State of the Organization Address

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Photo courtesy of http://www.bilsullivanphotography.com
State of the Organization Address to the Seguin Art League at Texas Lutheran University on January 09, 2016 (duration: 16:30)

The State of the Organization Address

Fellow Art League Members,

Distinguished Guests,

Welcome to our State of the Organization Address and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend this gathering.  We extend our gratitude to Tom Engler for his beautiful and inspiring music and to Mary Jo Langford for the insightful presentation on the arts in our community.  Wow!  What a great way to refresh and continue on the journey for this new year.

Connecting the arts and the community: this is our purpose.

What does the Seguin Art League do for the community?

Are we just a group of artists looking for a place to show and sell our art, or,     are we a cultural beacon for the community?

Let’s look at the record.

In order to understand our involvement in the community, we need to take a look at the past.  Since 1982, the art league has been moving and shaping the cultural landscape of Seguin by providing scholarships for local students, having exhibitions, hosting demonstrations and workshops, and actively participating in  Seguin sponsored events such as,  ArtsFest, Earth Day, Pecan Fest, Trade Days, and the Holiday and Fourth of July parades.

  • During 2015, as in other years, we organized art exhibitions for the public to enjoy.  We had two exhibits just for students: one for elementary and middle schools and the other for high schools.  The remaining exhibits included one for painting, another for photography, one all media, and a members only show.
  • In August, two of our members held a Summer Art Camp called “Super Heroes” for children of all ages, teaching a variety of media and techniques.
  • As part of our fundraising efforts, we held 3 silent auctions.
  • In December we hosted YuleFest the annual fine crafts sale at the coliseum,
  • To support the arts in Seguin, two of our members are on the advisory board of The Seguin Commission for the Arts.

Artists are not timid in their dreams.  Innovation does not happen without creative minds injecting constructive possibilities and alternatives to the status quo.  To advance the arts, we embarked on a fantastic journey.  We needed to expand  cultural horizons.  We needed a home, we bought a building.  We started a new journey.

With enthusiasm and grit members made the initial steps.  Teams formed to clear and clean the building.  The art league received an early boost from the Seguin Main Street Program’s Fix-it Facade and with local contractors the front of the building received a facelift.  Members went to work hosting fundraisers, submitting grants, requesting estimates to repair or replace the old and leaky roof.  A new member with an engineering background along with others began the work of hiring an engineering company to study the structural integrity of the building.  With the study and the final report nearly complete, we will soon have cost estimates for the necessary repairs for the roof, walls and foundation.     At the meeting next Saturday, you will hear a status report of the findings to date.

With the building, there is good news and there is bad news.  The bad news is we have a building.  The transformation of our home into a center for the arts calls out like a new-born for a colossal amount of tender loving care. No longer the art league of yesterday, we are new parents with  responsibility to raise this child into adulthood.  We must heed the clarion call for hard work and nurturing, endurance and resilience, intelligence and inspiration.

The good news is we have a building.  What a gift it is, a blank canvas to write our legacy.  Who better to nurture a building than artists whose purpose in life is to fill emptiness with beauty and perspective.  What makes me burn with passion for this journey is you.  This is a membership organization overflowing with goodwill, electrified energy, unbounded creativity and desire.  The beauty of the Art League is that it is more than a building; it is you.  Let us spread our creative wings.  Each of us is a rich and vibrant tapestry of life with knowledge and wisdom.  Our stories connect us to the past and the place where we stand today.

Have you seen the amazing, creative responses to the problems facing us?  In order to receive hotel and occupancy tax funding, we needed to capture geographical data about visitors.  We had them place their zip code on the back of raffle tickets.  This was so clever, a city council member used it as an example for other organizations to follow.  Look at how we created a water catchment system for the leaking roof, or found a way to raise money with leftover wood found in the building.  By the way, the wooden christmas ornaments were just adorable and a success.

The renovation of the building may appear overwhelming, yet we are moving forward.  We are improving our organizational capacity through a major revision of our Bylaws and Standing Rules.  Efforts are under way for a strategic plan for the organization, a masterplan for the building, plans for improving community outreach and for development.  I am not saying that we are not going to have our moments of: “Houston we have a problem” but we shall endure and thrive.

