I met Lynda Coleman back in 2008 when I did the first story on her. I wanted to catch up with her work with children and art through her company Art From the Heart.
Coleman is an Austinite born and raised. She attended Pecan Springs Elementary and Blanton Elementary growing up. Her early memory of beginning her art journey happened at Pecan Springs. She was tickled because her teacher during art time wanted to know what the other students were doing gathering around her. She picked up Coleman’s art piece and asked, “did you trace this?” There was a look of being dumbfounded because there was not anything to trace let alone her second question, “did you draw this?” She could not understand that her art piece came from her mind and expression. This was a great moment. A changing moment. As she moves forward, she could see the difference between her drawing and others and realize this is what she was supposed to do. And her art life and mission started. While in school, she entered an art contest and won and she made the Pecan Springs newspaper.
Art From the Heart started with the mission of creating art and craft workshops to allow children to just create. For Coleman, the first workshop began during Vacation Bible School in 1996. It so happens the kids were waiting and to keep them busy she pulled out art supplies and the children started coloring and painting really enjoying themselves. The children did not want to leave the classroom. In 2018, she held the 15th Anniversary conference because she wanted to get back to the root of why she was doing her Art From the Heart project. She provided the tools they needed to create and take their time to paint what they wanted. The children were encouraged to color outside the lines! They worked hard even through lunch because the next day, their work would be a part of a Live Auction.
The live auction was a success. They were told how to sell their work and speak with possible buyers. The parents were shocked to see their child had a piece of their art being sold and they made money. They realized their child was gifted and talented. The bidding wars made the children’s day even more exciting. This was just the beginning for the children and their parents. Coleman wanted to keep the momentum going. With that seed being planted, their art lead them to an awesome invitation. Coleman received an invite to bring the young artist to visit USAA design studio. The group felt they were “moving up like The Jeffersons.” They went from the silent auction to the design studio program. The kids got to see and hear stories of how the designers made their art talent successful. It also showed art is an option. Many of the parents and young artists had not been to the West Side of Austin.
There is another way, which is big for the young artist, that Coleman opened the door. We are all familiar with the Pecan Street Festival. Because of Colemans’ networking, the young artist got a booth at Pecan Street Festival. The parents and the artist worked 2-hour shifts to sell their art. Using the education they received from Coleman and the art mentors from the General Artist Collective XYZ, they knew how to sell to a much larger audience and demographic. Again, they made money on their art pieces and learn how to sell them to people. Telling the story of why they created that piece works well when they are selling.
Let me double back for a minute about how Coleman used her networking skills to get the young artist This is how the door was open. It was initially a conversation asking if they had a mentor program where the artist could learn and participate in the festival. They did not have a program but asked if she wanted to do the festival. That’s how it all started. Since that time she met one of the board members who invited her and the young artist to be a part of the future Pecan Festival. You have to be ready for every opportunity that is presented to you.
Lynda Coleman is an inspiration to many people, especially young artists. Her workshops are known around town and it’s a place for artists to just create nothing more. The young artist she has touched now believe in their own creativity and their ability to share their work with others. Their art opened doors and they were ready for all the opportunities that have come their way. Coleman’s Art from the Heart is a true blessing to our community.
If you are interested in following Lynda Coleman or learning more about Art From The Heart, you can go here:
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Lynda Coleman’s Art from the Heart