are all the same. We are all different. “I used to be a people person, but people ruined it for me.” It seems within people, good and evil are in a constant, ugly battle, and it feels like the good is an overwhelming underdog in the match, but it is not so. The destructive just gets more immediate attention.

Do you want our world to be better? Then let’s make it better.

Nora-Schreiber“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I’m not sure Mahatma Gandhi actually said this quote, but I like it. I like the positive message behind it, and I like how the responsibility of making the world better begins with me. I like when I see this idea lived out by people I know. I like when this example has a positive impact on my family, my students, and our community as a whole. I like how this quote can be summed up in one local name – Nora Schreiber. I love having Nora Schreiber in our world and specifically in East Texas where she continually finds ways to make a positive difference in the lives of others and enriches all of us through a merge of challenging visual art and dauntless activism. Nora is a full-time student at the University of Texas at Tyler, working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She also works as a private art teacher as well as being a part of the great bartending crew and a manager at one of my favorite joints – Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ.

Nora-Schreiber-WorthyWhen Nora is not involved with these activities, she spends time helping people, literally going out and helping people. She typically has a monthly collection/fundraiser targeting a certain community need and then reaches out to friends and the general public and makes it happen. Nora is responsible for taking old chairs, refurbished and adorned with positive one word affirmations and securing them around Tyler at bus stops which provide no seating, giving residents an uplifting message, a comfortable place to rest, as well as a free collection of umbrellas to help prepare them for the rainy season. She fuses her visual art with service to our community.
“For the past decade, creative placemaking has come to describe projects in which ‘art plays an intentional and integrated role in community planning and development.’ This definition is from Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America (APA), a consortium of agencies, banks and philanthropic foundations who believe the arts and arts organizations can shape the social, physical, and economic characters of their communities. Putting art at the heart of a community enhances our lives by stirring hard-to-articulate feelings and inspiring us to look beyond what we believe to be possible and imagine a more vibrant, exciting future. It also reminds us we’re all creative beings – and whether we are making art or music, telling stories, or cathartically sharing in the experience, we’re all connected,” a quote from Suzanne Gerber’s article “Why Building Arts-Based Communities Is So Important.” (nextavenue.org)

Nora-Schreiber-4Nora loves creating sculpture in mixed media such as plaster, wood, found objects, etc. and often works as an installation artist as well as working in video. The artist states, “My father was an artist, and I think it was passed down to me through the genes. I have consistently been attracted to art and have not been able to get away from it.” What does she value most about art? “The value of self-expression is limitless, but I am lucky I get to have more. I get the honor of meeting fascinating people and aid in the pursuit of comfort for many,” Nora says. Schreiber’s pursuits are not without their frustrations. “My artworks are unconventional. Therefore, I am constantly applying for grants. I love making work – there is no complaint there. I wish, like any artist I guess, I could get paid. It can also be an uphill battle working as a non-object making artist.” Nora Schreiber is inspired by such artists as Caravaggio (Baroque, Italian painter) and Andy Goldsworthy (British sculptor and environmentalist producing site-specific sculpture and land art situated in natural environments) and Frida Kahlo (Surrealist, Mexican painter known for her haunting self-portraits).I encourage people to follow Nora on Facebook so they might learn about monthly fundraisers. Also, visit

Nora-Schreiber-1I encourage people to follow Nora on Facebook so they might learn about monthly fundraisers. Also, visit Ivebeenthatgirl.com (an anonymous, online, emotional dumping ground for women to tell about times they have felt alone, brave, small, inspired, different, wild, misunderstood, loved, accepted, betrayed, overjoyed, or invisible. Your stories deserve to be known. You deserve to be known.

If you were walking or biking on Tyler’s Rose Rudman Trail recently you may have encountered Nora’s installation. During the month of April the artist displayed works in the name of civic unity. Vinyl posters lead the viewer from either side of the path. The posters show portraits of human subjects with text across their faces like masks showcasing complimentary words (i.e. Giving, Patient, Clever, Talented, Brave, and Worthy) meant to act as a positive, forced first impression. A display of these poster artworks was hosted by the Tyler Public Library in an exhibition titled ‘Unity’ May 15th-21st as well. The sculptural element of Nora’s installation was a representation of people as a community made of plaster casts of bags, all made the same way, with the same material. Yet, each casting is unique. No two bags are exactly the same, just like people. “We are all the same. We are all different.”

Nora-Schreiber-InstallationGandhi did say this, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.