The destiny of our building, the Klein Opera House, is to be the locomotive that  propels the Art League into its role as a cultural force/beacon in the community.   This home of the arts is a promise for the future, a blank canvas that will enable people to tell their story, to share their talents and combine their passions.  Our dream for this town of a grandiose space is to not only share our art but to welcome the  works of artists from around the globe.  We do this to let Seguin shine by connecting the arts with the community so that everyone feels a little bit taller and a little bit happier.

Great things happen when a community comes together for a common cause.  Look at the economic development activities with all new businesses moving here.  Three bond issues passed by an overwhelming majority of the citizens for education, knowledge and recreation.  Texas Lutheran University opened a department of nursing, a sports stadium and there are plans for the Caroline M. Westin Performing Arts Center.   A new boutique hotel restaurant is now open on the square.  Seguin is in motion and entering a golden age and we are an important part of it.  Our future is bright.

Now is the time, today is the day.  We embark on our finest hour bound to the common cause.  At this historic moment, everybody’s slice of genius must be unleashed and harnessed to turn the wheels of progress into a collective and sustainable solution for this endeavor.  Each of us has the responsibility for the success or failure of this organization. We are here today to promise that we shall get to the promised land together.  For this mission, failure is not an option.

May God bless us and May God bless the Seguin Art League and May God bless the most talented town in the Guadalupe Valley.

Thank you.

 

The Flying Leaves at Texas Lutheran University

The Unveiling Ceremony

“The Flying Leaves”

Texas Lutheran University

Student Alumni Center
November 14, 2014

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Dr. Stuart Dorsey President, TLU

Dr. Stuart Dorsey
President, TLU

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Mr. Rick Roberts, Vice-President for Development and Alumni Relations

 

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Comments by Marika:

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the debut of The Flying Leaves.

Creativity flowers in the doing, in the experiencing of life, and in having community.  Over 30,000 years ago, artists connected their communities by creating art on the walls of caves.  Since, the methods of artists have changed while the impulse to connect has not.  “The Flying Leaves,” are a perfect example.

In commissioning this Bas-relief wood sculpture, the TLU Development Office called upon the creativity of our community to make a statement out of a piece of American walnut.

As a great force of nature capable of spreading beauty and understanding, this piece of wood pictures the clear channel of spiritual communion between the university and the students.  Thank you TLU for giving us the opportunity to connect with you through a state of creative grace and a sense of the sublime.

I would like to pay tribute to a friend Dr. Evelyn Streng who left us today.  She was a constant inspiration in the making of the leaves.  She did not handle mallet and chisels but truly she had a hand in fashioning the message of the sculpture.  In September she told me that even if she is not present for the unveiling ceremony she will be there with us.

Having you here today is a truly humbling experience.  So allow me to end now by thanking each and every one of you for celebrating the arts and for being part of this community.

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The Flying Leaves American Walnut H 24" W 108" D 2"

The Flying Leaves
American Walnut
H 24″ W 108″ D 2″

Flying Leaves C

Detail

Detail

 

 

 

 

 

Plaque for  “Flying Leaves”

The TLU Development Office project begins with straight-forward design specifications of a tree and leaves for the artwork.  From there, the idea flows into the realm of visual artistry.  The rendezvous of ideas and art leads to a tree with a strong trunk deeply rooted to a rich landscape.  Carrying the essence of the concept into a Bas-relief wood sculpture, a locally harvested American Walnut, gives birth to “The Flying Leaves”.

The symbolism behind the tree and the leaves is the interconnectivity between the university and its graduates.

  • The tree with its many limbs, represents Texas Lutheran University;
  • The flying leaves are the graduating students who after a period of learning boldly leave the university with the mission of “Live to Inspire”; and
  • The landscape is the journey ahead into the greater community.

The wisdom of the narrative resides in the harmonious cycle of this interconnectivity.  The seeds of knowledge germinate, the leaves spread the news and the world becomes a better place.

