Journey 28: artCentral in Carthage

artCentral banner

What a beautiful day to discover more about one of Jasper County’s gems. Tucked into the historic town of Carthage, MO is an art gallery that is so much more than just a place to exhibit the fine works of local artists. Located in Hyde House, at 1110 E 13th Street, artCentral is a cultural oasis that has served artists and the community for 30 years. Newly appointed director, Alice Lynn Greenwood, invited me to come for a visit today, an invitation I gladly accepted.

artCentral Alice Lynn Greenwood

I met Alice Lynn last year in Joplin. I was drawn to her engaging and unique artistic style, however, I missed her exhibit downtown. An intriguing series of synchronicities ensued, a phenomenon that I call a “strand”.  I saw wonderful framed prints in a restaurant that I visited for a first. Greg purchased one of the prints that captivated me and surprised me with it. Only then did I realize it was artwork by Alice Lynn Greenwood. In spite of missing her exhibit, I had acquired one of her prints. I friended Alice Lynn on Facebook, she saw her framed print featured in a spring vignette that I did and commented on it, and eventually I had the privilege of meeting this creative, dynamic woman whose spirit and smile both light up a room.

artCentral front door

Arriving this afternoon at Hyde House, I was enchanted immediately with the beautiful grounds and the turn of the century home that houses artCentral. Katherine Hyde bequeathed her family home to the city upon her death in 1989, establishing a trust fund for its care and upkeep. A wide covered front porch and vibrant green door welcomed me. Alice Lynn, just as vibrant and welcoming, greeted me and gave me a tour of the home. I am a realtor, in part, because I love houses, old houses especially. This is an amazing home, well kept, uncluttered and neutral in color so as to best showcase the works of art that are on exhibit here. The kitchen still has its pink cabinets. The two sparkling bathrooms sport green tiles in the downstairs bath and pink in the one upstairs. There are exhibit rooms and a cozy, inviting library, meeting rooms, an office/studio for Alice Lynn, and at the very top of the house, an artist salon, currently undergoing renovation. I was charmed, everywhere I looked.

artCentral library

The house is just background, however, as gorgeous as it is. The real draw of artCentral is the creative spirit that permeates every nook and cranny. I felt inspired to create as I stood within the house. Alice Lynn was delighted, as that is just the atmosphere she is fostering here. From the artist room beneath the eaves to the pottery house at the back of the property, artCentral beckons to the imagination inherent in all of us. Alice Lynn has so many wonderful ideas and plans for giving artists, budding artists and the community opportunities to explore their creative and imaginative sides. She has revamped the website, expanded artCentral’s social media presence, and is in the process of scheduling exhibits and workshops, a children’s camp and Saturday fun days.

artCentral salon

Along with the array of art classes offered this year, Alice Lynn has the vision to expand the workshops to include yoga, tai chi and a blogging class, taught by me in March. She recognizes that creativity takes many forms and will host poetry readings and other cultural events that feed the soul. A children’s camp in late July will offer young artists the chance to learn technique and develop their abilities and will culminate with an exhibit during a downtown Carthage Artwalk. I am excited by the many possibilities offered to open up my creativity and expand my knowledge and skills. I want to be a part of this hub, this community, of art and culture! I will be joining as a member of artCentral.

artCentral kitchen

I appreciate Alice Lynn so much and her journey. We stood in her office, which is also her studio, and talked about art, and the flow of life. The two are connected, of course, as allowing our creativity to develop opens us to so many other amazing life experiences. Below are links to artCentral’s website and the Facebook pages of the organization and Alice Lynn Greenwood. I look forward to seeing and experiencing the ripple effect that will emanate from this cultural center.

artCentral Website

artCentral Blog

artCentral Facebook Page

Alice Lynn Greenwood Artist Facebook Page

artCentral pottery house

The Pottery House

Day 102: Missouri State DI Competition

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On March 1, Day 60 for me, I attended the Carl Junction Destination Imagination (DI) competition. My grandson, Dayan, and his team competed and won 2nd place in their category, qualifying them for the state competition. Today, for my first, I attended the MO State DI Competition, conveniently held in Joplin this year, to watch Dayan’s team compete at a high level.

The last 6 weeks have been challenging for this group of teens, most of whom are freshmen in high school. They have school, homework, extracurricular activities and lives to enjoy with families and friends. And yet, they dedicated themselves to spending a great deal of time preparing for the state competition, staying late after school and conferring with each other via texts and phone calls when they were away from school.

Their skit, “Live and Let Fly”, dealt with the challenge they were given for DI: EXTREMES. Their points of interest were to explore an extreme environment, present a story in which the characters must survive in an extreme environment, design and create extreme gear that is demonstrated, and design and create a depiction of the extreme environment. As I noted in the earlier blog post, the kids create and write the skit, develop the characters, create the backdrops and props and put together the costumes, all without adult help. At the local competition I was amazed at their creativity and ingenuity.