This is the divine mystery supreme.

A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Be Change! Be more like Nora.

More information go to www.noraschreiber.com.

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“David Bates: Selected Works from Texas Collections” on Exhibit

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This Month at Tyler Museum of Art:

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.

David Bates, one of the most acclaimed artists in Dallas, is the focus of Tyler Museum of Art’s summer exhibition, “David Bates: Selected Works from Texas Collections” on view through September 9th.

Curated by the museum’s Caleb Bell, the exhibition features close to 30 works surveying the prolific career of Bates, one of the most versatile and widely collected contemporary Texas artists. Spanning art from 1982 to 2016, works in the show highlight several of Bates’ most celebrated series and include a wide array of media: oil painting, lithographs, woodcuts, screenprints and bronze sculpture. The show was assembled from art in public and private collections throughout the state, including the museum’s own permanent collection. Bates’ work is widely exhibited and included in several museum and corporate art collections.

Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for seniors. Museum members, students, TJC faculty/staff and city of Tyler employees are admitted free. Support for exhibit is provided by The Byars Foundation.

Creativity Camps

Through August, close to 70 kids ages 7-13 and older dive into hands-on art experiences in a series of half-day and full-day camps. Each session is supervised by degreed artists and educators, and culminates with a small exhibition of campers’ work and a community reception.

Camps are held Monday-Friday (9am-4pm) for ages 6-12. Cost is $40 per day or $175 per week. To register online, fill out a form available at tylermuseum.org/creativity-camps-2018.

  • July 9th-13th: Upside-down and Backward – Everything looks different from a fresh perspective. Drawing underwater, painting with spaghetti, there’s no telling what will happen when you change the way you make art. This camp is all about real creativity, and young artists will help brainstorm up new, exciting projects all week long.

  • July 16th-20th: Beachcombers’ Paradise – Love the seashore but hate sunburns and foot-scorching sand? Come explore marine environments through art. Biology, art, and fun merge into one great experience as you learn about the weird, wonderful world of sea life and environments, and express new knowledge through art.

  • July 23rd-27th: 5 Days Away from Rose City – Some of the country’s greatest artists call the Lone Star State home. At this camp, you will explore the geographical regions of Texas and the artists who gain inspiration in them, ending up right here in East Texas.

Family Days

Free admission, interactive art projects, light snacks and a festive atmosphere for all ages are on the menu from 2-4pm the second Saturday of each month with the Tyler Museum of Art’s Family Day. This popular program focuses on fostering a deeper understanding of the Museum’s spotlight exhibitions – and, above all, having fun! To RSVP for groups of 10 or more, please call (903)595-1001 or e-mail info@tylermuseum.org.

First Friday

The first Friday of each month, the TMA offers a full day of free admission plus guided tours of its spotlight exhibitions at 11am. From contemporary Texas art to Hudson River School to Andy Warhol, each tour is unique.

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Art Events Warming Up For Summer

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Events & Classes

Every Wednesday (6-8pm) and Sunday (1-3pm) – Acrylic Painting Classes will be held at Michael’s, 5839 S. Broadway, Tyler. Cost is $15. Topics include landscapes, life, and floral. To RSVP go to michaels.com and select the Tyler location. This class features master classic painting techniques while completing an image selected by the Instructor. Supplies are not included.

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 on July 7th. 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.

July 10th and 24th (both days 3-5pm and 6-8pm) – Painting on the Patio at Rotolo’s – Lauren O Neill has created a one of a kind painting and is hosting a painting session at Rotolo’s! Invite your friends, sip your favorite beverage, and enjoy step-by-step instruction with Lauren an experienced and enthusiastic local artist. You’ll leave with a one-of-a-kind creation and a new found talent you’ll want to explore. All painting supplies are included. Tickets are $35. Rotolo’s is located at 8970 S. Broadway, Tyler. For more info go to eventbrite.com.

July 12th (10am-1pm) – John Randall York Watercolor Workshop – Come out for this fun workshop! Bring your paper, brushes, paint and ambition to capture some downtown, iconic scenes in watercolor. To register, email Arojas@tylertexas.com or call (903)593-6905.

