Art has the power to transform, illuminate, educate and inspire.
Christopher Bryant, Coordinator of the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts (The Center), knows that.
And nowhere can that inspiration be more easily nurtured and cultivated than at a state-of-the-art facility.
MISD opened the doors at The Center in June of 2012 and boasted of its performance hall, which features a Meyer Sound Constellation system for an incredible acoustical experience.
Furthermore, the performance hall can be divided into three separate event venues which include one center section (orchestra, parterre and mezzanine levels) that can seat about 4,200 for full stage productions; or two side lecture halls that can be closed off from the main auditorium for smaller presentations with theater seating for 640 each.
But it's not the 141,500 square feet dual-purpose facility that only has piqued Bryant's palette. For the last two years, he’s been transforming the concourse of The Center into an art gallery which displays unique and creative art from Mansfield and the growing metroplex through a program he calls the “Residency at The Center.”
"It began gradually by word of mouth," Bryant said. "My first Residency Showcase show was a collaborative effort which included five artists. What I have been trying to do up to this point is get artists, including the local art commission, to know this was an option for them."
And it's been working.
Bryant, at the recommendation of Rosalie Gilbert, Cultural Arts Coordinator for the City of Mansfield, recently opened a residency showing at The Center presenting the works of Indonesian born artist Ratu Adil, her first solo exhibition in America.
"Chris has been a wonderful partner for the growing Mansfield Commission for the Arts,” Gilbert said. “I'm very grateful he has enlisted the commission to help recruit artists to fill The Center. The Center is a fantastic venue for an art exhibition and the opportunity that Chris offers is one-of-a-kind. I'm delighted to let the local artists I meet know what a wonderful opportunity they have to display and promote their work right here in Mansfield.”
Bryant said an added bonus for artist displaying work is that there’s no fee.
"The reason why is because I'm an artist myself. This is not about money; this is about offering a place for art to be showcased. Mansfield is home to so many talented artists in all forms of media, and I just want to help promote these great local artists."
Bryant said anyone is welcome to show their work. He said he meets with participants, walks through the gallery and gets a feel of the work they want to display.
"What I do for every show is have an opening reception complete with table set up," Bryant said. "Most artists provide finger foods, some have music and other have performers, at their expense. I invite them to model their reception to fit their vision and theme for their exhibition"
Bryant, who has degrees in art from both Oral Roberts University and the Arts Institute of Pittsburgh, said he'd studied several art disciplines such as ceramics, welding and photography but his first love is with oil painting.
"One desire in my heart is to eventually have a weekend art workshop," Bryant said. "I want to invite several practicing artists to participate, and students or anybody from the DFW area will be able attend and learn how those artists create their art. It takes a little time to put something on that scale together, but I am definitely working towards that goal."
Bryant said he really enjoys when kids visit The Center.
“Throughout the school year children come here on field trips,” he said. “They walk through the doors and alongside the gallery. To see the expression on their faces when they see the art is very special, and makes it all worthwhile."
Lance Winter: 817-390-7274
The MISD Center for Performing Arts is located at 1110 W. Debbie Ln.
Phone 817-299-1230 - main number
Or 817-299-1250 - office