By Kerrville Daily Times Staff, October 8, 2020
If everything had gone according to plan, Grace Guerriero would not have been here in Kerrville this fall. She would have been enjoying her first year at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
The funny thing about plans in 2020 is they have a tendency to change — real quick. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Guerriero finds herself at home — with her folks, younger sisters and a slew of pets — taking online courses instead of enjoying the coastal breezes in the historic seaside city.
Guerriero is taking advantage of being at home to continue her love of art, while also working part time and going to school. In turn, the chance to stay at home has presented the Kerrville-based youth arts nonprofit Big Seed the opportunity to showcase her art, and in a very public way.
“My style has changed a lot lately,” Guerriero said of her oil paintings. “I’ve been going through kind of a big pop culture phase.”
Two of her paintings will be on display Friday night during the first public Big Seed event in nearly nine months. The event will also be the much-anticipated public debut of Arcadia Live.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing (Arcadia),” said Guerriero, 18, who graduated from Tivy in the spring. “I saw it in the process. I’m super excited to see the finished project.”
At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the doors of Arcadia Live — although limited to about 250 people — will be open to the public for the first time since the theater’s extensive renovation.
Guests will be required to wear masks, but there will be plenty of space for visitors to spread out because of the large roll-up doors that lead to the expansive deck, which overlooks the Guadalupe River and Louise Hays Park, will be open so people can enjoy the views.
“Super cool,” said Jeremy Walther, one of the founders of Big Seed, who is also a member of the board. “We’re really excited about it.
“Our model has been to put on public events and, like a lot of events, we’ve had to pivot. This is the first event that we are back in action.”
Big Seed’s focus is to enhance the arts experience for those 23 years of age and younger.
Earlier this year, just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a smaller pop-up version of Big Seed — nicknamed Little Seed — drew one of its largest group of artists and audience members for a show at Pop Hair Art on Clay Street.
Based on the success of these smaller events, Big Seed has been able to attract a wide range of aspiring artists, musicians, singers and supporters.
Before the pandemic, Big Seed had secured a headquarters for itself at Schreiner University, where students could learn about art, movie making or other disciplines — or find mentors.
One of those mentors is Marty Lenard, who teaches music at Schreiner University and who is a member of the Big Seed board of directors.
“It’s a great chance to check out the theater if you haven’t had a chance to check it out,” Lenard said of the opportunity to visit the renovated theater, which had been closed for decades before being restored and re-imagined as an events and performing arts space.
“It will take 30 minutes to really soak it in,” Walther said of the Arcadia space.
“That building is amazing,” Lenard said. “It’s truly remarkable what that board has been able to do.”
With Big Seed, there will be two sets of musicians performing, including some from Schreiner University. Many of the musicians, including 19-year-old blues guitarist Elijah Flores, are regular performers.
Art lovers will be able to appreciate the works of Guerriero and others, which has been curated by local artist Kristin LaRue.
One of the bigger moments of the night will be the debut of a short film by Alyson Amestoy, who — like Guerriero — found herself at home after her senior year at Baylor University was disrupted by coronavirus. Amestoy, 23, whose parents work for The Kerrville Daily Times, directed and produced a video, along with Walther, that highlights the hometown spirit of Kerrville. The movie also features the videography of Schreiner University student Zachary Lyman.
For Guerriero, this opportunity to showcase her work also means that she can potentially earn some extra money for college when she can finally attend in person.
As a fashion design major, Guerriero’s ambitions will most likely take her out of Kerrville and out of Texas, but for now she’s just happy to be able to show off her work and spend a little bit of extra time with her friends and family before heading out into the world.
And that, Walther and Lenard say, is what Big Seed is all about — providing opportunities.
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