A longtime staple of The Woodlands art community, ArtFeel, is back with a new venue — Market Street — after a more than six-month hiatus that followed the closure of Crush Wine Bar, which had previously hosted the once-a-month gathering of free spirits, dancers, poets and others in the community.

In a press release, officials with The Woodlands Arts Council as well as ArtFeel stalwart Nickole Kerner Bobley announced the evenings of fun and whimsy are returning Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. in the newly remodeled Central Park Stage inside the Market Street shopping district. The event, which will now be put on every three months instead of monthly as it had been in the past, is part of the art council’s “Because Art Matters” programming. Instead of once a month, the event will now be quarterly.

Relocating the event to Market Street gives the event more space and fresh air, while also providing easy access to local restaurants and bars where attendees can eat and enjoy themselves before or after one of the ArtFeel shows. Attendees can bring blankets and picnic baskets to the venue as long as guidelines are followed.

Noemi Gonzales, marketing director at Market Street, said in a release that the shopping destination is donating the venue, lighting and audio for the shows while Market Street tenants The Sarah Kelly Music School and Sweekman Artists have officially partnered with ArtFeel to provide musical talent for the quarterly variety show.

“Market Street is thrilled to support the arts in The Woodlands community while bolstering support for SKMS/SA,” Gonzales said. “Guests are invited to bring blankets, lawn chairs, a picnic and/or enjoy the myriad dining options available before or after the show.”

Bobley said ArtFeel was popular with locals, especially those in the creative arts community such as theater, visual arts, dance and acting was because they desired a common space to meet and socialize with others that shared their life views and ideas of fun. During the several hour events, attendees would read poetry, do spoken word, perform modern dance and also merely discuss how art makes them feel.

“I think it’s popular, because it’s real and raw — the opposite of establishing a look/a brand on social media — people share personal experience and express themselves freely at ArtFeel. I think there is a comfort in hearing stories that are universal — relatable to us all, but told through a different lens so you get a new perspective,” Bobley said. “I think it’s really interesting that during such a politically polarizing time in our country, art, which historically often provides controversy, serves as a unifying force at ArtFeel. I really love that about the show. ArtFeel brings people together.”

Bobley also said that the audience for the event has grown considerably and organizers are grateful to all the “ArtFeelers” who, “brave the stage and make the show what it is — a place for creative expression using public art as a prompt. The people who share on stage at ArtFeel are the heart of the show.”

The new version of ArtFeel has many similarities to its former version: the event is always free and open to the public to people of all ages. Local public art will be spotlighted at each event, with the initial scuplture being Gaston Carrio’s “Unmasked Symbiosis” which sits in Hughes Landing across from Restaurant Row facing Lake Woodlands.

“On the ArtFeel stage, we blow up a photograph of the sculpture we’re celebrating onto poster board and place it on an easel and provide a microphone and stage time for anyone from the audience to brave the stage and share how the artwork makes them feel — their ArtFeel,” Bobley added. “I host the show and ask people in the audience ‘who would like to share how this art makes them feel?” People raise their hands and I call on them for their turn.”

As in past events, Bobley said attendees brave enough to grace the stage do singing, dancing, play instruments or tell stories. Others choose to wear clothing as a sort of fashion ode to the art, do a show-and-tell their personal artworks or sentimental objects and some say just one word — the emotion the art has evoked in them.

The Oct. 23 event will feature Sweekeman Artists and Sarah Kelly School of Music.

Bobley said she and others are excited to have ArtFeel find a new home in Market Street, and officials hope to reach new people of all ages and, “inspire them to engage with the vast collection of public art in The Woodlands.”

“We drive past myriad public art works by renowned international artists each day in our community. We may look at them as we drive by, but do we really see it,” she said. “Once you start really noticing public art, you can never not notice it — and that’s a gift you give to yourself — to ponder an art work and discover what it transports you to in your mind as you contemplate it. And sometimes an art work does absolutely nothing for someone — and we talk about that too.”


Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/woodlands/news/article/ArtFeel-has-new-home-at-Market-Street-in-Woodlands-14493416.php