Fierce Festival Organizers 

Because Art Matters  

Nickole Kerner Bobley

May 13, 2019

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival also functions as The Waterway Arts Council’s yearly fundraiser, with proceeds making it possible for the continuation of their year-round educational and cultural outreach programs.

Last month, The Woodlands Arts Council (TWAC) produced one of the country’s finest juried art festivals, The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival (TWWAF). Once again, this beloved annual springtime event brought a colorful visual and performing arts bonanza to one of The Woodlands’ favorite landmarks—The Waterway. This year’s festival boasted 200 national artists representing a wide variety of styles and mediums including painting, drawing, photography, wood, glass, clay, fiber and jewelry. 

The festival also functions as TWAC’s yearly fundraiser, with proceeds making it possible for the continuation of their year-round educational and cultural outreach programs. Through these programs, they fund thousands of dollars in art scholarships and ignite the creative spark in economically disadvantaged students, senior adults, and those with special needs and circumstances. They also contribute to the community through our charity partner program and community art recipient program.

The Arts Festival also offered The Warriors in Art Community Art Project, which was facilitated by The Woodlands Art League. This 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization was started last fall by a Marine and Air Force veteran to enrich the lives of military veterans through the visual arts. During the festival, The Woodlands Art League helped festival-goers in creating a hands-on art project that brought awareness to Warriors in Art’s unique mission. Festival guests brought mementos of the veterans in their lives and added these to the mural—including photos, letters, dog tags, etc.

The Woodlander  took a peek behind the scenes to meet The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival leadership team who helms this highly sophisticated annual top-ranked arts fest and the proceeds benefiting our community.

They are (in alphabetical order)…

Event Director Kelly Batterson—she is the fearless leader who has managed major events for the City of Houston, so she knows how to make the Festival run like a well-oiled machine!

Interim Development Director Jenny Carattini-Wright, CFEEshe has the awesome job of raising money for TWAC’s mission through sponsorships, donations and grants. Jenny is a former Festival Director, so she knows every aspect of how the event works.

Social Media Manager Courtney Coats-Topinishe is an expert at spreading the word about TWAC and TWWAF through social media. She is everywhere with phone in hand to shoot photos and video!

Interim Operations Manager and Performing Arts Coordinator Angela Colton –she kindly shares her expertise in managing non-profits with TWAC both in operations and coordinating the performing arts stages at the Festival. 

Graphic Designer Maureen Donelanshe makes everything beautiful, from ads to hats, t-shirts and signs. She takes the Featured Artist’s work each year and makes the magic happen.

Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Hammarstrom—she is a people person and shares her passion for the arts with the hundreds of volunteers that help make the Festival and other TWAC events happen.

Artist Management Coordinator Sally Richard—she is an artist herself and therefore ‘speaks the language’ to make the 200+ festival artists feel welcome in The Woodlands. She also manages the complex jury process.

Proudly, each year, TWAC leadership, its board members and the myriad festival volunteers strive to enrich the local community through the arts and culture, an integral part of the legacy of George & Cynthia Woods Mitchell, founders of The Woodlands.

To learn more about The Woodlands Arts Council and its various programs, please visit www.thewoodlandsartscouncil.org.