Ft. Worth Childhoods Inspire, Connect Artists at FWCAC
Over the years, when friends and family interact and reconnect in the city and neighborhoods where we grew up, we discover new and exciting opportunities for renewal of friendships, recommitment to community, and ways to share how Fort Worth has influenced us.
One such opportunity opens this week at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. Home Fires, an art exhibition with hundreds of pieces from seven artists with Fort Worth ties, will run from October 5 to October 26, 2018. The public opening is on Friday, Oct. 5, from 6-9 pm. It’s free, and everyone is invited.
The idea for the exhibit grew out of a conversation in 2017 when I drove up from Austin to attend my high school reunion. During the evening, I had a very interesting discussion with fellow alum, lifelong friend and current Fort Worth resident Georgia James Clarke. Georgia is a painter and graphic arts professional who has shown frequently at FWCAC. As a sculptor, writer, and former music producer myself, I started talking with her about others in our group of friends who were also artists, how we all met, and what that might mean for Fort Worth today.
Georgia and I originally met when I moved from what were then the outskirts of Fort Worth — in fact, we originally lived in the area that eventually became Tanglewood and surrounding neighborhoods — to attend an elementary school on Fort Worth’s near west side. We became part of a group of kids who were soon fast friends and frequently walked home together after school.
In junior high, Georgia and I met Willis F. Lee, now a renowned photographer and print maker based in Santa Fe (where his work is displayed in some of the finest galleries); Marilyn Maxwell, a fine art photographer; and Paige Kelly (now Paige Hendricks Russey), a designer, former dancer and public relations professional.
What if we presented a show together? Georgia and I wondered. We discussed getting Paige to help by becoming our curator. I asked Lee, who agreed and brought in Marilyn, who also now resides in Santa Fe where she has developed her artistry and passion for photography and species preservation in Africa.
I asked my wife, Scout Stormcloud, an oil painter and photographer originally from Houston, if she’d like to be included, too. We show frequently around Austin in the East and West Austin Studio Tours and at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, where Scout is secretary and a member of the board of directors.
Then, I called my sister-in-law in Fort Worth, Wendy Hook, a quilt maker whose craft has developed from making practical gifts for friends and family to creating full blown modern art pieces, often dying and printing her own fabrics to create remarkable textile art. Wendy, in turn, invited Betty McBride Alcorn, an accomplished landscape painter whose work is in a number of private collections, to join us.
The concept of the show, one that started as an idea of an ex-patriot as an artistic reunion with old friends returning home to share their art with friends and family, had quickly evolved into an exhibition with wider dimensions, with a variety of artistic styles and perspectives. We hope you’ll visit this group showing in your hometown and enjoy the works on display. They represent artists who are keeping the home fires burning in the city that helped form their aesthetics, now one of the key centers of art in the entire country, Fort Worth, Texas.
For more, visit https://fwhomefiresart.org.
Cass Hook (shown with his piece “Exotic Resolution 2018) is the organizer of Home Fires at FWCAC. He is a sculptor now living on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, works in bronze, clay, and mixed media and paints in pastel and acrylic. Hook works mostly in abstraction, but has done portrait commissions and many figure sculptures. Lee, Maxwell, Clarke, and Hook have known each other since elementary and middle school.