The Arts: Best little ARThouse in Texas

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By Elizabeth Brannon

ARThouse is a veritable treasure trove here in Flower Mound, Highland Village and Southlake.  It’s like the community art center for our area, offering art to the public and creative opportunities for all levels of artists.

ARThouse is owned and operated by Double Oak artists Anita and Marty Robbins. These two artists, partners and business people are the multi-talented, community-minded leaders of this unique business that fills a need here in Flower Mound and the surrounding area.  Flower Mound has a number of mega-talented artists and art students.  In a normal year, more than 400 students are part of classes and opportunities at ARThouse.

ARThouse boasts a gallery at each location and has an online gallery as well.  Currently, there are works from 50+ local artists on display at the gallery in north Flower Mound and more than 100 local artists who have works displayed online at sahgallery.com.  Artists can display and sell their works through ARThouse.

ARThouse offers classes, camps, receptions, shows (which can feature professional as well as student artists), mobile opportunities, parades, classes for special needs adults (where classes offer therapy as well as a sense of accomplishment.  Their classes provide an opportunity to create instead of just view art), canvas and acrylic paint kits, online classes, long distance learning, and adult and student art classes.  All of the 14 faculty of ARThouse, including Anita and Marty, are degreed.  The artists and faculty work in different mediums, including drawing, painting, sculpting, raku and wearable art, just to name a few.

Anita is an award-winning artist, known for her highly textural renditions of nature that combine sculpture and painting. Her work is generous in color, paint and texture. Dynamic lighting and the illusion of 3-D are distinctive qualities of her work. She has illustrated eight book covers, was selected to provide the Bird of Paradise art work for the Hawaii phone book, and her commissioned art of the Great Wolf Lodge hangs in their corporate office.  Anita has exhibited in number of galleries and private collections.

Marty is the current/new president of the Cross Timbers Artists Guild.  Locals are probably familiar with the Studio Tour that happens each November.  Under Marty’s leadership, the Cross Timbers Artists Guild wants to offer observational classes as well as participatory classes.  The Guild may support a guest artist in the future as well as the member artists.  The group is looking to give the public more exposure to the artists and their work, which makes Marty an ideal leader.  Marty’s talents include photography, woodworking, prop artist, fused glass, composition, color choice and placement, remodeling, and architectural design.

How ARThouse is addressing COVID-19 concerns:

All surfaces are wiped down with disinfectant and sprayed and fogged, protecting teachers and students. This has been an on-going practice at ARThouse, long before the COVID-19 concerns.

Face masks are available and both masks and bandanas are used.

ARThouse is following the CDC guidelines for safe distancing and safe practices in all three of their locations.

Each student has a table/seated 6 feet apart and all are encouraged to wash their hands often.

Camps

Because of CDC guidelines, 12 children can participate.  Camps are being offered at the three ARThouse facilities, and currently are targeted for children of essential workers, first responders and healthcare workers.  The camp fee includes supplies and a snack.  From 9 to 4 the camps are art teacher led.   Ages of participants need to be between 5 and 15 years.  Child care is provided from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Students can interact virtually via Skype, for those who do not participate in the live classes.

Career Development

In additional to being practicing artists, Anita and Marty want to nurture local artists and perhaps provide a scholarship to a future artist.  Studio work is just a fraction of the work artists actually do. There are thousands of jobs and careers for artists. Marty and Anita encourage the artists with unique talents to develop rewarding careers as artists.  A number of their students have become professional artists.

It’s always a good time to support artists and send students to ARThouse for classes, either live or virtual.  60% of the ARThouse costs are payroll for the teachers, all of whom they are trying to retain. Teachers are paid and receive employee benefits.  Revenue to operate ARThouse comes from student fees, donations and grants.  ARThouse courses, classes and camps are great for accomplished artists as well as student artists.

ARThouse will celebrate its 20 birthday on Sept. 26, 2020, and we can all look forward to a birthday bash at that time.    If you’re not familiar with ARThouse, now is a great time to become acquainted with ARThouse and partake of their rich array of offerings.  Learn more at studioarthouse.com.

Art thoughts:

“Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” – Stephen Sondheim

Elizabeth Brannon serves on the Flower Mound Cultural Arts Commission.

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