The artists

Marika (Marie-Carmel Bordes) a Seguin artist, originally from the Caribbean Island of Haiti, is the official sculptor of “The Flying Leaves”.  With a wonderful moment of celebration in mind, she leads the concept of the Bas-relief sculpture with the assistance of Howard E. Crunk, a TLU graduate in the arts, class of 2007.   Together with mallet and chisels, they testify to the indelible legacy of the alma mater and the alumni.

Dennis Martin and Marika Bordes

Creating Sculptures with Marika: The Video

The Sculpting Process

Sculpting wood is a time-consuming and labor-intensive effort requiring imagination and discipline. This brief video gives the viewer a window to the sculptor’s arduous journey from a piece of raw wood to a finished work of art.  Join the sculptor as she creates the following sculptures:

Plenitude

The sculpture is a commission to celebrates the birth of a first grandchild.

The Little Prince

Marika made this sculpture as the center piece for her solo exhibition at Bihl Haus Arts.

 The Flying Leaves

The Flying Leaves, a work-in-progress, is a commission for Texas Lutheran University.

 

Texas Lutheran University 2014 Annual Student Art Show

“Must See”

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This beautifully arranged art show is the proof that vision and talent are thriving in our Seguin community.  Located at the Schuech Fine Arts Center, the show closes May 8.  This display of art is an excellent occasion to realize what is being taught at the university in our town.   Visit and experience that breath of fresh air from our next generation of artists.

Kyle Olson, Assistant Professor, The Department of Visual Arts, invited Marika Bordes and Dennis Martin to jury the Annual Student Art Show.  What an honor!  Thank you TLU for allowing us to be part of such an awesome venue.  The students inspired us with their creativity, professional presentation of work, and diversity and depth of expression.  Kudos must go to the teaching staff for unrelentingly bringing out, year after year, the best in their students.  We are proud of you.

First place honors for 2D went to:

Emily Ullrich for “Peppers n’ Onions” an oil on canvas still life.

At the opening reception, Emily surprised us with the news that the painting was her first using oil.  Bravo!

Jurors’ Comments:

Physical presentation of the artwork:  is of high standard.

Conception in the planning of the art piece: is clearly executed.

Mastery of the medium: is evident.

Rendering of the use of light:  is well executed.

The WOW! factors: are lighting and texture.

Peppers n' Onions

Peppers n’ Onions

First place honors for 3D went to:

Cason Miller for “The Cyclops” a wood sculpture made from an old chair.  Cason is planning a visit to Marika’s studio.  We look forward to his visit.

Juror’s Comments:

Creativity:   It stands out from the crowd.

The presentation of the subject is done in a way that it had not been done before.

Artistic design: There is a sense of balance.

The impact: Brings all the elements together to create a positive impact with recycled materials.

The Cyclops

The Cyclops

For the President’s 2014 Christmas Card, a committee selected the art of Mary Grace  Riddle.  Mary also has excellent paintings of dog portraits.  Wait until you see Ms. Juliet, the dog with the pleading-for-goodies look in her eyes.

Ms. Juliet

Ms. Juliet

Jurors Statement

Texas Lutheran University

2014 Annual Student Art Show

Pushing the limits of the craft and creativity of art best describes the 2014 Annual Texas Lutheran University Student Art Show.  The most important elements of the show are:

  1. The jurors felt the artists followed many different avenues in medium and subject matter for the sheer joy of expression.
  2. One senses the strong effort in the use of technique, lighting and composition in the creative process.
  3. The jurors very much appreciated the creativity of vision found in the art.

We used the following criteria in jurying the show:

1. Creativity in:

subject, interpretation and vision;

2. Artistic design:

lines, sense of balance, and composition;

3. Knowledge of the medium:

technique and execution;

4. Presentation of the art form:

degree of excellence in presenting the artwork: and

5. Impact:

Impact overall, and the WOW! Factor.

Nota bene emerging artists:

Our recommendation to each of you who entered the show is continue developing technique and creativity.  Enjoy the world of art, its inspiration and your place in it.

