Art Forum to raise money to repair and replace items lost in arson

Waco artist Jesus Rivera sits on the mural he painted on the floor of the new art shop inside the Art Forum of Waco. He points at the last part he painted on the floor, a dove in the corner of the room. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

By Rebecca Flannery, Arts Editor

In an effort to recover materials and sculptures lost in a fire earlier this month, the Art Forum of Waco is hosting a silent auction from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

The fire was a result of arson and consumed a portion of the building on Sept. 1. With it, a sculpture of a giant cat deemed “Fiona” by its creator, Jesus Rivera, was destroyed.

Forum collaborator, Arturo Huron looks at the damage created by a fire on Sept. 1. that consumed sculptures and materials worth about $6,000. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

“I’m planning to build another one, but way bigger,” Rivera said. “What’s left of the old sculpture will be placed inside the heart of the new sculpture.”

Arturo Huron, a contributor of the art forum, said in order to cover costs of structural damage and materials to build a new sculpture, $6,000 needs to be raised.

“The silent auction will give people from the art forum and the community the chance to contribute to reconstruction,” Huron said.

Goods from artists in the forum and artists in the Waco community will be sold Saturday.

“We’re really looking forward to opening the space to the public,” Huron said.

While the silent auction takes place, Rivera and artist Rodolfo Razo’s work will be displayed in an exhibition, Huron said. Razo, Rivera’s late mentor, spent his last days in Waco after an impressive career in New York City.

Rivera talks about the progress of his newest creation. The hands on the canvas represent the hands of God creating the Brazos River. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

“He taught me so many things,” Rivera said. “He taught me not to be afraid to paint with different mediums and with big brushes. He gave me confidence.”

Additionally, the forum will be opening an art shop during the silent auction. The shop will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday.

“The art shop will be carrying pieces created by those in the forum,” Huron said. “Jesus painted a beautiful piece on the floor of the store for everyone to enjoy.”

The mural took about two weeks of nonstop work for Rivera, Huron said.

Artist Jesus Rivera talks about one of his new sculptures he brought to the Art Forum of Waco. His exhibition will be held Saturday at the forum. Photo credit: Rebecca Flannery

“I never stop working,” Rivera said. “I don’t do this for vanity, I don’t do this for money. I do this to showcase culture and to let everyone else enjoy it.”

Huron said the store is in the same building as the art studio used by forum members, located at 1826 Morrow Ave.

“There were three empty rooms we weren’t using that we decided to make into the store,” Huron said. “The room is kind of an art piece itself now. It was created using very organic materials, so the whole room feels really organic.”

Huron said while the forum was devastated about the arson, they are ready to move on and focus on the future.

“We’re waiting on funds to be able to fix the damage,” Huron said. “But this looks a lot better than what it was before.”