Interview: Paint The Town Waco

Every Tuesday of the summer, Paint The Town Waco (or PTTW) holds a workshop for families in The Art Center’s studio. We love hosting this wonderful organization not only because of the fun they have, but also because of the heart behind their work.


In search of the vision of Paint The Town Waco, we had an interview with the founder, Sarah Weatherly, which has been edited for clarity.

TAC:  What was your original inspiration behind Paint The Town Waco, and what is your heart behind it?

Sarah Weatherly:  My desire is to connect the community to the arts. We all have a desire to be connected to a truly local, authentic art experience but sometimes feel “out of the loop.” Paint the Town Waco is committed to supporting, coordinating with, and promoting the arts as a whole in our community.

My heart is to bring art to the masses, the layperson, the creative scrapbooker who would love to learn to paint, the mom who doesn’t have time to sign up for a semester of private lessons, the couple who wants to connect on a new level, the child who is already showing crazy-talent in creative visual arts, ANYONE who could benefit from a moment away from their busy life to just “be” and create. We are all “little creators.” We take cues from nature, from life, and have a desire to recreate beauty. And it’s actually possible in a two and a half hour session with us!

TAC:  Do you have any favorite moments in the process of Paint The Town Waco?

Sarah Weatherly:  My very favorite moments are at the end of the night or session when someone is shocked and completely blown away at what they were able to PTTW16create! The sheer satisfaction in their voice or expression on their face brings me more joy than anything! I also love a commonly asked question, “You love your job, don’t you!?” This question alone tells me something is going right. When you love what you do, it shows. And I do. I’m passionate about art and I’m passionate about people.

TAC:  What do you believe the impact of PTTW has on the kids and families you work with? Why is doing art with them important?

Sarah Weatherly:       I believe PTTW is impacting individuals, families and children by providing them with a unique creative experience and encouraging them through the fun and exciting process in a way that it transcends beyond that day of painting. By creating and hanging your own work of art in your home, you are making a statement. You are telling those who view it that you value the arts. You are telling your children that the hard but rewarding way may be better.

PTTW3Yes, you could go to Marshall’s, and for the steal of $19.99, could take home a print on canvas to hang up in hallway that would do just fine… but this art was real. It was earned. It had a lot of hard work, love and thought put into it. It is personal. It was personalized. And it was enjoyed and celebrated with and by friends, family and strangers as it was created. You see, it’s about the experience. The creativity unfolding. We all love to see it happen, and that’s what keeps me going.

To learn more about Paint the Town Waco, visit their Facebook page or their website.

Nature Camp 2015

Nature Camp at The Art Center was a blast for everyone involved! The kids loved learning about how to illustrate the beauty of nature in different methods and mediums.

class12Deborah Reed-Propst led her campers in the multiple projects throughout the week, nurturing their love of nature and teaching them new ways to see the world.

Art11One of the projects included a nature box. The kids were given a bag on Wednesday afternoon and asked to fill it with objects from nature like arrowheads, leaves, shells, and flowers. When they came back on Thursday, they decorated a small box with their findings.


Not only was this project fun to do, but Mrs. Deborah encouraged the kids to keep searching for beautiful things from nature to collect and keep within the box. Through the nature box, the kids focused on their surroundings, and it gave them the opportunity to slow down and engage with the world around them on a deeper level.

Art5Another well-loved project consisted of creating pillows or purses out of fabric and painting unique scenes or designs on them. The kids loved this activity because they were able to put their own personality into an item that they could use in their daily lives. Our campers got very creative with their designs.

Art1A meaningful project the kids got to accomplish was their recreation of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” one of the most poignant expressions of the natural world in history. Through engaging with a painting of such extraordinary passion and brilliance, the campers learned how challenging, yet rewarding it can be to depict nature with integrity.


Throughout the week, our campers loved hanging out in the courtyard during snack time, working in the clay room, and learning in the studio. At the end of Nature Camp, these kids came away with new knowledge and a renewed passion for art, and we were honored to have them!

Animal Camp 2015

Our students loved Animal Camp this year! While learning new techniques in painting and drawing, the kids got to indulge their fascinations with animals and grow in creativity.

Painting + Drawing

Throughout the week, Deborah Reed-Propst, the camp’s instructor, taught her students how to draw a variety of animals with many different techniques.


The kids enjoyed acquiring new expertise in depicting animals. They painted pandas, giraffes, bald eagles, horses, cows, platypuses, koala bears,  tigers, and more!

HaleyPandaIn terms of artistic technique, our campers used oil pastels and baby oil, tempora paint, papier mâché, chalk pastels, and watercolor paint.


Cameron Park Zoo

The kids loved seeing the snake come in from Cameron Park Zoo. Being able to see one of the exotic animals they wanted to draw up close and personal was an awesome learning experience!

Cameron Park Zoo

Fuzzy Friends

Fuzzy Friends On Friday, Fuzzy Friends visited our campers to let them interact with some of their animals up for adoption and to educate them on how meaningful it is to adopt at-risk animals.


Since the kids had been playing with Stella, The Art Center dog, who was adopted from a shelter, learning from Fuzzy Friends was even more special.


The Instructor’s Thoughts

Upon reflecting at the end of Animal Camp, Deborah said she had a “wonderful group of kids” who were “very smart, creative and enthusiastic.” She believed that the combination of learning  different techniques of drawing animals along with getting to meet some real animals was very effective. In the end, she said, “I think the kids learned new techniques they’d never tried before, and I think they really enjoyed themselves.”


The Art Center thanks all the campers for their enthusiastic participation. We encourage you to look on our Facebook page for a picture of each camper with a piece of their art.  We are so impressed with all your hard work, and we can’t wait to see you at Animal Camp next year!

Kid’s Clay Camp 2015

At Kid’s Clay Camp at The Art Center, kids have plenty of opportunities to manifest their dreams of being sculptors. Throughout the week, they learn the basic skills of sculpting clay and build on them, exercising creativity along the way.


The campers start off the week learning how to sculpt on a flat surface, making their own tiles, as pictured above. Using sea shells and pasta, they learn different ways to alter the surface of the clay. As they master the basics, they go on to three dimensional objects, such as sculptures of fish, pinch pots, and other functional objects. They learn how to fire pottery in a kiln, and then they paint their work and fire it again.

Week 2 10

At the end of the week, our campers have learned so much about how to be sculptors. Their teacher, Emily Martinka, loves seeing how the students put their own creative spins on the projects they create. We encourage you to sign up your child for Kid’s Clay Camp today!