Mary Jo Langford is a poet and lyricist who recently published a book of her poetry and a song with her lyrics is being released. In this podcast, she explains how following the Artist’s Way gave her a path for her creative journey. Mary Jo describes the fears and challenges faced but overcome through grit and persistence. Enjoy listening as she recites a poem from her book, Ready or Not; sit back and float away with your dreams as Gary Frank Taylor sings Mary Jo’s Another Broken Heart.
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,
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.
For a fun-filled day that includes a run/walk, poetry reading (Marika is a participant), performing arts, both music and theatre, an artisans market, Zumba exercises, and a dogs for art competition. In the evening at the Texas Theatre there is a silent art auction (Marika has two pieces), wine and beer tastings, food, live music by the Dirty River Dixie Band and the announcement of the 2015 Outstanding Contributor to the Arts. Join us at Seguin’s ArtFest 2015 on Saturday, March 21.
For the complete schedule of events and a description of events see below the following image.
ArtsFest 2015 Schedule
Color Me Nutty Fun Run/Walk (8:30 – 11:00 a.m.)
This is a 5K color run/walk in at the Pecan Bottom Multi-Use Trail at Max Starcke Park. The paint is tempera paint which is non-toxic and 100% safe. The color is not fully washable from clothing but will rinse off skin in appropriate time. The paint does not contain soy, latex, casein, dairy, egg, gluten, peanut or tree root.
Registration for the Color Me Nutty 5K Run/Walk prior to March 15 is $20 and includes a t-shirt. Registration after March 15 remains $20 but does not include a t-shirt. Registration on the day of the event is $25 and does not include a t-shirt. The Kids Color Me Nutty Fun Run includes a 50-yard dash for ages 1-3 and a one mile run for ages 4-12. Registration by March 15 is $10 and includes a t-shirt. Registration after that date, including the day of the event, remains $10 but does not include a t-shirt. Registration is available at athleteguild.com. Simply search “Color Me Nutty 5K Fun Run/Walk” in the search bar at the top right of the homepage.
Poetry Reading (10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)
Listen to poets, young and old, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee at Court Street Coffee Shop.
Artisan’s Market (10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
Shop a variety of vendors selling handmade items in Central Park. If you are interested in having a booth at the market, fill out an application at the Main Street website: http://www.seguintexas.gov/main_street/detail/artsfest or pick up an application at the Main Street Program office at 211 North River Street.
Zumba in the Park (10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)
Enjoy a fast paced dance exercise program in Central Park.
Seguin High School Theater Performance (11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.)
Catch select scenes from the high school’s One Act Play in Central Park.
Katie Poth Performance (12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
Performance by local vocalist, Katie Poth in the Central Park Band Stand.
Navarro Jazz Band (12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
Performance by the Navarro Jazz Band in the Central Park Band Stand.
Poochanga (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
Central Park goes to the dogs for an art competition specifically for your K9 friend. Bring your dog in its best, most creative outfit to the Band Stand in Central Park. Suggested donation of $10.
The Seguin High School and Junior High Mariachis (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
The Seguin High School and Junior High Mariachis perform in the Central Park Band Stand.
CelebrARTe (7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)
An evening of art, live music, great food, wine and beer tastings from local artisans, and great company all in the beautiful Texas Theater. Bid on items in the Silent Auction where all proceeds will benefit the Seguin Art League’s renovation of the Klein Opera House. Seguin’s 2014 Outstanding Contributor to the Arts will be announced as well. Pre-sale tickets are available at $25, and tickets at the door will be $30
Description of Events
Seguin’s annual celebration of the arts is quickly approaching. ArtsFest 2015 will include a Color Me Nutty Fun Run and Walk, Poetry Reading, Artisan’s Market, Zumba in the Park, Seguin High School Theater Performance, Pet Poochanga and CelebrARTe all in downtown Seguin. Events kick off early on Saturday, March 21, 2015 and wrap up late in the evening.
CelebrARTe is a special evening of art, live music, great food, wine and beer tastings from local artisans, and great company all in the beautiful Texas Theater. Attendees can bid on items in the Silent Auction where all proceeds will benefit the Seguin Art League’s renovation of the Klein Opera House, the new home of the Seguin Art League.
“The events for CelebrARTe include a silent art auction, wine and beer tasting from Blue Lotus Winery and Seguin Brewing,” Kim Schmitt, Seguin Commission on the Arts Board Chairperson, said. “The beer tasting will be new this year. There will be appetizers from The Power Plant Texas Grill, live entertainment from The Dirty River Dixie Band, and the announcement of Seguin’s outstanding contributor to the arts.”
CelebrARTe tickets are available at Gift and Gourmet and Court Street Coffee Shop. They can also be purchased from any Arts Commission Member. They are $25 pre-sale and $30 at the door. A keepsake wine glass and three beer or wine tasting tickets are included in the price of the ticket.
