Blonde Mink highlights younger artists during art show

These paintings were created by Julie Cervantes, an artist featured at Blonde Mink over the weekend. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Foster Nicholas | Reporter

Blonde Mink creative director Swayze Ray hosted a cost-effective and upbeat art show which was open to the public over the weekend. The art show provided an opportunity to help artists showcase their work, as well as welcome Waco residents into the art world.

“My hope is to present more Baylor artists to the community by raising awareness of the growing opportunities Mink Studios has to offer,” Ray said.

Baylor alumni Claire Gustafson, Allison German and Cade Kegerris were featured for their paintings on canvas. Another local, Julie Cervantes, also displayed her recent work.

“The idea of the event was to have it geared toward welcoming young couples and provide a cost-effective, romantic experience for the Valentine’s holiday. Of course, we also want to welcome singles, families and Baylor students looking for something fun and thought-provoking to do,” Ray said.

Blonde Mink is a great resource for locals to build portfolios in painting, photography, mixed media and more. Ray has gone above and beyond to put together a venue for Baylor students, Waco residents and local artists as well.

Often, artists must find an economical way of promoting their art to large groups of people. Being an artist is not necessarily easy on an artist’s budget, when they have to invest not just time, but quite a bit of money into quality canvases, paints, brushes or other supplies depending on the medium.

“I really enjoy being an artist and putting together meaningful pieces that speak not only to me, but that I truly believe others will enjoy,” local artist Ann Stein said. “Many times I find I have invested too much money into creating the art itself, and then comes the marketing end. What gallery or restaurant will get the most traffic so these pieces can be seen? That’s something I ask myself quite often. I also have to think about what percentage of the sale profits the galleries will take, or how much I will need to spend to rent wall space within a gallery. These are all things local artists have to consider.”

Ray said the studio space is distinctive, yet still easily accessible.

“This studio right here is a lot better than you would have at Magnolia. It’s got a world-class setup of 2,000 square feet of space on the ground floor. We wanted to be properly equipped for anyone who might have mobility restrictions,” Ray said. “We also make sure it’s cost-effective to put one’s work on display here. We want to bridge the gap economically speaking, making it possible for Baylor students who currently reside here to show their art, as well as post-graduates who have chosen to stay in Waco.”

Baylor students and alumni are welcome to bring in a microcollection if they are newer artists and haven’t completed a large amount of artwork.

Blonde Mink caters to meeting artists where they are, whether they’re new to the art world, or are more experienced and accomplished. On the flip side, it also offers a contemplative space off of Baylor’s campus for students to affordably visit independently, or for a gallery event with friends.

It’s a more dimensional experience for students who are looking to get off campus and spend free time somewhere beside a coffee shop, restaurant, bar or retail space.

Andrea Eggers, an attendee, said she appreciated that the studio is located away from the Baylor area, because it allows her to explore Waco.

“I’m not an artist myself, but I enjoy visiting galleries and, every once in a while, buying a piece of original artwork that resonates with me,” Eggers said. “I’ve lived in the Baylor area for three years now. I have met many friends at Baylor. I really like the university, but I am always looking for new places to visit by myself and with my friends here in Waco.”