Artfeel Blog

A contemporary interactive arts experience based on public art in The Woodlands

ARTFEEL is an arts appreciation initiative celebrating the vast collection of public artworks found in The Woodlands, Texas (one of the largest collections in the country!). Here’s how it works:

On the first day of each month, ARTFEEL spotlights a public artwork and invites residents to share their feelings with one another on The Woodlands Arts Council’s Facebook page. ARTFEEL creator and writer, Nickole Kerner Bobley, shares how the ART makes her FEEL—her “artfeel” in a blog and shares it to help get the conversations flowing. As residents “comment” with their feelings about the art they then share the post with their friends and soon conversations about art are moving across social media like wildfire!

Then, on the last Wednesday of each month, The Woodlands Arts Council offers up a 1-hour live show, ARTFEEL LIVE, at Crush Wine Lounge where a small stage and microphone are available to residents to share how the public artwork in spotlight makes them feel—their “artfeel.” Participants get 3 minutes or less to share their feelings or impressions, some say one word while others tell a robust story or recount a special memory, some bring in their own art work that has been influenced by the piece, others improvise a poem, sing a song, play instruments, act out a scene from a film, dance and some even show-and-tell an object from their home. The rules are there are no rules—and that is the fun!

Join us to see what bubbles up when people share their feelings about art!

Rain Dancing

Posted March 6, 2018


Artist: Valerie Theberge
Underwriters: Gayle and Todd Kuoni

When I came upon the art bench, titled, Bean, at Town Green Park, I immediately thought of Aboriginal Australian rain sticks with their beautiful hand-painted trippy designs. Looking at Bean gives me a mystical feeling. If the park had been empty today, I might have done a little rain dance. But the park was full of people, so I sat on the bench and ran my hand across all the tiny little mosaic pieces that covered it.

When I was in middle school with my family, I remember being in a souvenir shop on Galveston Island and playing with a rain stick. Traditionally, rain sticks were made out of thick cactus stalks stuffed with small beans or pebbles and when turned upside down would make a rain falling like sound as the tiny bits hit various plant innards and/or pins inside.

It was raining outside and as I played with several sticks I began wondering: what if I had accidentally summoned the rain and thunder that was intensifying outside? I recall being really excited by the idea that maybe I was magical, if only even for a brief moment in time, at this store.

The store owner explained that he imported these from Australia and they were made by the Aboriginal People who lived there (it’s only now I’m realizing how funny and random it was to have Aussie souvenirs for sale at a Texas beach shop!)

I was mesmerized by these strange, thick and wonderfully decorated sticks that made their special rain music. Although it was the sound of the stick that initially drew me in, it was the art on them that really stuck to my ribs—and became part of my world. I especially loved all the tiny dots, interesting looking symbols and repetitions of pattern of this kind of art. I remember one stick’s design had a turtle painted in black, and out from it shot all these tiny dots like rays of the sun in an outward circular pattern. This art felt so regal and other worldly yet accessible and friendly. I dug the mix.

In college, I read Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell and I remember thinking about the art I had seen on the rain sticks when I was younger. Around this time, in New York City’s Union Square Park, with some of the first money I made from my new after-school nanny job, I bought myself an art tapestry to hang in my dorm room. The tapestry was made of a thin, soft cotton and the art design had an Aboriginal feel to it. I loved looking at this wall decoration as it felt like it was mimicking the constellations in the sky with all the tiny dots (like stars in space) and swirling patterns (like orbiting planets). I liked to rearrange my room a lot in college and remember even hanging this tapestry on the ceiling for a bit – like a fake nighttime sky in my room. I remember one spring break, I even brought the tapestry home to Texas and wore it as a beach cover-up to Galveston with my friends.

Years later, as an adult, while living in Sea Cliff, New York, I went to a new friend’s house for the first time. She was Australian and I was dumbstruck entering her house as it was decorated from floor to ceiling and in every nook and cranny with the most incredible collection of Aboriginal art. And there was one artwork in particular that caught my eye – it was the silhouette of a lizard and out from all sides of it emanated these tiny, perfect dots in wild colors in a brilliant mesmerizing pattern. It was similar to the rain stick in Galveston I remembered as a child.

