Artwork by Rebecca James
By Andrew Orozco
Art Tooth will hold the “Head of the Class” showcase featuring local K-12 art instructors’ works at Art7 Gallery from July 14 through Aug. 4. Proceeds go directly to the artists, excepting those used to purchase supplies for FWISD classrooms.
Art Tooth member Ariel Davis described the collective as “an artist-run hybrid gallery popup project and artist resource.”
Since the collective was founded two years ago, the organization has held approximately 40 events, including the “Meet Me at the Modern” mixer series, and a partnership with Fortress Festival.
“People are starting to become more hungry to have engagement with the artists here in Fort Worth,” said Davis. “We cultivate the relationship between artists, business owners and art appreciators. For somebody in the general public who is used to art being unapproachable, we can get them to really love art.”
Member Aimee Cardoso describes the collective simply as “art people doing art things.”
“We’re all friends with each other. We want to work with each other, and there’s no weird tension or competition,” Cardoso said. “We’re like a big family, we just want to make cool stuff together.”
The collective has worked at a frenetic pace since its inception two years ago.
“This year, it’s helped to slow down and refocus on what we set out to do. Last year we were so busy. We did all these great shows, but we were all exhausted. This is the first time we’ve scheduled out the entire year month-to-month,” Cardoso said.
Artwork by Rebekah McKnight
The focus for 2018 has been on education and lifting up fellow artists.
“When we set off to plan this year, we wanted to make it education-heavy,” said Davis. “We see so many artists who are making really good work, and we want to help them grow in their practice and achieve a higher level of professionalism in their careers.”
Member Shasta Haubrich highlights why education is so important to the community.
“A lot of artists just need somebody to ask how to approach a gallery, or what a CV is. For some of them, having their first show is a way of validating what they’re working on,” Haubrich said.
“And it’s good practice,” Davis agrees. “A big part of becoming successful is doing good work, but practicing putting on a show and promoting yourself is so important too.”
Motivation for the “Head of the Class” exhibition also came from Art Tooth members seeing their colleagues’ economic challenges.
“A lot of artists struggle through school, then become teachers and still don’t earn a livable wage,” said Haubrich.
It’s often difficult for teachers to keep up with the cost of living in Fort Worth, considering low starting salaries and slow salary growth, as well as the hundreds of dollars per year teachers spend on supplies.
With at least eight other art collectives like Art Tooth founded in Fort Worth in recent years, local artists are standing up to support each other and their communities.
“Fort Worth is ripe for [growth] right now, especially with everyone being supportive, actually caring about what people are making and pushing them to do better,” said Cardoso. “Fort Worth is just a good haven for that.”
The “Head of the Class” opening reception is from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 14. The reception is open to the public, with a suggested $10 donation. Participating artists include C.J. Daivs, Kay Ford, Devyn Gaudet, Ollie Gee, Terry Horn, Sean Ibanez, Rebecca James, Michelle Justice and Leigh Ann Williams.