May you have a creative life.

Marika Bordes and Dennis Martin

 

In the left column of this page are links to the Department of Visual Arts under “Art Organizations” and to Professor Kyle Olson and art student Mary Grace Riddle under “Artists”.

 

The Power of Language: Presentation to Alpha Mu Gamma Honor Society, Texas Lutheran University

Lately, I have come to understand that the value of any human being resides in his capacity to absorb and transform the elements received from the diverse schools of life. What a wonderful world!

 In the beginning was The Word,  and

The word was spread around the globe

In many languages

For the use of human beings.

Go and spread what you have learned,

For it will make humanity stand a little taller, and,

Your passage on planet earth

Will not be in vain

Honorees, Ladies and Gentlemen here present, it has been a pleasure to share  the insightful values of what we’ve all learned on our mother’s knee:

The power of language.

Texas Lutheran University Journalism Students

Recently, Texas Lutheran University journalism students and Associate Professor Robin Bisha visited Marka’s studio.  The class was on a mission to interview and write an article about Marika and her art.  Thank you for the five beautiful and well-written articles.  Please enjoy the photographs of the visit and the writings of Sunny Valencia, Laura Torres, Samantha Kuykendall, Amber Gold, and Joy Fennigkoh.

Sunny Valencia

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

SEGUIN – Oct. 19, Marika Bordes, noted sculptor, shared her creative proficiency with TLU students to experience her art from within the creative walls of her studio and encouraged them with her words of wisdom and passion towards her craft.

“Life gives a lot of lessons; these are the stories I’m here to tell. I tell them without words. I tell them in a language that is universal,” she said in her Seguin home studio. “Mallet and chisel, they talk for me. I tell my story.”

This humble artist, a Haiti native, was a late bloomer when it came to sculpture but is now continuing to draw attention for her smooth and elegant pieces of art that range in woods, colors, and sizes. She mostly creates art in female figures that correspond and inspire the essence of their power, beauty, and charm.

The TLU students who had the privilege to enter place of work, look around, take in her efforts, and have “hands on” experience gained an understanding deeper than those guests that go to the exhibits where her pieces are showcased.

“To touch them, feel them,” Bordes said. “Ask any question, a unique experience to come to an artist studio, not a museum, not the same contact.”

Instead of possibly picking her favorite work, she responded with having respect for two pieces, “Head of a Woman” and “Carousel of Women’s life.”  Her pieces are her way of expressing poetry. The latter piece is her “truth” of the female life, from childhood, to teenager, to motherhood, to the end of their time. It is how women have struggled to survive and motivate humanity.

Bordes shared her emotional story of her country and its effects on her craftsmanship.

“Haiti is a great source of information, great source of inspiration. If you can’t get inspired in Haiti, something is wrong with you,” she said as she made the students laugh. “I am proud to come from that country although it is the poorest country in the hemisphere. It is such a rich country.”  Her expression and intensity when she spoke let it be known that she was sincere with every word.

Wood called to her, she didn’t go to find it. Even at the age of 49, she gained her inspiration to become an artist. Now, 15 years later, she continues. “As long as I can do it, I will,” she said.

Bordes has a God given talent to create poetry and express multiple feelings from blocks and branches of wood. Her pieces tell the story she feels, but do not restrict the observer to that idea.

“It no longer belongs to me, it belongs to you,” Bordes said. “Make your own journey. They’re a gift, and you react the way you want to.”

By Laura Torres

There is a secret hidden along an herb garden in a quiet nook on Erkel Street. A shaky path of cement blocks line the way to a center-stage show staring passionate figures spawned from wood and inspired by stories.

Above an entrance reads a sign that reads, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This sign christens the site of where the artist Marika Bordes creates poetry with her mallet and chisel.

Bordes moved to Seguin in 2005 but has been sculpting since 1996. A native of Haiti, she is recognized throughout the art community for her style of elongated lines within her sculptures that represent female strength and tenderness.

