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!

Wet Wipes

Posted May 4, 2018

Umbrella Tree

Artist: Dan Skaggs
Underwriters: The Shedden Family

When I first visited the "Umbrella Tree" art bench by the Riva Row Boathouse I sat under it and wished I had a real umbrella to shield me from the blistering sun. It was 99 degrees already today at 9:00am and I was sweating before my exercise walk even began. This reminded me of a time in my life when I was always sweaty and annoyed before my work day would begin in Manhattan in the late 1990's.

​ For 12 years I worked in the film and television industry in New York City. I was a young creative executive climbing the ranks working downtown at Broadway & 17th street on the top floor in an incredible workspace that Andy Warhol once occupied and overlooked Union Square Park. I loved the building. I loved the company. I loved my job. And I loved my colleagues most of whom were gorgeously dressed and exceptionally good looking gay men. What I didn't love was my daily commute to and from work.

​ I was newly married to my husband, Darren, and we lived in a picturesque town on Long Island called Sea Cliff. Although, technically Sea Cliff and Manhattan were only 28 miles apart, it took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive between the two spots because of the horrendous traffic and road work. Worse, by train and subway, it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to make my daily commute from sleepy, sweet Sea Cliff to the electric dog-eat-dog world of New York City. And depending on the train you caught: express or a local—it could take even longer with all the stops along the way.

​ Summers in New York are hot and humid—just like Texas. The difference is in Texas you don't ride around on hot trains and subways with strangers pressed tight together like sardines in a tin can without fully functioning air conditioning.

​ August and Septermber were the worst months. The smells of the train and subway were putrid in the intense heat and I'd pray to the weather gods each day for a cool breeze and a seat on the train or subway. I wished for a seat not because I wanted to rest my legs, but to minimize the possible placement of my face in a strangers armpit. See, when you don't get a seat on the train or subway you have to stand the whole ride and your body is pressed up against a stranger's body. The trains and subways have these little strap like loops that hang down from the ceiling for you to hold on to as you rock back and forth as the cars bullet through tunnels to your destination. If you are short like me, you end up with your face in a normal height person's armpit. It's most unpleasant.

​ I looked decent, put together leaving my house, but after almost 2 hours of communting in such an inhuman way I arrived to work looking like I had used a machete to cut a path through thick jungle brush just to make it to my cubby. My colleagues, on the other hand, mostly lived in Manhattan. While I commuted they slept in and walked only a quick bit to work looking fabulous.

​ One day, I saw a woman changing her baby's diaper on the train a few stops before mine. And I had a lightbulb moment – Wet Wipes.

​ That night I bought a package of Wet Wipes at my local pharmacy.

​ I woke up early the next day. I put my hair up in a bun, grabbed my makeup bag and hairbrush and put them in my purse. Then I pulled out 4 Wet Wipes from the soft, plastic pack. I waved them in the air in front of me. Oh, they smelled so clean and fresh. I placed one in ech of my bra cups and one in each armpit. I relaxed into this feeling of Wet Wipes wonder. As I traveled this morning by car to train station, by train station to subway station to Union Square Park for my quick walk to work I had no fear—as I knew my Wet Wipes would take care of any hot and sweaty business. Wet Wipes I proclaimed to myself were my new best friends.

​ Everthing seemed to be going my way this morning too. I got a seat on both the train and subways (so no armpit hell for me! Yay). The commute seemed to speed by. I arrived at Union Square and quickly made it to the office restroom and layed out my supplies on the counter. Ceremoniously, I started to remove each Wet Wipes from my bra cups and armpits. I already felt so cool and clean. Like a little portable shower. Oh, I was so pleased with worked. I actually arrived feeling fresh and fit as a fiddle...until I looked in the mirror...

​ ...and saw that the water in the Wet Wipes had seeped through my cotton bra and made 2 giant wet rings stains on my green blouse and 2 more ring stains under each armpit. OH MY GOSH! What fresh hell is this?

​ This was the morning I had a 9:00am company meeting. I was panicked. No stores were open to quickly run out to and buy a new blouse and there was no time anyway. Folks were already getting set up in the big conference room.

​ I raced out of the bathroom into the nearby showroom area and borrowed a t-shirt from the sample display area. The only one that was close to my size was a thin, red shirt that said "Hot Stuff" across it and featured a drawing of the impish Harvey Comics red devil holding a pitchfork. I took off the Wet Wipes stained blouse and my wet bra underneath and squeezed into this too tight sample shirt and dashed into the meeting. And there I stood in a too tight casual t-shirt paired with a dressy skirt, pantyhose and heels. My hair was still in a bun and I had not yet done my makeup. My whole Wet Wipes plan had backfired. And although my shirt read "Hot Stuff" I felt anything...but as an impeccably dressed handsome colleague with a big heart pushed a coffee cake slice to me with a look of sympathy.

Have you ever visited the "Umbrella Tree" 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?

When Cancer?

Elizabeth Akamatsu’s bold Stardust art bench on The Woodlands Waterway makes me think of what a cancerous blood droplet might look like. I had recently watched a video called “Quand C’est?” by Stromae after another friend was diagnosed with cancer. Stromae is a Belgian musician, rapper, singer, and songwriter. Here is the link to the video and the lyrics translated to English. It really conjurs up my mood about cancer.

Rain Dancing

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.

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.