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Inside the Artist’s Studio: I Think I’m Goin’ to Katmandu

The Therapeutic Creations of Stephanie Smith

By Derrick White

“Art as therapy demonstrates the profound healing potential of using the creative process. Art as therapy appears to be as old and continuous as human culture with decorated artifacts existing from prehistoric civilizations to now. It manifests in active form through the artist’s opportunity for self-expression and in receptive form through the response of the viewing audience. The artist’s experience of creating a meaningful work of art and the audience’s capacity for recognizing its meaning can lead to a multitude of healing responses including increased positive influence, relaxation, catharsis, social cohesion, and strengthened spirituality. The creative process can also act as an analgesic for artists who experience a lessening of physical pain while making art. Creating art can be a largely unconscious process providing a window into the mind of the creator. Through an analysis of visual elements such as the placement of an image on the page, the colors, type of lines created, the use of space, the number and integration of drawn items, and the apparent movement of the image, a psychologist, art therapist, or other trained professional can assess the emotional state of a person, provide counseling, and monitor the progress of the person through analyses of subsequent works produced.” – from an article by Tobi Zausner, PhD, on a web site dedicated to the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

When I experience the artwork of local artist Stephanie Smith (aka Steph Renea), I physically feel a release of tension, and I am metaphysically transported into her rich and subtle, seemingly simplistic, yet intricately complex, abstract compositions of color, shape, and line with their geometric elements. They are powerful and understated. It is a mental remedy for the chaos of the world. I would encourage you to experience this sensation as well. You can find Stephanie and her art popping up here and there around town at different art and Downtown Tyler community events from True Vine Brewing Company, 903 Handmade, and The Foundry Coffee House.

Stephanie graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Art Studies. “I took a wide range of studio classes such as fibers, screen printing, watercolor, figure drawing, and sculpture. I learned a lot of skills in those studio classes I still use today,” states the artist. Smith works with a variety of different materials from acrylic paints, pens, pencils, watercolors, and occasionally embroidery thread. Most pieces are on watercolor or mixed media paper but the artist enjoys painting on canvas as well. Stephanie says, “The media I use is not always the same for each piece. I typically start with the material I feel will best represent the idea I have in my mind and then I add to the piece from there.”

Some of Stephanie’s artistic inspirations include: Heather Day (California-based artist making abstract interpretations between what is known and how it is felt. This artist seems to have the strongest direct influence on Smith’s own work), Chuck Close (painter, famed as a photorealist through his massive-scale portraits), Ron Mueck (amazing, hyper-realistic, super detailed sculptor), Georgia O’Keeffe (painter of enlarged flowers, skyscrapers, and Southwest landscapes, recognized as the “Mother of American modernism”), and Ben Sasso (hip, photographer and educator who lives with his lady in a van down by the river).

“I have always enjoyed the arts. I grew up dancing and was always interested in photography. I would draw and paint occasionally as well. It was after spending time in Nepal I discovered my love for teaching. So I decided to combine these two loves, art and teaching. After starting at the University of North Texas I learned I really loved exploring in my studio classes and staying late into the night painting or screen printing. After college I took a short break from creating physical pieces and started work as a wedding photographer and started a family. I still painted whenever possible and was asked for a commissioned piece for an album my church was putting out. I had a small art show at a friend’s house. But still at this point, I never really considered myself an artist. I just really enjoyed making art and hoped people liked it. In 2016, my life changed drastically and I moved back to Tyler. It was then I rediscovered my love for making art and really pursued being a full time artist. Since then, I have been in art shows, and artist markets (or pop ups), and I have started selling my work on a professional level,” enlightens Smith.

She continues, “Art has been my therapy. It has easily been the best way for me to decompress and really process my emotions. Since most of my work is repetitive shapes and loose brush strokes it is easy for me to find a rhythm. It is in this rhythm I am able to find clarity and peace of mind. Many times I have broken down crying as I recall certain events in my life during this process. It is in these moments I find myself releasing the pain and replacing it with joy and healing. I am so thankful for art and how it has played a large role in my healing.”

Stephanie has some advice for those daunted by the impulse to pursue a creative, artistic life. “The most frustrating thing about being an artist I think would be with me. I have been working on moving past my own insecurities and doubts when it comes to my art. Working through those things is not always easy but most times it leads to my best work. So although it is frustrating at times it is well worth it,” avows Stephanie. I could not agree more. Find yourself a creative outlet. Use art as therapy and a remedy for all life throws at you. Let your imagination and creative processes allow you to overcome your own insecurities and self-doubt. Enjoy the ride and have some fun or just go spend a little time in Nepal and report back.

To find some original art work, art prints and cards, check out the following:

Stephanie will also take custom orders so if you see something you like and want to personalize it, shoot her a message and collaborate.

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