Hundreds attend Brookwood’s 2nd Annual Art Fest

September 17, 2018

Austin Hanson loves what he does. On Tuesdays, you’ll most likely see him working in the Brookwood Community cafe and chatting up customers as he serves them lunch.

On Friday, the 32-year-old, who has Down syndrome, was flashing a big grin at Brookwood’s Second Annual Art Fest, as he showcased his acrylics before a crowd of people attending the event.

With 12 pieces, the note cards on a table and posters and portraits hanging on a wall, the artist stood proudly. Twenty percent of his and other artists’ sales will go back to Brookwood.

“I’m excited about everything,” he told the Rancher, just days before the event, which ran Friday and Saturday.

The art fest, which featured more than 30 Texas artists from all over the state, was preceded by a groundbreaking celebration hosted by the Brookwood Community for a Capital Campaign for the new Center for Education and Enterprise building.

The groundbreaking ceremony, which began at 10 a.m., was for the education and enterprise building expansion, which is scheduled for completion by the end of August 2019.

The Center for Education and Enterprise will expand educational, vocational and recreational programs that Brookwood offers, said Jennifer Tiedt, Brookwood spokeswoman.

The total raised to date for the entire capital campaign is $28.6 million — 85 percent of the $34 million goal, Tiedt said.

The center is expanding programs such as ceramics, stone casting and horticulture, Tiedt said, adding that by doing so adults with disabilities will become more involved with the Brookwood mission.

“That’s what makes Brookwood an incredible organization,” she said. “It has a positive impact in their lives. It provides them with more self-esteem.”

The expansion will add two more residential homes that will accommodate 25 more “Citizens,” 75 more day Citizens and up to 14 more staff, according to Tiedt. Citizens are Brookwood’s term for residents.

Brookwood staff had prepared in the event the weather did not cooperate Friday, with most of the artists’ inside and few others outdoors.

The artists travel all over the country and are “usually prepared for all kinds of weather,” said Thomas Truchard, Art Gallery Director at Brookwood.

The groundbreaking ceremony and art festival attracted hundreds of people over the weekend interested in the various fine art pieces, including jewelry, blown glassware, ceramics, watercolors, woodwork and leather work.

“These are all Texas artists; all well-known,” Truchard said, adding that artist attendance had doubled since the inaugural festival last year after Harvey crashed into the Gulf Coast.

As for Hanson, since he began his career at the Brookwood community four years ago, he says he’s never been happier. He started painting earlier this year and now goes to a studio once a week, working on or two painting a week. He likes to stay busy.

“I love my bosses who are there,” Hanson, a day Citizen, said, “I love to work with them. Plus my good friends are there working with me. I like to be somebody there all the times. That makes me really special.”

Brookwood Community, which serves more than 205 special needs adults on its main campus, is sponsored by events such as the Art Fest. It is located at 1752 FM 18946, Brookshire, Texas 77423.

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