Numerous awards dot her resume including fourth place in 2002 and 2003 at the artist exhibition, Rencontre des Arts, held near Montreal, Canada. She won first in 2003 from The Pen and Brush, an organization founded 110 years ago for female artists. This yearly sculpture contest exhibits 750 sculptures created by numerous professionals. In 2008, her sculpture “Nesting” won second prize at The Hill Country Arts Foundation 2008 National Juried Exhibition in Ingram.

While her studio is small it is also packed with passion. The studio is aglow with the tanned reflection of the wood sculptures that literally reach out to those who pass by. A dry smell of grated wood hangs in the air as the stories behind the sculpture come to light. A mother holds her daughter who, Bordes said, is like her but also is not. Her hair is unlike hers despite them both being of the same branch symbolizing how one cannot give what they have not received.

Another work is of Mary with her mother telling her that she is pregnant with the messiah. At the time being with a child out of wedlock was a social wrong. As Mary cradles her son inside her she is held by a mother who raises one hand in anguish but rests the other on her daughter in acceptance.

“Cry of Liberty” is Bordes’s newest sculpture and is of a woman whose face is in a screaming rage. Her hair seems to be pulled back by a fierce wind and at the tips unites to form a drum. Within the hair, a girl emerges from the strands. This piece is symbolic of women lifting the holds that bind so that their future daughters can be free. Each voice is like a beat on the drum within the hearts of women that becomes part of the song for freedom.

Some inspiration for Bordes’s carvings is drawn from the generosity, strength and elegance she has seen in her home of Haiti and in America. She credits her skills to her teacher and to the people of her country, who taught her simplicity.

“In Haiti it is poor but also so rich,” Bordes said. “I learned poetry through the people who do not know how to write or read.”

Haiti was where Bordes met master in find wood sculpting Francois Sanon. She had commissioned him to sculpt a piece for her that she routinely checked in on to monitor his work. The comments Bordes would give to Sanon about the piece made him feel that she was one who had the skill to carve. She dismissed his persistence since she shaid she couldn’t even sketch a line on a piece of paper, let alone carve. Eventually she was drawn to the craft.

“Life gives a lot of lessons that I tell without words in a unusual language of mallet and chisel,” Bordes said. “I put more than just a story. I put myself.”

To prepare she bought her own tools and proceeded to his study ready to sculpt. Sanon then asked her if she had $50 to which she gave him. A few days later he returned and gave her a chisel, larger than her own hands, made from the metal of an old car. Her wood was to be her mallet. He then told her it was all about her own style despite the many sculptors within the field. Bordes was on her way to an epiphany.

“He opened my eyes,” Bordes said. “Everything I could see, I could do it.”

Since then Bordes has created numerous pieces exhibiting a nurturing spirit. On Nov. 11, Bordes will display “Cry of Liberty” at An Auspicious Date at Gallery Nord in San Antonio. It has been coined by the galley as an international show since it features the work of 16 female artists from throughout the globe.

There is no time frame for when Bordes completes her sculptures since she may begin one, leave it to work on another sculpture, and return months or years later to complete it. Her current piece she is working on is that of an owl that will be placed in one of Seguin’s local parks.

Bordes’s studio is surrounded with the metamorphosis of her works. Across from the backyard where the wood in which her work is drawn from, rests the workshop where her tools wait. After a finishing simmer of polish is added, the pieces are taken steps away to rest in the gallery to call to a new home.

Her work builds on the thoughts of the viewer and is designed to rouse the minds of their owners who hear a call to them from the wood.

“I can inspire and give my own inspirations,” Bordes said. “When a sculpture is out of my hands it belongs to you. You bring or leave your story but I offer it.”

By Samantha Kuykendall

Many people believe once you are a certain age you are unable to learn new things or try things you had never tried before. Marika Bordes and her remarkable story help show people everywhere that anything is possible.

Bordes, 64, is originally from Haiti, and at the age of 49 she became a sculptor. She uses wood for all of her pieces. “I didn’t choose wood, wood chose me,” she said. She chose to sculpt with wood instead of any other material.

