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HER | Artist and arts community draw audiences downtown

by Aaron Brand | September 6, 2021 at 11:33 p.m. | Updated September 6, 2021 at 11:33 p.m.
Local artist Judy Jones paints a piece during the Downtown Live event in May.

For local artist Judy Jones, life provides plenty of "Living Inspiration," so it's not surprising that's what she named her exhibit that popped up recently at a downtown Texarkana gallery.

She's been busy lately. "I've been painting more regularly," she said recently. If you might be wondering where she's been, she took a break following the passing of her husband but has now set up a room in her home as a studio.

The floor's already damaged, which means she's getting the work done.

"I have been working. I've not slowed down much. I have a variety of things I've done," Judy said. "I've done small pieces, large pieces. Mostly I've worked in acrylic, which is what I call my looser medium."

She's also pulled out her pastels again, the medium that started her off on her art years.

She's also doing what she describes as her looser portraiture, rendered in acrylic with a brush. Of this, she said, "Not quite as uptight as the pastel work is."

Judy hasn't been working on much abstract work lately. There's clear subject matter in her works, such as dancing and ballet, even a critter most fowl.

At the exhibit in late August at Joseph Raymond Fine Art, 214 E. Broad St., one of her paintings was about a subject that took a curious interest in her.

"I've got a gorilla that I met and have a story about that's just an incredible story for me personally," she said. "That was at the Fort Worth Zoo."

Taking care of a grandchild at the zoo, she looked around to see someone gazing at them both. "This gorilla was watching me from a distance," Judy recalled. This kept on, and then she waved. "And he waved at me."

It's a special painting to her.

"I hope what my art show does for people is just gives them something different, a little variety, and just something maybe to spark somebody's interest in what I've got," Judy said.

She painted at a Downtown Live event in May, an indicator that more and more downtown is the place to be in the art community.

It started on a Friday along Broad Street and spread into the entertainment district.

Artists of all sorts create paintings, pottery, drawings and more right on the sidewalks or inside galleries.

"One thing that's been so neat about all of this is just the emerging of artists that we weren't aware of, that we are learning about that are right in our community," said Ina McDowell, Executive Director of Main Street Texarkana. "There's just so much talent, and I'm excited that we can focus on the talent that we have."

In the future, Ina hopes Downtown Live will be able to fill up all of Broad Street.

"The beauty of it is is there will be new artists, we hope, each time," she said. "People will want to return. You're not going to see the same artists every single time."

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