People don’t enter the arts to make a living; they do it for a lifestyle. Artists are willing to deal with sleepless nights, creative pressure, and inconsistent earnings for the right to create and express themselves “their” way.
Ashley Jepsen, director of the Baylor Dance Company, started Bolted + Brine as a way to connect Waco’s artists with the community at large.
“It can’t be this cycle of, ‘Art is really important, but we’re not going to give to it,’” Jepsen said.
Bolted + Brine, the pop-up art show Jepsen curates, will give citizens an opportunity to support artists across varying mediums. Eight artists will showcase their crafts, and music and dance numbers will be performed throughout the evening.
“There are so many people risking and putting their lives out there and spending money on things they don’t know they’re going to get back on,” Jepsen said.” There has to be practical ways for them to display, for them to sell work and be hired for things and in order for that to happen, we need events like Bolted + Brine.”
Rachel Walter is a painter from Austin. Her work often depicts images of the cosmos, using her paintings “as personal interpretations of the vast, seemingly unreachable universe in an intimate, experiential way.” She said she was immediately drawn in by Jepsen’s desire to connect artists from Dallas and Austin to the bourgeoning scene forming in Waco.
“It kind of reminded me of a Renaissance philosophy that brings people together to build a community around creative thinking and action,” Walter said. “So for me, it was an easy decision to get involved.”
Walter believes that Waco is a great town for artists because the community is hungry and growing without being exclusionary or hoity-toity.
“There’s a casual informality in Waco’s art scene that’s freeing,” Walter said. “It’s in this great time where you can interact with artists and makers from around the region in a high-energy but low-pressure situation.”
Sarah Martin, owner of Gather Waco and Kindred Event Studio, will curate a display of handcrafted items across a wide range of mediums: pottery from Black Oak Art, woodwork from Josh Morgan Creative, linen pieces from Leslie Medlin. Martin said she’s excited about artists from different fields exhibiting together, and calls Jepsen’s incorporation of dance “a missing piece.”
“I think it’s a more obscure piece that maybe not everyone gets the value of here, so that’s really cool to introduce that alongside painting and pottery, things that are more prevalent,” Martin said.
Gather’s slogan is “The Art of Hospitality,” a mindset which Martin employs daily as an event planner. It apparently rubbed off on Jepsen, who formerly worked for Martin at Kindred.
“There is an art to hosting people and making them feel welcomed, so I think it’s cool that [Jepsen] is seeing art in a variety of ways and is bringing that together,” Martin said.
Bolted + Brine takes place tonight at Apex Roasters, 324 S. 6th Street, from 7-10PM. A $5 cover change buys entry and hors d’oeuvres from Milo Biscuit Company, and attendees will be able to purchase artwork, dinner from Milo, and wine from David Mayfield Selections.
Jepsen said she planned Bolted + Brine because “Waco deserves it.”
“I think it was just this overwhelming feeling of, ‘I’m so proud of our city,’” Jepsen said. “This community is just so awesome. Let’s throw a party and celebrate what we see, and then empower artists."