Local artists keeping the inspiration flowing in Buda

By Megan Wehring

Businesses took a massive hit when the coronavirus pandemic came knocking at their doors.

Running any business comes with challenges. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced a local art center to close six weeks after opening, it’s even worse.

With such a heaviness in the world right now, Inspired Minds co-owners Sinead Whiteside and Susan Guerra encourage the community to use creativity to escape the uncertainty.

“Art is really important,” Whiteside said. “It’s a great way for kids to communicate, express themselves, get their emotions out and have a voice where words just don’t work.”

In-person classes are gradually starting to be added to the calendar. Whiteside said they have implemented several new guidelines to keep every person safe.

“We have limited the class sizes in order to position the student workspaces six feet apart,” Whiteside said. “When staff and students arrive each day, we greet them outside and conduct temperature checks. Our campers take regular hand washing and hand sanitizing breaks. Each student uses their own personal set of art supplies. Instructors of teen and adult classes may require their students to wear masks.”

Despite the many challenges they have faced, Whiteside and Guerra are encouraged by the positive feedback from the children and parents. A five-year-old child, who attended one of the in-person camps, told her parent: “Mommy, why didn’t you tell me that camp was going to be so fun?”

Parents ware also grateful for the children to have a level of independence with their projects.

Whiteside said she enjoys watching the passion and dedication in the teen intensive classes.

“Older students have been loving the Teen Art Intensives,” Whiteside said. “It’s been refreshing to peek into the classes, both online and in-person, and see everyone so engaged in the creative process, forming friendships, having fun conversations, and laughing together.”

Nothing is considered to be ‘normal’ anymore. Whiteside and Guerra continue to host events as possible according to health and safety guidelines. A hand sanitizing station, complimentary disposable surgical masks and social distancing are promoted throughout.

Inspired Minds will be hosting the first annual Buda Plein Air Festival on July 18. on Main Street in downtown Buda from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The morning will be filled with live art and music all outdoors. Six-feet social distancing will be promoted by using markers around the artists. Artwork created at the festival will be critiqued by a panel of judges.

The winning artists will have a display for purchase in the Inspired Minds Gallery on Aug. 15.

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