For the state competition, this energetic group decided to improve on their skit and focus more on the extreme environment they had decided to explore, Venus. This was not an easy task when you have a team of seven, with seven different opinions and ideas. However, two of the important skills learned during Destination Imagination are compromise and learning to work as a team, giving each member a voice. They worked diligently on creating the best skit they could, that met the challenge they had been given.

I was a bit nervous this morning, as I took my seat in MSSU’s Phelps Theater. I loved their original skit. How could they improve on that? Dayan’s group was the first team to perform. As they set up their backdrops and assembled before the judges, I had a moment of panic. I couldn’t find Dayan! Surely they wouldn’t start the skit without him! Then my eyes came to rest on the tall, slender figure in the long black cape. With the hood pulled up and a mask over his lower face, only his bright, dark eyes were showing. There he was. The costumes had changed slightly. My grandson had been trying to get my attention and I had almost missed him.

I was, once again, amazed by their performance. Humorous, scientific, technology based and relevant to the challenge of surviving in an extreme environment, the skit was spot on. This is one talented group of young adults. The judges asked questions after the skit and thanked them for starting their day, and the competition, in such a great way. I loved their performance, and apparently, so did the judges. They took 3rd place at State. I’m so proud of Dayan and so proud of the team for their creativity, persistence and teamwork. Way to go! And now, enjoy some of the free time you’ll hopefully have back, after weeks of hard work!

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Judges, in the bright costumes, ask the team questions after the skit.

Day 101: Paint at RSVPaint

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I’m loving all the opportunities for creative expression that I’m discovering in Joplin. Tonight, my mom, sister Linda and I painted together at RSVPaint, located at 420 S. Main Street. Linda and I visited this place during Third Thursday last month and signed up for a class. Mom decided to join us and I’m so glad she did.

RSVPaint started in Springfield, MO, and offers a place for budding or experienced artists to relax, sip, visit and paint. In two hours, one can create a work of art to take home. A glass of wine is offered beforehand, to remove all fear and inhibitions! Encouraged by their success in Springfield, RSVPaint branched out to Joplin and has been open here for a month. Classes are offered on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. A nominal fee covers the class, all supplies and materials, and a glass of wine.

We had such a relaxing and enjoyable evening. Our instructor, Coleman, was fun, engaging and a great teacher. He painted with us, staying a step ahead of us so we could follow along. Tonight’s painting was “Cherry Blossoms”. Six of us sat in front of our easels with blank canvases ready for our artistic touch. I have to admit, the glass of wine did do a great job of relaxing everyone! Conversation flowed easily among us and laughter rang out often. There is something about a fresh, blank canvas that invites creativity and gets ideas flowing. That sense of flow and energy is transmitted to the brush as soon as I pick it up.

Coleman made painting easy. He was patient and offered help when we needed it. I liked that we had a sample painting to look at, and could watch him as he created the painting with us. He also encouraged us to express ourselves and use different colors for the background if we wanted. Half of us did so. Although we all admired each other’s work, no one compared one piece of art to another. This was a very supportive environment to express ourselves in.

At the end of two hours, we all had a completed painting to take home and a great shared experience. We had so much fun chatting and creating and getting to know Coleman and each other. There are upcoming classes that will provide opportunities for more fun and more creative expression. We intend to participate again and allow our inner artists out more often!

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Day 98: Create a Spring Vignette

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I often relax, and have precious “me” time, by being creative. I love bringing an idea into reality by assembling items and grouping them together in a way that is pleasing to me. For today’s first, I created a new spring vignette for my dining room table.

Spring is here in Joplin, MO. The days are longer, and warmer, and signs of new life are appearing everywhere. I am itching to begin planting flowers, shrubs and grasses in the backyard. Transformation is underway as a courtyard is being installed and pathways laid out. Yet it’s a bit too cool still at night to plant.

So today I brought spring indoors. This was a fun project. All the items in this grouping are flea market, thrift store or vintage shop finds, with the exception of the white birds, speckled eggs and the plants. There serving as a basket to hold it all is the vintage sifter that I bought over the weekend at Country Pickins Antique Mall. I love how this piece is the foundation for the vignette. I’ll be using the sifter again and again, throughout the year.

The white teacups and the white footed bowl came from Goodwill. As soon as I saw the footed bowl, I envisioned speckled eggs nestled within it. I found the eggs on sale at Hobby Lobby today. I was hunting for pretty white teacups Sunday, while we were junkin’, because I already had the idea of planting tiny pansies and impatiens in them. I loved these cups because they are nice and wide and have a lovely shape. The willow ball topiary also came from Goodwill. It was adorned with red berries when I bought it. I liked the green pot it was in and the general shape. It was easy to remove the worn berries and freshen the topiary with green ivy.

