First Artisan Art Walk to showcase area’s hidden talent

Joyce Miller saw a void in the Permian Basin.

Now, local artists are working to fill booths, piece together their materials and prop up their creations — all in order to fill it.

The first Artisan Art Walk event in Odessa is set for the weekend of April 7 at Parks Legado Town Center.

Miller, a longtime area director of creative arts, said she and the event’s other board members put together the art walk to offer a venue for local artists to sell and showcase their work, and help foster a bond between area students and seasoned artists, in new ways for the Permian Basin art scene.

“Hopefully, we’re going to make a real big impact, because this is a place where people can come, where we can really showcase those artists,” Miller said over the phone March 19, in the weeks leading up to the event.

“It’s not like a gallery, where there’s not as many people that can participate. This was open to anyone who wanted to come in.”

Just less than three weeks before the event, Miller said organizers had sold all their booths to exhibitors except one.

“It’s been a good response,” she said.

The art walk is set to open from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 7, then from noon to 6 p.m. April 8, as perusers have the chance to appreciate art or buy pieces, or take in demonstration by experts, while music and food bring a festival atmosphere, Miller said.

The event kicks off with a closed juried show on that Friday before the art walk opens to the public that Saturday morning.

Miller served as the executive director of creative arts for the annual Permian Basin Fair and Exposition for more than 10 years. She has also served as a board director for the Texas Association for Fairs and Events for six years.

While participating there at the state level, Miller went through a curriculum that challenged her to write a business plan for a new event that would take place in her area.

Soon enough, though, Miller thought the Permian Basin’s art scene could benefit if she managed to turn the theoretical into a reality, and she and others on the art walk’s board have worked to do just that.

Miller said the event is partnering with ECISD, Odessa College and UTPB to bring students to observe and connect with area artists.

“Students that are studying the arts are going to have the opportunity to develop relationships, to be mentored by seasoned artists,” she said. “There’s often times a disconnect between academia and the real world,” she laughed, “and we’re hoping by having seasoned artists, that that’s going to help these students out a lot.

“We’ve really made an effort to get out into the community, and talk to the educators in all of those areas, and having them come out,” she added.

The event is accepting artists’ works in mediums from drawing and painting to woodwork and sculpting, with plenty in between.

Miller said experts in the arts will be putting on demonstrations both Saturday and Sunday, for attendees interested.

“Hopefully people that are attending can go in and watch the experts and also learn who they might be able to take some classes from,” she said.

Moreover, Miller said she hopes that local artists can grow, and grow their profile, in an open-to-all event a bit unlike anything else going regularly in the Permian Basin.

“There are a lot of fabulous artists that nobody has any idea that they’re even an artist,” she said.