Local Art is Alive in Lubbock

Written By McKenna Dowdle

August 14, 2020

On the first Friday of every month, thousands of locals and visitors line the streets of the Cultural Arts District. Trolleys make their way to and from the variety of art galleries and museums located throughout downtown Lubbock and live music plays in the background as lines for Lubbock’s favorite local food trucks steadily grow. The hustle and bustle of art lovers creates an energy that awakens the “Hub City” and inspires a culture of unity through all forms of art. 

Most notably known as the host destination of the First Friday Arts Trail (FFAT), Lubbock’s culture is always on display downtown in the Cultural Arts District. Recently, artists have taken their work to social media. Hosts of FFAT are taking a creative and innovative approach during this unprecedented time by implementing the Virtual First Friday Art Trail. Using the hashtag #virtualfirstfridaylbk, followers are able to share, repost and view art like never before. 

Chad Plunket, director of CASP, says that while CASP is closed to the public, artists have taken this time to seek out inspiration through alternative mediums appropriate to this time such as soap making and sewing masks. 

“We’ve had to remain closed, which is heartbreaking for us,” he said. “But, rest assured our artists are still making work and things are still happening.”

This Saturday, August 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., LHUCA and the Charles Adams Studio Project (CASP) are taking back to the streets with the annual Art Market. This outdoor, socially-distanced event located on the LHUCA and CASP Plazas showcases 30 local artists. From art kits for the kids to leather bags, you won’t want to miss out on what our favorite Lubbock imagineers have been working on while in quarantine. 

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with local artists like Cassandra Troutman, a CASP Resident Artist, leathersmith and theater artist. She shared her experience with CASP during the recent pandemic and how it has affected her work. 

This multi-talented creator has adapted to the times as she now sells themed masks online. With the FFAT has been canceled to visitors publicly, she has relied heavily on her Etsy shop, Cassapora. Not only has she adapted her art to the public health crisis, but her recent work is testing the boundaries, allowing her more creative space. 

From local consumers in Lubbock to international fans from the likes of England and Australia, fans of Troutman’s leatherwork have the opportunity to purchase handcrafted, thoughtfully pieced together items including tote bags made out of old cowboy boots, journals, passport covers and more! Not only is Troutman an internationally-acclaimed creative with cowhide and the sewing machine, she is proficient in costume design as well. In fact, her work has been uncovered by theaters in Los Angeles. 

When Troutman isn’t working on theater masks or leather keychains, followers can find her hanging out with her pup, Lieutenant Dan, and fiance who you may have seen playing the cello at a past FFAT. She said the success of her small business during these challenging times has been a result of the supportive community found in Lubbock. 

“I’ve had a lot of loyal, faithful buyers in our small community,” she said. “Being in a smaller sized city has helped me because those buyers will go and talk to their neighbor and share my work. This community has been very supportive.”

Another CASP artist who has experienced communal support recently is Danielle East, poet and sculptor. East moved to Lubbock over one year ago from La Grange, Texas after hearing of the CASP residency artist program. 

“My experience at CASP has been great,” she said. “I do work with the different studios here and participate in the First Friday Art Trail. The space here is a really good studio.”

Like Troutman, East has used her experience as an artist in Lubbock during these times to her advantage. The increased amount of time to be creative allows for new ideas inspired by current events as well as opening a gallery in East Lubbock, the East Lubbock Art House (ELAH). East’s experience being a black woman of color in Lubbock has provided her with the opportunity to use art as a medium to heal. 

ELAH is a non-profit organization created as a space to empower emerging artists of color. Each piece of art to be displayed at ELAH is created with the intention to be a healing experience to other people of color as well as support the East Lubbock community through art events and exhibitions.

Each artist in Lubbock has a message to share that unifies the community through thought-provoking and imaginative pieces with a purpose. As you explore the Art Market, visit ELAH and attend the virtual FFAT, open your mind to the wonder and meaning weaved into each item. Share your favorites with us using #LiveLoveLubbock! 

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