Arts / Galleries

Sawyer Yards’ Second Saturdays Return, Bringing Back the Art Fun — and the Ultimate Strolling Party

Hive Installation Examines Coronavirus Pandemic Reactions

BY Sasha Vermeil // 06.13.20

Ready, get set and go to Sawyer Yards — one of America’s largest art districts, located in historic buildings in the shadow of downtown Houston. Bouncing back from COVID-19, Sawyer Yards is reopening to the public for Second Saturday Open Studios this Saturday, June 13 from noon to 5 pm.

Second Saturday Studios is a showcase of working artists from The Silos at Sawyer Yards, Winter, Spring, Sabine, Summer and Silver Street Studios. Strolling through Sawyer Yards is a pleasant way to spend your day, viewing works by more than 350 artists. Paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, clothing, mixed media and more are in play. (Some of our PaperCity faves that call this complex home include Diane Gelman, John Hovig, Adebayo Taiwo and Karen Navarro.)

It’s a great opportunity to collect art at affordable prices from artists who aimed to create true masterpieces while in isolation. You can also savor specialty bites and refreshments from the breweries at the outdoor Market at Sawyer Yards.

Lisa Morales shapes “The Thought Hive” installation in the studio she shares with collaborator Stacy Gresell at Winter Street (Studio C6). The immersive project opens to the public Saturday, June 13, 2020, at part of Sawyer Yards’ Second Saturdays. June 12, as part of
Lisa Morales shapes “The Thought Hive” installation in the studio she shares with collaborator Stacy Gresell at Winter Street (Studio C6). The immersive project opens to the public Saturday, June 13, 2020, at part of Sawyer Yards’ Second Saturdays.

On display during Second Saturday is The Thought Hive, a community-based interactive art installation from Winter Street artists Lisa Morales and Stacy Gresell. Their goal was to collect thoughts about how people are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The installation involves chicken wire and pages from old books, creatively collaged in their studio.

“Most of the books I use come in the form of gifts or donations from friends who know I work in paper,” Lisa Morales tells PaperCity. “I just picked up an entire set of encyclopedias from a friend who didn’t want to throw them away. Another friend volunteers at a library and pulls donated books for me that she knows I can use.”

The arty duo invited friends and art fans to stop by or send a short inspirational note about how they’ve been feeling during their COVID-19 isolation. The Thought Hive unites the community during a time of uncertainty and fear, replacing worry with positive messages such as “Patience and gratitude” and “It won’t last forever.”

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Collectively, the messages are stronger than the worries of this unprecedented time.

“The meaning of the Hive to me is quite literal,” Morales says. “Just like bees work as a group to form a thriving community, I like to think our Hive is bringing people together through art and community involvement. The Hive lets the public be part of the art and gives them permission to express exactly what they are feeling in a safe format.”

They began the project in early March, near the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns, and they have collected more than 400 submissions to date. Were they surprised by the outpouring of responses?

“Yes and no,” Stacy Gresell says. “I think it’s a way to be involved with something they may not do themselves and also a way to process the experience and feelings they’re having. If I say it, I’m not alone.”

Morales adds, “This project has been a look inside the minds of how people are dealing with the pandemic. The thoughts are an art time capsule of this time in our history. . . all tucked into one place for safekeeping.” She and Gresell will open their studio on Saturday and are encouraging art lovers to come and contribute their thoughts to the installation (Winter Street, Studio C6).

Sawyer Yards reminds attendees to practice social distancing. Masks are required in many studios. Get a guide to the venues and art studios here.

This story had additional reporting from Catherine D. Anspon.

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