By CJ Vetter
BUDA – Have you ever wanted to own an authentic piece of Texas art? If so, the Inspired Minds Art Center is hosting an online art auction to help raise funds for future programs. The collection, priced at approximately $22.00, was donated by Buda resident Susan Amster, a retired art teacher.
The collection consists of works of art collected and painted over the decades by Susan and her sister Stephanie, with pieces of almost every genre, from landscapes to abstracts. The collection includes works by prolific artists like Paul Kelpe, Harold Gregor and Jerry Seagle. Although Stephanie passed away in 2021, her memory lives on through the works she and Susan worked on. In memory of her, their works are displayed together on her own wall separate from the exhibition.
“My overall goal is for people in the future to have a wonderful life through the experience of art like my sister and I had,” Susan said. “Everyone should have art and I think what they’ve done here is a very physical manifestation of that.”
Susan heard about the Art Center through a chance stop during a bike ride down Main Street. She and an acquaintance stopped by and decided to visit, where she met the staff. Later, thanks to her invitation, co-founders Sinead Whiteside and Susan Guerra visited her at her home and quickly became close. That’s when Susan thought maybe she could use some of her collection to help support the community.
“So she invited Susan Guerra and me and her collection at her house is just outstanding. She had so much art,” Whiteside said. “Supporting arts education in this community is a way for her, Susan and her sister to create a legacy that will endure and do good.”
Also at the event, Jessica Mason was officially cast as artistic director. Previously, she assisted Susan in selecting and transporting the art collection for the auction and helped prepare the center for the auction. She will now hold a permanent position at the art center.
“I worked on it for a few months with Susan, walking into her house, visiting her artist friends on the walls, talking about art all day, dealing with art in her garage, measuring, identifying the medium, guessing the artists by you know, some scribbles and all that,” Mason said.
In addition to the auction, Whiteside also helped organize a celebration for Susan and Stephanie; the twin sisters were born on Earth Day, which makes the occasion even more special. Food and drinks were provided in addition to a live cello performance. The center even bought cakes for the sisters in honor of their birthday.
“Everyone who buys a piece is helping support arts education in our community and the effects are lasting,” Whiteside said. “This art center has led to so many magical things.”
This donation will go a long way in helping the arts center grow and increase its ability to not only help the community cultivate an active arts scene, but also provide scholarships to young artists who wish to further their education. It will also help the art center to be more independent and not dependent on investments from the city of Buda.
“I heard Susan speak to the city council and was very moved by a donation of this size,” said city council member Evan Ture. “There is a whole artistic program throughout the city. We’re looking for this place to be a part and an anchor for that and so there’s an investment. We absolutely want this place to stand on its own.
Bidding for the auction will remain open until June 24 and will be held at www.32auctions.com/AmsterArt. Donations are also accepted on this link for those wishing to help fund the institute. For more information on funded programs, you can visit Inspiredminds.art.