By Karry Liu | Contributor
Dallas artist Erika Huddleston will be displaying her art at The Art Center of Waco from November 9 through December 16. The theme and title of the exhibit is “Waco Creek.”
Waco Creek is a hidden beauty that runs through Waco, appearing and disappearing in the midst of concrete before eventually feeding into the Brazos River. Huddleston was drawn to the idea of water meeting city and decided to center her showcase on the urban waterway.
“I like to capture things you can’t find on a map, that are true to the unseen.” Huddleston said. “They exist, but you just don’t see them.”
Huddleston is known for painting nature in an urban settings. She immerses herself into the outdoors, settling into the grass and welcoming a few bugs onto her canvas. In pursuit of “Waco Creek,” she will be drawing along the stream from morning to dusk until the day of the exhibit. Where there is nature hidden in the nooks and crannies of a city, there is Huddleston.
“I like to paint things that change, deciduous change, marking the season,” Huddleston said.
Those that reside in Waco or wander through Baylor’s campus may find the Dallas artist tucked away on the side of the creek. Local Wacoan Leah R. Magid was one of the few passerbys who decided to join the artist.
“Her paintings, I feel, are a perfect representation of what it is like to see the world ‘in full color,’” Magid said.
If there’s one thing to take away from “Waco Creek,” it’s Huddleston’s message within the flurry of colors in her paintings.
“Here in Waco, we have nature,” Huddleston said. “It exists, and it’s beautiful. As Wacoans, we should preserve the nature and help it flourish so our city can become what it truly is — an urban nature paradise.”
The importance of Waco Creek and all the waterways in Waco is Huddleston’s main emphasis. Therefore, as a unique feature, the exhibit will include maps of all the bodies of water in Waco displayed with her paintings.
“It’s exciting to have a Texas artist spend quality time here in Waco and learn about the things that make it a special place,” said Claire Sexton, program coordinator of The Art Center of Waco.
Waco Creek is integrated into Waco history. Feeding into the Brazos River, it’s one of the contributing reasons why Waco is where it is. The presence of water naturally brings forth life. It’s a diamond in the rough — beautiful yet unnoticed in a city.
Huddleston has enjoyed her time in Waco and hopes that the city will become more of a destination. A possible solution the artist suggested was utilizing Waco Creek as a Waco attraction. Emphasizing the natural setting of Waco could also benefit the environment. For example, installing more rain gardens would help clean the water better while also presenting a nature-esque aesthetic appeal.
“I think it’s valuable to be around things that mark time, things that are more important than ourselves,” Huddleston said.