I bought the rectangular glass vase at Goodwill. For the spring vignette, I wanted fresh tulips. Walmart had a great selection today at a great price. I was hoping for a peachy pink color but I’m happy with the deep pink and white. The white birds were picked up at Michael’s for 50% off. Birds, freed from their cages, are my symbol this year. It seemed appropriate to include a pair.

I am very happy with the way the grouping turned out! It makes me smile every time I look at it. As spring wanes and summer arrives, I’ll change it all again. For me, that will be another therapeutic and happy hour well spent!

Day 85: Watercolor Class

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This week seems to be all about expressing creativity! It’s amazing how artistic opportunities have lined up within a few days of each other. Today’s first was a watercolor class at Local Color Art Gallery & Studio, located in downtown Joplin in the Gryphon Building.

My friend Catherine joined me for an artsy afternoon. We met instructor Paula Giltner and fellow artists Barbara, Van and Roger. Everyone was working at different levels of ability, and that was perfect! Neither Catherine nor I had ever had a formal watercolor lesson. She has dabbled in watercolor in the past and I haven’t painted since I was in high school art class. I can tell you, that’s been a while! My art teacher, Mr. Craven, would be proud that I was making the attempt again.

Paula, whose art work is available for purchase in the gallery, was great to show us what materials and tools she uses. And then we began. She demonstrated technique and we watched attentively as she created a simple landscape with mountains and trees. As Catherine and I taped watercolor paper to the table, a few facts from high school class came back to me, such as the need to brush water on the paper first. Paula had some great tips for mixing paint and using a metal burner cover, turned upside down, as a palette to keep water and paints handy.

We had a great afternoon. Catherine and I laughed and talked as we painted. We had already decided that today was about having fun, not creating a masterpiece.  We played with hues and which brushes to use and had a wonderful experience. Paula checked on us often and offered suggestions. My paper was a little too wet and should have dried longer before I added the second mountain range, but for time’s sake, I proceeded. When the paper is very damp, it creates a soft, blurred edge, rather than a defined edge. I jokingly said a mist was settling on the tops of my mountain range. We added trees in the foreground and declared our work good!

I really appreciate Local Color Art Gallery & Studio for making these classes available. I intend to explore all the options there, enjoy expanding my talents and have fun at the same time. It’s wonderful to meet new friends and deepen friendships while sharing brushes and paints. Shared joy is multiplied. There was much joy during this class.

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Catherine creating

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Instructor Paula Giltner

Day 81: Paint a Chair

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All these firsts I’m doing have ignited my creative side. I’m thrilled to discover there are many opportunities in Joplin to develop and express my creativity. Today’s first was so much fun! I painted a chair.

A group of us gathered this morning at Local Color Art Gallery & Studio in downtown Joplin. Artist and instructor Tricia Courtney had old school chairs, from the 1930’s or 40’s, primed and ready for us. I haven’t painted anything, other than interior walls in a house, in a long time. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew this looked like a fun project and the sample painted chair that Tricia had created was so appealing.

I paired up with another guest, Nina, pulled on an oversized T-Shirt and faced my selected chair. We started by applying a base coat all over the chair. Nina and I both chose black for the “pop” factor. Then came the fun part. Using bottles of Apple Barrel acrylic paint, Tricia demonstrated how to use the paint straight from the bottle to paint. No brushes needed! And no particular skill. Just the desire to create. The paint was applied thickly, in whatever shape or design the artist chose, and the movement and flow of the paint created the dynamic art. I was drawn to form flowers of yellow, turquoise, pink and purple and stems and leaves of varying shades of green.

I mumbled to myself a couple of times, “There are no mistakes….” and squeezed out a blob of yellow for my first flower. Tricia circled the room, offering encouragement and occasionally grabbing a bottle of paint and assisting with technique. The room filled with happy chatter and admiration for each other’s work as amazing, colorful art appeared on chairs. Our hands and shirts got paint on them and I laughed as a drop of paint splattered onto my face. This was so freeing and relaxing, going with the flow, literally, and getting messy as we worked.

At the end of our session, we all had lovely, personal, works of art. And I had made a new friend! Nina and I will return to complete the backs of our chairs after the seats thoroughly dry. And then I can bring my painted chair home. I’m already eyeing furniture and old doors at home and wondering what I can use this technique on next! For a fun way to let your artistic side shine, check out the many classes offered at Local Color Art Gallery.

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Nina and her lovely chair