Every time it rains I always hope there is child someplace, somewhere wondering if they made it rain while futzing around with a rain stick at a store.

Have you ever visited the “Bean” art bench? If so, how did it make you feel? What did you do when you were there? Did seeing this art bring up any memories or thoughts or ideas for you? Does it remind you of something? Someone? Does it make you think about something or someone in a new way? Did you experience a sudden rush of thoughts that were connected to other thoughts or experience disparate thoughts and emotions?

Walking Sticks

When I first saw “Amber” by artist Luis Pavón of Malaga, Spain in Town Green Park, it made me feel trapped like those leaves caught in this pretty art bench’s amber backrest.

I sat down on the bench and immediately thought of the prehistoric mosquito encased in the amber sphere found at the end of the elaborate walking stick...

The Brick House

When I first saw Bob Mosier’s art bench “Hail and Farewell Henry Moore” on the Woodlands Waterway near Town Green Park it made me think of concrete building bricks. Like the important impenetrable bricks in The Little Golden Book’s “The Three Little Pigs” story I loved so much as a child. I remember the book’s cover drawing of three little pigs walking upright, dressed in sweaters who carried their polka dotted hobo bags on long sticks.

Ode to Joy

I felt a sense of giddiness, wonder and overall epic-ness when I visited the “Ode to Joy” art bench by artist Dan Skaggs that sits outside one of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion entrances. It’s a fanciful and fun art bench that has a very big persona.

Yarn Balls

I felt a sense of magic when I visited the Family Tree Bench. Immediately, I thought of this fictional character Darlene, an 85-year-old spitfire, whom I blog as once a month for Avanti Senior Living, a local retirement home.

Doodling Harvey

A week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and devastated much of Southeast Texas, I sit at my desk and begin to write this month’s blog entry feeling grateful I am safe, dry and in my own home. I find it hard to work since the storm. I am easily distracted and bone-tired.

Cement Block Body

When I look at Chris Miller’s Mipenipa art bench I think of an angst filled night when I was eighteen years old. After my high school graduation ceremony, a group of area parents organized a wonderful party for us seniors that night — they secured The Woodlands Athletic Center (WAC) for an all-night celebration, a lock-in.

My Father’s Shoehorn

The moment I saw artist Victoria Goldstein’s Crete art bench I immediately thought of my father’s shoehorn and a memory when I was an eight-year-old girl living in Houston with my parents and four-year-old sister.

Island Interlude

Artist Rollin Karg’s stunning glass and metal art bench, Caetano’s Peace, slingshots my mind to when I was in my young 20’s and the wild Scorpion Bowl cocktail I would drink with my graduate school friends at the Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s Lounge in The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles in the late 1990s.

First Kiss

The colorful feet on this art bench make me feel nostalgic for my tanned teenager days in the hot Texas sun. Suddenly, I remember my very first kiss.Like most Woodlands area young girls in 1982 in the 7th grade, I was big haired with big dreams and wore a big Dr. Pepper

The Art of Family

Each time I look at this beautiful art bench it reminds me of the tension that exists between posed and natural photography. Looking at this feathered family, who appear to me to be posing for a family photograph, I am filled with feelings of absurdity...

The origins of ArtFeel

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogren’s Syndrome, two autoimmune diseases. While I was working with my doctor to find my perfect cocktail of meds I discovered my car’s seat heater provided terrific temporary joint pain relief.

ArtFeel Launch

Thank you for joining us at Crush Wine Lounge in The Woodlands for the official launch of The Woodlands Arts Council ArtFeel. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about ArtFeel and mingle with fellow art and wine enthusiasts!

Texas Commission on the Arts
National Endowement for the Arts

Thank you to our generous sponsors.

The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau
Stella Artois
The Woodlands Development Company
The Woodlands Arts Council | (TWAC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
P.O. Box 8184, The Woodlands, TX 77387
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The Woodlands Arts Council

The Woodlands Arts Council | (TWAC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.