Since her peers often use their skills to illustrate and design books, Richmond artist Nina Struthers is setting the stage for a public event that will offer them a chance to showcase their book illustrations or writings.
The event, aptly titled The Book Signing & Meet and Greet, will feature more than a dozen creators whose works span multiple topics.
“We want the community to know that there are many talented and creative authors and illustrators here in Fort Bend County and [the surrounding] region,” said Struthers, who is also the Fort Bend Art Center’s director of marketing.
• Nina Struthers of Richmond has published 12 coloring books, including one that illustrates…
The book signing is scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Fort Bend Art Center (2012 Ave. G in Rosenberg) and coincides with Small Business Saturday, which Struthers says was intentional.
“A lot of artists usually have their own businesses,” Struthers said, explaining that holding the book signing on Small Business Saturdays will help local artists promote or sell their work.
As the Center’s Marketing Director and a member of the Art League Fort Bend, Struthers is committed to bringing recognition to Fort Bend artists and encouraging the community to support the talents of established and aspiring creators.
In September, the art center held its Art and Antiques Walk during the 5th Annual Ride to Rosenberg Auto Show.
Although she said the art walk seemed a bit overshadowed by the car show, she wasn’t disappointed as the atmosphere was energetic and participating artists had the chance to showcase paintings, jewelry , ink art and fused glass.
“An artist did summaries with kids, which was great fun for the kids,” Struthers said. “Between the car show and the art, there was a big crowd and a lot of color and music.”
The upcoming Book Signing event, however, focuses on artists who also thrive in writing or illustrating books. On November 26, the Fort Bend Art Center in Rosenberg will open as usual, but this time each author will have a table with most of them displaying their books for sale, which they will, of course, sign. Coffee and refreshments will also be available.
Featured artists include Struthers, Jennifer Frnka, Cheryl Pavlas Harris, Denise Adams, Russell Autrey, Elizabeth Marie, Sharon Collins, Terry Golden, Joy Saxton, Julie Conner, Denise Bossarte, Linda Pietz, George Becket and Nanette Stein.
“If you like books, as well as children’s books, we’ll have a wonderful assortment available,” Struthers said.
FIVE YEARS AND COUNTING
The Book Signing event isn’t the only benefit of November or the art center – this month marks the fifth year that the center has been operational.
The Fort Bend Art Center, which opened in 2017, provides members of the Art League Of Fort Bend with considerable space to study and exhibit their works. Established in 1957, the Art League is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating an appreciation for the arts and fostering artistic development.
Before the art center opened, the league used a smaller gallery on Third Street in Rosenberg.
Today, league artists can exhibit their works — from paintings, photographs, jewelry, and encaustic art to printmaking, drawing, and textile art — in the 6,000-square-foot Fort Bend Art Center, which opens 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
In addition to the art gallery, the center offers on-site artists’ studios and art and music lessons. It also includes a gift shop.
Struthers said the gallery’s exhibits changed quarterly and most of the artwork was for sale. Proceeds from sales, including those from the gift shop, support artists and the Art League of Fort Bend.
Since opening its doors, membership “has blossomed – even with [the] covid [pandemic]said Struthers, adding that arts education, community outreach and exhibitions are the main avenues the league is taking to increase local artistic development.
A recent example is Fulshear artist Eugenia Garcia, who volunteers at Fort Bend Hope, an education-focused nonprofit in Rosenberg. With her mentorship and help, students who attend the nonprofit have created the Hope Tree painting at the facility. “I love seeing the kids light up,” she told the Herald when asked what she loved most about teaching art at Fort Bend Hope. “It’s fun to watch them grow and kind of give back.”
Works by other local artists are also on display at Attack Poverty, Fort Bend Museum, Pecan Grove Country Club and Sugar Land Airport.
“It’s a great opportunity to really dig into the community,” Struthers enthused. “Each venue changes our art approximately every three to four months. When we change, an interested artist will be several works of art that will pass in front of a jury [and] they will be notified if their art has been accepted.
Just last month, the league held its LSAG-judged Open Art Show in the fall of 2022 and is currently gearing up for a workshop in February. This four-day workshop will be led by nationally acclaimed artist Joan Fullerton, whose works have been exhibited in galleries, juried shows and museums since the early 1970s. She also leads national and international workshops watercolor, oil, acrylic and mixed media collage.
Her next workshop – “Intuitive Exploration with Acrylic and Collage” – is scheduled for February 20-23.
Registration is open for the workshop on the Art League of Fort Bend website artleaguefortbend.org.
TO TAKE OFF
Given the impact of the Fort Bend Art Center and the growth in community engagement and art league membership, Struthers said reaching the five-year milestone was rewarding.
She also notes that because the league offers family memberships, “there has been an increase in the number of young people visiting [the] center and enter [the] two Lone Star Art Guild competitions held each year.
“Things really took off,” she said.
“We have waited a long time for the opportunity to have a building so that we can provide artistic opportunities for artists and artists who teach art – we have around 30 gallery artists who regularly exhibit at the centre.
The Fort Bend Art Center “has really added to the Rosenberg community,” she added. “The center has become more like a family where we encourage each other, support and welcome new artists and their creations.