Art and passion converged at the Take 190 West Arts Festival at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Saturday as more than 3,000 people found amazing works and inspiration at every step.

Now in its eighth year, the festival featured artists, sculptors and authors from around the area, state and country.

“This is by far the best festival we’ve had in quality and quantity,” said Connie Kuehl, director of the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and Visitors Bureau. “Our festival has gained a reputation attracting artists from as far away as Michigan and South Carolina,”

Urban artist and muralist Anat Ronen came from Houston to paint a portrait of Oveta Culp Hobby, famed Killeen native, on a large panel, 9 feet by 7 feet, made from used wooden doors. This was her second festival.

It has a little of everything, she said.

“There is a lot here to see and experience, books, art and craft makers, so you can sample so much at one time,” Ronen said.

The free event filled the main ballroom and hallways with exhibits, and smaller rooms offered seminars, while a tent outside sheltered a two-day sculpting competition. Fifteen sculptors each carved a block of limestone.

“It’s great, dusty fun to hang out with other sculptors working at what we love to do,” said Cody Vance, of San Antonio, who participated in the contest for the third year.

Local author Jay Simone, 12, published her first book when she was 10. She was busy autographing copies of her books, including her third, self-published novel, “The Glossy Girls,” for new fans.

“Ideas just come to me, and I love creating stories about characters that people care about,” Simone said.

One of the main attractions was the 13th annual Killeen ISD Visual Art Show, which displayed student work from area schools, including Harker Heights High School, Union Grove Middle School and Eastern Hills Middle School, along with all the other Killeen ISD high schools and middle schools, and Peebles Elementary School in Killeen.

Kayla Haddon, 13, had two abstract pieces on display, but another art competition kept her from the festival. Her mother, Sarah Haddon, was on hand to admire her oldest daughter’s artwork and that of other students.

“This is our first time here, and I’m so impressed with all the art done by the students,” said Haddon.

Nolanville artist Norm Cole, a Killeen Civic Art Guild member, works in five media, one of which is wood burning.

He worked on an image of an owl, burning it into a piece of Basswood. Cole enjoys seeing all the talented artists, especially the children’s artwork.

“I walk around to get inspired from talking with other artists, so we all learn from each other, and having so many artists in one place at the festival is wonderful,” Cole said.

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