Winter-weary art lovers strolled through the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Saturday finding inspiration in every step at the Take 190 West Arts Festival.
Now in its sixth year, the two-day festival featured works from 20 artists, 11 sculptors and 31 authors.
“The community is growing, and this is a great way to let the public know they can buy great art in Killeen,” said Connie Kuehl, director of the Killeen Civic and Conference Center and Visitors Bureau.
Tables lined the hallway with authors displaying their books and CDs on a wide range of topics including a biography of Oscar-winning actor Christian Bale, children’s stories and self-help books for women.
Author Lillian Hunter, attending for the first time, was impressed with the festival’s professional organization and helpful staff.
“It’s very well done and so easy for people to move around and see everything,” she said.
Jazmine L. Swanson, promoting her third novel “Avalon II,” said she enjoys expressing herself through writing. It was her fourth year at the festival.
“It’s amazing to have the writers together talking about their works and getting different perspectives on writing,” Swanson said.
Salado artist Aaron Gist didn’t mind setting up his mobile workshop to give free aluminum-casting demonstrations.
“This is a great show, and I really enjoy coming back every year,” he said.
Three years ago, the festival added a sculpture competition for professional and novice artists. In a large tent outside the conference center, 11 sculptors busily carved pieces of limestone for the contest.
Brooke Compson, an art teacher at Pearce Middle School in Austin, worked on a bird statue.
“I’m so impressed with the festival and the talent in the community,” she said. “Having kids and professional artists in one place is wonderful.”
Combined with the art festival was the 11th annual KISD Visual Art Show. Killeen Independent School District students from 17 schools and the career center displayed about 3,000 pieces of art.
“It is a one-stop experience for parents and the community to see the work that happens on a daily basis in the schools,” said Shelia Donahue, Killeen ISD fine arts director.
“This show has evolved, and gotten better and better each year.”
Awestruck parents Richard and Donna Glenn couldn’t believe the artistic talent on display.
“It’s amazing to have so many different types of mediums,” said Donna Glenn, while her husband praised the schools for promoting creativity.
“I didn’t know colored pencils could look so good in drawings,” he said.
Bridget Browning, 13, a seventh-grader at Patterson Middle School, displayed her work at the art show. She wants to be a graphic artist when she gets older.
“It doesn’t matter what other people think; it’s your artwork and your own style,” she said.