Local artists share work in Brazos Fine Arts Show and Gala

Local artists, musicians, craftsmen and vendors shared their work at the Brazos Fine Arts Show and Gala in the Waco Hilton Hotel this weekend. Nathan De La Cerda | Multimedia Journalist

By KJ Burkley | Reporter

Central Texas art creators, designers and Baylor students showcased their artwork at the second annual Brazos Fine Arts Show and Gala at the Waco Hilton Hotel this past weekend.

The Professional Artists of Central Texas, (PACT) hosted 35 different artists who sold handmade pottery, paintings, photography and multimedia to the Waco community.

PACT president Kay Reinke said that last year’s artists were individually selected by a PACT board member, and many returned with high expectations alongside new artists launching their art career.

“We go out and found some of the best artists in Texas,” said Reinke. “The first year, we have a [PACT] member who plans all of the art shows in the state who hand-picked all of the artists last year, and a lot of them came back this year. But this year, we are focusing on more local people, especially on emerging Baylor students.”

Reinke said the fine arts show creates space where artists can display their work publicly that otherwise would not exist. The show also welcomes a unique market of artistry not seen in everyday merchandise shops.

Baylor students were not the only bears on exhibition. Baylor 2D Design and Illustration professor and member of PACT Greg Lewallen showcased his collection inspired by a combination of exotic insects and life stories.

“I’m a bug collector, and I’ve collected insects since I was 5 years old,” Lewallen said. “I’ve always drawn and done artwork, and I’ve always had a strong interest in natural history, specifically bugs. Being able to merge my two passions into one has really made it a lot of fun for me.”

Lewallen said drawing different insects that intrigue him from vast regions of the world and writing stories behind the drawings is very personal to him. However, Lewallen said artists usually craft at a high level of vulnerability to produce art meaningful to them and hopefully provide meaning to the observers.

Lewallen said he believes Baylor art students are in school to learn and improve art technique but they are already artists. His hope is that younger generations of artists use this show as a way of carving their own path to a successful career as he did with painting and teaching art.

“I told students in my class that [they] are artists now,” said Lewallen. “You have to accept it and embrace it. But to find a way to make a living doing nothing but your art is a pretty daunting experience. But this show gives them an opportunity to put themselves out there and see, ‘How does the public respond to the artwork I’m producing?’ It gives them the possibility that for them to see that maybe they can do this.”