Tea2Go looks to foster the art scene in Waco

By Matt Dotson, Reporter

Tea2Go, a boutique drink shop specializing in custom tea located off Baylor’s campus, is collaborating with the Central Texas Artist Collective to host its monthly Open Mic Night on Sept. 17.

The event will feature poetry, singing and other events designed to allow customers and visitors to express their creativity.

The Central Texas Artist Collective’s 3 co-founders have a larger mission to foster creative expression throughout the Heart of Texas by unifying and growing arts and cultural programming; enhancing arts education and access for all; cultivating an organic, sustainable identity and celebrating the rich community of artists living, creating, and investing in Waco and beyond, according to their mission statement.

“We all came together with the common interests of bringing creative expression into the community and into public spaces,” said Jenuine Poetees, co-founder of the Central Texas Artist Collective. “When we host things like Open Mic at Tea2Go, we’re bringing music and creative expression and performance art into public space.”

Steve Veracruz, the group’s co-founder said he wanted to provide artists with opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have.

“We want to highlight the artists that provide in this city, in creating opportunities in which they would not normally have had,” Veracruz said. “We wanted to highlight the potential numbers of artists as well as their talents, their skills, their abilities and give them not only the opportunity to share their work, but also introduce them to other avenues they would like to approach.”

Angie Veracruz, the final artist collective co-founder, said she was concerned that art has been undervalued both on a community level and a national level. She said she hopes to change that.

“The arts have taken the backseat for many years, including in the public school system which is statewide and nationwide,” Veracruz said. “With the revamping of the [school] system with STEM [Science Technology Engineering Arts Math program] we try to provide an avenue for those geared toward art.”

STEM is a movement championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals, according to STEM website.

Poetees said she also wants to make sure the arts are accessible to everyone, especially students.

“Part of the motivation behind what we do is the belief in accessible opportunities,” Poetees said. “Open Mic Night is at a location, a time and a place most can get to. One of the reasons why we haven’t been around the city is because Tea2Go is really accessible to Baylor students. Students who don’t have vehicles can cross the crossway bridge and get here pretty easily.”

Be sure to go by and check out the talent and grab a cup of tea. Tea2Go is located across I-35 from Baylor next to the Papa John’s. The address for Tea2Go is 820 South 7th St.