Monday, February 19, 2018

ArtWalk Midtown offers new location to showcase creations

Megan Hix

By Megan Hix
Feb. 9, 2018 at 12:18 a.m.

Suzy Turner and Maggie Turner look over artwork Thursday by Amy Canton during ArtWalk Midtown at Hurwitz.

Embroidery artist Emma Clark showed off her handiwork Thursday evening to potential customers — a change from not long ago, when she said she had no idea how to make a name for herself as an artist.

She said she dabbled in different art as a child, slowly focusing on hand-stitching and machine designs. She eventually met Jasey Beddingfield, another Longview artist who would become her mentor.

Clark was one of about 15 artists showcasing their work Thursday at the first ArtWalk of 2018.

After experimenting with an ArtWalk at The Village shopping center on Judson Road last year, this month's event marked the first of two scheduled Midtown ArtWalks at the shopping center this year.

"I feel like the presence of art (in Longview) is more known now than it was before," Clark said. "I've never been a sporty kid, so I never had a team, but now, with more visibility, I feel like I have a family."

Making room to include more artists was part of the goal for the Midtown ArtWalks, organizer Amy Canton said. She said the downtown ArtWalks, which are scheduled four times a year, had become so popular that they knew the community could support more frequent events.

"It lets local artists interact with their public and get some confidence," Canton said. "It's good for artists to get out and get feedback and get to know other artists."

Clark said this community attitude helped draw her in. She attended a downtown ArtWalk last year as an observer, and Thursday's event was her first time as an artist.

Less than an hour after the event started, Clark already had made sales.

Clark set up next to Beddingfield in the lobby at Central Title, one of eight businesses that transformed into self-guided art galleries for the event. Beddingfield, an illustrator and comic artist, said The Village location seemed to bring in more serious customers than she'd seen at downtown walks.

"They're here for the art. I'm definitely selling more here," Beddingfield said. "I only started doing shows last year and didn't know ArtWalk existed. It's becoming a huge community, and I love it."

Canton said past ArtWalks helped give her the confidence to display her own mixed media and acrylic works. She said that in addition to emerging artists, she's seen some who typically sell to a Dallas market be able to find new customers much closer to home through ArtWalk.

"We are geared toward people who want to look and learn, as well as those who want to purchase," Canton said.

Sharon Oller is a regular at the downtown events, but the Judson Road location was convenient for her two daughters, and the close proximity of each business made it an easy walk from one artist to the next.

"We go to the one downtown all the time. It's so interesting to see all the artists," Oller said. "They're always different. ... You get to see so much, and everyone is so friendly."

Laney Newman came Thursday to support his artist friends, as he's done for many past ArtWalks. He said he was happy to see the event expand while still offering the traditional downtown version.

"It's nice that it's being included here," Newman said. "This is a great venue. This is a lot more intimate than downtown and a little more controlled."



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