If you don’t kick things around with people, you’re out of it. Nobody, I always say, can be anybody without somebody around.”
-Physicist John Wheeler

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Back Story

The year 2000 marked the tenth birthday of the Surface Design Studio at the Southwest Craft Center, located here in San Antonio. The department was my idea, so the tenth anniversary was a sweet validation of my belief that surface design had a place in the school’s programming.

Not long after the ten-year anniversary celebration, I took the plunge, gave my notice, and launched myself as a freelance artist and teacher. It was scary, but I’d discovered the third floor of the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church’s Michigan Building, and was already envisioning the independent studio I would create there. Complex Cloth was selling well, and the sales provided funds to renovate the church space. A dedicated, delightful group of students populated my workshops, and I’ve never looked back. Art Cloth Studios at the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church is my pride and joy. Hundreds of lives have been touched, and sometimes changed by the classes, exhibitions and events we’ve offered.

Fast forward to 2011. Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church is still a presence in the neighborhood, and Art Cloth Studios is still filling workshops and touching lives. The distinctive Art Cloth Mastery Program enrolls and graduates students who agree to come to San Antonio (from all over the world) five weeks over a three year period. These students win awards, become teachers and facilitators, and continue the ripple of positive creative making into the larger world.

But two years ago Pastor Tom Heger was honest with me when I inquired about the financial health of the church. He guessed that Beacon Hill’s solvency would last another two or three years at best. Sadly, we could both see Art Cloth Studios in the Michigan Building closing.

Since then, I’ve scouted ideas, investigated possibilities and sought guidance – both at ground level and above. You know me, so you know that I believed when the right thing manifested I would recognize it.

I have found the right thing.


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