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Art Feel: A farewell; column ends, but Art Feel celebrations continue

September 21, 2018

An art maven’s weekly fix of the local arts scene: what to see, what to hear, what to do, who to meet and musings about how art makes people feel—their Art Feel. Editor’s Note: This is the final column for Art Feel author Nickole Kerner Bobley.

One year ago, the Art Feel arts column was born to celebrate the arts boom in The Woodlands. Now, 52 photos and approximately 26,000 words later, this weekly art column comes to its close.

Thank you for a wonderful year of sharing stories about the arts, artists and art enthusiasts.

From the top-ranked Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival to The Inspire Film Festival to The Glade Arts Foundation to The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra to The Sarah Kelly Music School to Boni’s Dance Studio to Crush Wine Lounge’s free and open-to-the-public monthly hosting of ArtFeel Live to Brian Domingue’s upcoming flash mob dance to Jen McDonald’s charity graphic designs to area art educators like Alex Bunch, Angela Colton, Lauren Combs, Betz Demonico, Jeffrey Gorring, Maggie Gutierrez, Steve King, Valerie Labonski, Jen Lucas, Ali Martinez, Matthew Peters, Olimpia Petzold, Cynthia Reid, Joseph Staley and Elisabeth Stavinoha — the arts are a mirror of who we are as a community and what we want as a people.

We are lucky. We live in a town littered with public art. Did you know The Woodlands has one of the largest collections of outdoor public art in the country? Next month, we will see the installation of six new art benches on The Woodlands Waterway and in Hughes Landing. This will put our public art collection at 80 pieces strong and warrants an enormous thanks to The Howard Hughes Corporation* for their commitment to public art in our town.

As we go about our lives in The Woodlands and pass by these marvelous works of art by renowned international artists, we often LOOK at them, but do we truly SEE them? And this begs the question — if an artist makes a piece of art and no one really looks at it or talks about it…is it art?

Regardless of the answer, we know art is restorative and highly personal. It gives us time to stop, think and reconnect with our inner spirit. Sometimes, when we engage with art, we travel back in time as the art work reminds us of something or someone or someplace from our past. Sometimes, the opposite occurs, and our mind catapults forward to think about something we have never thought about before. For some, it’s simply a peaceful meditation — a clearing of sorts. For others, it’s something completely different altogether.

It’s true you may not always like every piece of art you encounter, but the flipside of this is discovering a work that “speaks” to you — and suddenly your life is enriched in ways you never could have imagined.

I challenge you to connect with the vast collection of art around town and see how it makes you feel and invite you to Art Feel Live at The Crush Wine Lounge at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, where The Woodlands Arts Council, Crush and I will honor Gaston Carrio’s Proud Souls, a functional art bench, generously underwritten by Memorial Hermann Hospital.

At this event, a small stage and microphone are available for area residents to share their thoughts on how this dramatic new piece makes them feel — their artfeel. Some will: sing; dance; perform theatre; read original poetry; show-and-tell a painting; play music; and most, like me, will share a story. A brave few will say just one word — the feeling the art has evoked in them. The rules are there are no rules — and that is the fun.

SEE you there!

— * Editor’s Note: The author of this column does paid contractual work for the Howard Hughes Corporation.

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