For the Love of Art
By Jessie Monsivais
By: Jessie Monsivais Photo by: Lillian Reitz
Since she moved to Corpus Christi, Kaleigh Glover has been an active ingredient in the growing art scene. The Art Project, which helps local artists show their work in area shops and restaurants, is one of her main undertakings, and illustrates her passion for bringing people together in the name of art.
Glover has been painting for 10 years. As we sit in her studio on a gloomy day, she begins to reminisce with me. She talks about selling her paintings under the tree at La Retama Park during ArtWalk some time ago. After graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture from TAMU-CC in 2017, she teamed up with Urbana to create their stunning chalkboard menu. Pleased with her work, she began curating monthly art shows and setting up soft openings at Urbana during ArtWalk.
“It’s been a goal of mine to help put Corpus Christi on the map for art in Texas, and to help connect Corpus more to our state in that way. I’d like for it to be one day known as a destination to shop for art, like Santa Fe or Charleston,” she says. “I think with all the different artists and art galleries such as the South Texas Art Museum, the Art Department at TAMUCC, K Space, and surrounding towns like Rockport and Port Aransas, they are continuing to make that happen. By using hashtags like #CorpusChristiArt or #TexasArt on social media posts, I hope to expand the range of viewers.”
Since Urbana, Glover has become the Art Curator for The Exchange and The Cosmopolitan. In partnership with the Downtown Marina District, The Art Project helps place different vendors in the various businesses.
The Exchange displays four different themed art collections in each room of the restaurant. From sea-related artwork and recycled art for Earth Day Bay Day to “Surf Grotto,” an assembly of artwork that highlights the Texas surf scene created by a group of local surfers, The Art Project helps artists such as Cameron Walls, Dinah Bowmen, and more display their unique work of vibrant scenes of Coastal Bend life.
The Cosmopolitan displays Coastal art with a modern look – like that of Jon Steel, a surf photographer who, for over 20 years, has traveled around the world taking pictures of surfing. Cat Huss, an abstract artist with an impressive collection of work that has been shown in Brooklyn, Dallas, and California, also has work up here. Her most recent series was picked up by Bed, Bath and Beyond and the originals of that collection can be seen at The Cosmopolitan. Glover and Huss also have a Coastal collaborative series at The Cosmopolitan alongside their original work. “She did all the backgrounds, and I created all the foregrounds. We used imagery from the Coastal Bend, from downtown to the Island,” shares Glover.
Glover shared what a refreshing journey it has been – meeting with different artists, mix-and-matching artwork based on color, composition, and subject imagery, and also curating spaces and designing aesthetic values to match each artist to one another.
“I’ve been in the same shoes, and still am, that all the other artists have been. It’s been really cool to see the other side and help this art scene grow,” she says.
The Art Project isn’t just about curating, it can be anything, according to Glover. “I’ve continued to do these painting parties at Lazy Beach and Lorelei Brewery. They have been so fun, because people come and do their own paintings. I lead the class with an example painting I’ve created beforehand, and then I paint another one with the class. There’s lots of laughter, moans, and groans in between, and silence. Sometimes I have to remind people to breathe during the process, and when they see their beautiful painting, it’s great!”
Glover hopes to continue serving and working with other artists in making art and merchandise with The Art Project. “Before I started, I was just another artist trying to make it out here, doing chalkboard art, murals, painting, and graphic design. It’s a hard market as a big small town. I just found there wasn’t common knowledge of the art scene and the importance art plays in a community.”
The Art Project has transformed nontraditional art spaces and put artists and their work into everyday life: restaurants, apartment homes, a grocery store. The Art Project continues to grow and develop as a source of knowledge and guidance, helping artists get their art out into the world. “As far as artists go, I hope I have helped them and proven that you can show your work anywhere.”