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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Downtown art fair showcases community talent

The Downtown Bryan Association, in conjunction with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley, hosted the fifth-annual Downtown Street and Art Fair Saturday. People of all ages gathered to experience the local culture of Bryan by viewing diverse art exhibited by local artists.
Amanda Reynolds, programs and event manager for the Downtown Bryan Association, said the purpose of the fair was not only to showcase the artists’ work, but showcase Downtown Bryan itself.
“Our goal is to give people an experience to see the art and bring it home,” Reynolds said. “And of course to see the beautiful downtown Bryan.”
Reynolds said the fair was juried, which meant the artists had to submit an application that was reviewed and selected by a panel. Despite a uniform process, Reynolds said that there was a lot of diversity among the artists.
“They are all different ages and from all over the state, Reynolds said. “We have people that are local, a person from Oklahoma and a person from El Paso. We have a lot of varied artists who come to town for the Art Fair.”
The Bryan-College Station community showed its support for diversity, said Mason Gossett, senior accounting major. Gossett showcased his company Lymbo Clothing which endorses artists and clothing printed in Austin. Gossett said he was surprised by how little attention paid to his being an Austinite.
“Some people have been saying ‘Love from Austin? No way!’ But not very many,” Gossett said. “Everyone is so cool. People I would never have imagined would be into our stuff have come up and said they enjoyed it.”
Second-time participant Hailey Herrera, Class of 2004 has also benefited from the support of the Bryan-College station community. Herrera said after moving to Texas from South Korea, she found her passion for watercolors in a class offered by the city of College Station. After winning best in show in an art competition, Herrera said opportunities to show her art started rolling in.
“I never would have imagined that I would become a professional artist,” Herrera said. “In 2010 I joined the Brazos Valley Art League, but until that time I wasn’t sure I would become a professional artist. But little by little, galleries and art shops contacted me and wanted to show my stuff.”
After Herrera joined the Brazos Valley Art League she participated in Texas Reds, a steak and grape festival held in historic downtown Bryan. Herrera said her experience at Texas Reds boosted her confidence and led her to participate in the Downtown Street and Art Fair.
“I was very successful the previous year at Texas Reds, so I was more willing to come and show my art on the street,” Herrera said. “Before I was not very comfortable doing so. When I joined the fair last year, the downtown association and art council put me in a really good spot. I was more successful there than I was at Texas Reds.”
Herrera said her favorite part about showcasing her work at the Downtown Street and Art Fair is getting to discuss her art with new people.
“I look forward to chatting with the people that come to my booth,” Herrera said. “I like to get to know people and see what they like. It’s a great opportunity to meet people.”
Yanelly Guerrero, junior Spanish major, stumbled upon the Art Fair after eating lunch downtown. Guerrero said while her experience was favorable, it reminded her how small the realm of college life really is.
“The Art Fair exposes people to a lot of different ethnicities and styles of art,” Guerrero said. “It shows many different points of view. It gives me a homey feeling and it reminds college students there’s a world outside of college.”
Five-time participant J. Vincent Scarpace, who attended A&M for graduate school from 2004-2006, painted the mural in The Village Cafe. Scarpace said the people and the local art are what keep him coming back year after year. His need for artistic experimentation, Scarpace said, has fueled his career as an artist.
“The fascination and passion for experimentation is a source of inspiration for me,” Sparpace said. “I was told by an old mentor that I needed to find a theme and stick with it, so I chose fish. I’ve made 7,000 paintings in the last 20 years. It’s a creative outlet for me – it keeps me healthy.”
In addition to showcasing local artists, Reynolds said the fair offered live music and activities for children to enjoy.
“For kids there’s face painting, balloons, bounce house and a place to make your own art where they can take home their projects,” Reynolds said.
Katie Standefer, junior Spanish and bilingual education double major, said her favorite part of the fair was the live music, which she felt gave downtown a particular atmosphere.
“It makes it a friendlier environment,” Standefer said. “It wakes people up and makes it more alive.”
This year the Downtown Street and Art Fair added a movie screening to the list of activities. Reynolds said after guests had visited the fair and the local shops, they could wind down by watching “Singing in the Rain” in the nostalgic outdoor theater.
“The Palace Theater has been around forever, but the roof went into disrepair and so it got turned into an outdoor theater. A lot of people went there when they were younger, so it gives them an opportunity to see it in the same place but a bit different of an environment.”
Standefer said her experience at the fair should keep her looking forward to next year.
“I would love to come again,” Standefer said.

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