All of her pieces teach a lesson, she said, “Life is a lot of lessons and those are the stories I’m here to tell.” As many artist tend to say, “My mallet and chisel talk for me,” and “In a piece I put more than a story, I put myself,” said Bordes.

She creates most of her pieces from large pieces of wood that fall from trees. “I have never seen an ugly wood,” she said.

The size of the sculpture and the kind of wood are big factors in how long the piece will take to complete. Smaller ones can take as little as a week, while larger sculptures or harder wood can take up to a couple of months.

When she first started getting into sculpting her teacher told her, “Everything you can see you can do.” And most importantly, “You’re going to do you’re own and that’s what’s important.”

Bordes states that sculpting is her way of “letting others see through the same glasses she sees through.”

“I would like to quilt and do so many other things,” but while I am still strong enough, I will continue to sculpt, said Bordes.

Bordes has an exibit coming up Nov. 11 in San Antonio. For more information you can check her blog.  Bordes said, “I’m looking forward to what they say, and what they say I should do better.”

By Amber Gold

Oct. 19 (Seguin) – Have you ever wondered what goes through an artist’s mind when they create a piece of artwork?

Marika Bordes, a native from Haiti, presented several journalism students with the opportunity to visit her studio to experience the essence of her sculptures.

Ironically, Bordes was first introduced into sculpting after an encounter she had with a sculptor from her country by the name of Sanon. She initially commissioned him to create a piece of work for her and began to give him feedback throughout the process. Sanon recognized the potential that Marika possessed and he told her that she could carve and he would teach her.

Initially a little uncertain, Bordes took up sculpting a couple years later and said she “learned it and loved it.” She recalls her master telling her, “You won’t do it like other artists, but you’ll do your own.” With this newfound sense of self and six tools she had acquired from Montreal, Bordes began to create her first wood masterpiece that depicted a woman from her native country.

Many of her art pieces such as the “Cry of Liberty,” “Seas of Uncertainty,” and “Carousel of Women’s Lives” reflect the struggles and encounters that the people of Haiti face today. These obstacles serve as a source of inspiration for Bordes as she reflects on her culture. “Through Haiti, I have learned the simplicity of life,” states Bordes. This reflection on her culture enables her to share the journey of life through conflict, pain, and triumph with her public audience.

Bordes signifies her purpose as an artist as she states “Life gives lots of lessons and those are the stories I’m here to tell, I tell them without words in a language that is universal.”

From her sculptures, Bordes hopes that people will one day see their own personal stories and experiences. The inspiration expressed through the artwork is something that she hopes will manifest in the lives of future generations as they triumph over life’s battles.

Poetry through a Mallet and Chisel

By Joy Fennigkoh

October 19, 2011—Marika Bordes, master wood sculptor, allowed the Texas Lutheran University (TLU) journalism students to visit her home studio and hear her and her sculptures that she describes as, “poetry.”

When walking into Bordes’s studio the beautiful wood sculptures shine with unique character and design. Each finished sculpture is carved with detail and noticeable care and each tell a different story of their own to those who view them.

“I haven’t met an ugly wood—it’s all in their grain, beauty and character,” Bordes said.

Bordes mostly works with hard woods because of the beautiful results that she gets after carving it regardless of the challenge it poses. As a result of her hard work, her finished sculptures stand strong and beautiful telling their unique stories.

One piece that Bordes has recently completed is called the “Cry of Liberty.” This piece is a sculpture of a woman’s head whose face is shouting while her daughter is calm coming from her hair beside her. In the back of the sculpture is a little drum.

“The woman is tracing the path for the future (the daughter)—The drum is the call deep inside.” Bordes said. “It is what is not right, calling for action,” Bordes said while tapping on the drum.

The “Cry of Liberty” was first representing speaking out about slavery, but is a timeless piece that changes meaning with the world around it and also with those who view it.

Bordes wants those who see her work to reflect on what they know and to see the sculptures. She also wants her audience to understand that it is never too late to do something new or pursue something you love.

“We are called humanity, and humanity is beautiful—life is nothing but a gift,” Bordes says.