“Proceeds from CelebrARTe go towards the funding of public art in Seguin,” Schmitt said. “We are currently sponsoring a video contest highlighting the arts in Seguin and looking into a mural project. This year proceeds from the art auction will go to the Seguin Art League to help with the restoration of the Klein Opera House.”
ArtsFest celebrates art of all forms in Seguin.
“We have so many talented artists in Seguin and many admirers and supporters of the arts. This is a wonderful opportunity for artists, community members, family, and friends to gather and celebrate the arts in Seguin,” Schmitt, said. “My favorite part of ArtsFest is the art auction. As an artist myself, I always enjoy seeing what other artists are doing. This event is a great way to showcase artists in our community and to bring art to the public.”
For more information about ArtsFest 2015 call: (830) 401-2448 or visit: http://www.seguintexas.gov/main_street/detail/artsfest.
While enjoying good food and drink, sit back and treat yourself to the artistic offerings of visual and performing artists at the newest venue for the arts in Seguin, the Court Street Coffee Shop.
Bennett & Hines
Paintings, photography, and sculptures add to the homey ambiance of the coffee shop. Some of the artists represented are Michael Bednarski, Cathy Cordes, Matt Chase and Howard Crunk. Next to the theater poster of Marika’s show in Miami, Ok, you will see two of her sculptures and the book “Marika: The Path of a Sculptor”.
For the performing arts, Thursday evenings is time for music. A list of recent performers include Bennett & Hines, Andy Cottrell, and Shand Walton & Manzy Lowry. Stay tuned. There are plans for musical entertainment at the pet-friendly patio in the back courtyard. There are whisperings of having poetry readings, one act plays, and a puppet show for children young and old!
Thank you, Court Street Coffee Shop for promoting the arts in Seguin!
Greetings to you and welcome to “The Path of a Sculptor”.
I want to thank Jackie Gross and the library staff for allowing us the use of the conference room and for publicizing this event. We deeply appreciate your kindness. Thank you Jackie.
It is not a coincidence that a book discussion about art and literature is taking place here where these two topics have always had a symbiotic relationship. A library is a rich source of inspiration. Our city has its roots in many facets of its history and our public library is a sparkling ribbon of life in our community. This institution is:
A comforting place for the youth and adults to quench their thirst for knowledge,
A witness of our evolution, and
The cradle to our culture.
This book is the fruit of 16 years of experience and a source of shared inspiration in constant evolution. It symbolizes the power of working together with respect in a diverse community. It takes us on a journey: mine and yours. On Page 42 it stipulates:
MY LIFE ripens by receiving nourishment from soils of many cultures. The sculpture “I Am What I Am” is the fruit of the changing seasons of my roots.
We wrote this book with the hope that it will fuel your personal growth and creativity. At this step of my journey, sculpture is an outlet for my creativity. What is yours?
Let us listen to Gretchen Stankey who will read one of the message contained in this book. Then, Whitney R. Bishoff who was inspired by The Beggar wrote a poem for the book and Lynn E. Pfullmann who gave flight to her creativity through writing and sculpting. She will read “What it felt like to sculpt”.
Please enjoy them while keeping in mind the next steps for your full potential. Thank you for your presence and I will be signing “The Path of a Sculptor” afterward.
The Seguin Commission on the Arts honored Marika with the 2014 Arts Enrichment Award for her unwavering support and promotion of the arts. Mayor Don Keil made the announcement at the Texas Theater as part of the ArtsFest event, Pachanga del Arte, the annual fundraiser for the arts in Seguin.
She was awarded a special certificate and an enthusiastic round of applause.
In announcing the award, Mayor Keil noted that since Marika and her husband Dennis Martin chose to settle
Seguin Mayor Don Keil
in Seguin she has been at the forefront of public art in Seguin. She has spoken about the arts to local groups, exhibited her art work in shows throughout the community, contributed two commissioned sculptures to enhance the public art at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, and was a key participant in the first ArtsFest, working with children and adults to create a public art piece for Seguin.
She has taught wood carving classes, helping others discover their artistic talents and was a driving force behind the creation of the Seguin Commission on the Arts as well as the creation of the Bird Sculptures in Walnut Springs Park, raising funds, working with other artists, and creating sculptures that celebrate Seguin’s status as a bird sanctuary.
Her accomplishments are many and include raising over $10,000 in funds through art for disaster relief in Haiti, being featured in numerous publications and on Texas Country Reporter, and being showcased in a National Endowment for the Arts-funded Folklife project through the Institute of Texan Cultures.
Through the years and in spite of challenges, Marika has held on to her vision for Seguin to become known for the arts. He closed saying she is very deserving of being recognized as the Outstanding Contributor to the Arts for 2014.
Past recipients of the recognition include the Texas Theatre and Teatro de Artes de Juan Seguin.
Helen Stein, A Founding Member of the Seguin Art League