Art Valet 7-23

The Artifex group's first outing recently took place on the newly renovated 3rd floor of Baptist Temple Church in the Heights, 230 W. 20th St. (Contributed photo)

There’s a new art group in the Heights, and everyone is invited to join in and as you’ll read, there’s room for everyone.

Artifex (the Latin word for artist) officially launched June 8, 2022 with a meeting on the newly renovated 3rd floor of Baptist Temple Church in the Heights, 230 W. 20th St. I spoke to Robyn Crowell, the founder of Artifex to bring you the skinny.

 “Artifex is a visual arts initiative of Baptist Temple that is intended to be an outreach and support ‘hub’ for visual artists in the community,” Crowell said in a statement. “Artifex will offer; fellowship, master classes, seminars, art classes for adults and children, an opportunity to exhibit, recreational events, community involvement and just a place to create art together.”

Crowell, has an extensive 20 year background in the arts that has prepared her to run the community based outreach  programs the Artifex group have planned. Crowell’s credentials, in addition to her teaching and administrating community art events in her Fort Bend Community, include award winning professional artist, arts administrator, instructor, artist consult, award winning published children’s book illustrator and gallery director/curator.

Edward Crowell, her husband, is a classically trained tenor and is the Executive Director and Choir Director of Baptist Temple. 

“We believe music, art and dance can make an impact on people's lives in a very special way,” Robyn Crowell said. “We also believe that ‘creatives’ need a place to put down the ‘load’ and encourage one another.”

Crowell has assembled a stellar team of core artists to get things started for Artifex, Houstonians that follow the Houston art scene (or even Art Valet, ahem) will recognize this group. They include Joe and Eunice Calzada, Gene Barron, Travis Horton, Erika Korozsi, Julie Verville, Art by Nora, Carolyn Holloway, Kristen Ferguson, Shannon O’Hara, Kyaunna Hall, Javier Hernandez, Ray Dunlap,Teresa Staley, Cherie Salinas and Ron Gordon.

Those last four, Dunlap, Staley, Salinas and Gordon are the four amazing artists that I know and until today, all except Dunlap have been mentioned or featured in Art Valet. Mr. Dunlap, we need to talk!

“Gene Barron, Teresa Staley, Ray Dunlap, Carolyn Holloway, Erika Korozsi, myself and Art by Nora are currently on display,” Crowell said. “Nora is just 9 years old and is exactly what we are trying to do. Encourage our youth and others to explore their creative gifts.”

The first group activity recently was a huge success Crowell told me on a phone call. A group of 21 had lunch at Star Pizza Heights then visited the Menil.

Crowell also said the next meeting will be Wednesday August 10, at 6 p.m., at Baptist Temple, 230 W. 20th Street 77008 on the 3rd floor where classes will be held in the fall. All are welcome.

Save the date, the first Artifex art show, CRE*A*TION,’ will be September 18. Open calls will begin August 7 and the theme is the definition of creation - “The action or process of bringing something into existence.”

Classes for all ages are scheduled to begin this fall, including a masters critique and seminar by Gordon and a youth mural project led by Staley and Salinas. Crowell said all classes will be affordable.

For schedules and announcements, follow Artifex on Instagram, and Facebook “Baptist Temple Artifex” or email Crowell,

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and The Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

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