Neita Fran Ward is on a mission. She is determined to bring attention to artists who live in East Texas.
Her Valerosa Designs and Gallery in the Bergfeld Center in Tyler displays dozens of works by East Texans. As a host of the "Art Connection of East Texas" radio show that airs Saturday morning on KTBB radio, she interviews artists and others who contribute to the arts culture.
Neita Fran is one of the organizers of "The Beauty of Art and Medicine" a rotating exhibit in Tyler Junior College's Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Building. The exhibit explores the role of art in helping people reduce stress and increase positive emotions, which in turn can improve health.
She is involved in the ongoing Partnership Exhibit on view in the Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas at Tyler.
The exhibit "brings our community together to elevate and promote health, wellness, creativity and inspiration," says information from the college.
Neita Fran recently invited me to Valerosa gallery to meet her partners, Terry Fowler and Don Bristow and to tell me more about the artists who have art there.
Rosemary Swann of Tyler is one of those artists. You can learn more about her background and motivation in the March/April issue of Lifestyles.
In Tyler, the Gold Leaf Gallery, Gallery Main Street and Tyler Museum of Art, also showcase art by East Texans.
Located in the French Quarter in Tyler, the Gold Leaf Gallery boasts of having the largest collection of fine art in Tyler. The gallery represents several East Texans who work in a wide range of genres.
Both Valerosa and Gold Leaf Gallery have information on their websites about the artists they represent.
The city-owned Main Street Gallery, 111 E. Erwin St. on the downtown square, is the home to juried exhibitions featuring the work of East Texas artists. The gallery hosts a new show about every two months. New artists are encouraged to submit work for consideration.
The Tyler Museum of Art recently organized and hosted a one-woman show of art by Abhi Ghuge of Tyler. Its permanent collection includes works by East Texans.
Go to a local gallery or museum. Look around. Ask questions about the artists.
You'll be surprised what you discover.