By: LC Tobey
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. -Picasso

Just south of the Historic Downtown McKinney Square is Laura Moore Fine Art Studios, a gallery reminiscent of those nestled in the arts districts of Chicago, New York or Paris.

The large windows draw you in, but the meticulous display of artwork invites visitors and art aficionados to experience the individuality of each piece. Artist Laura Moore, who makes this space unique by nature, owns the gallery.

Here you can see contemporary art ranging from abstracts to photorealism. The serene setting features high ceilings, wood floors and balanced lighting to maximize the cognitive and aesthetic experience.

The gallery features a new art exhibition each month. Featured artists are celebrated opening night, which is always the second Saturday of the month. Enjoy a glass of wine, meet the artist and engage in a lively discussion of the displayed pieces.

Moore chooses exhibits that are interesting, fresh, playful and/or thought-provoking. The gallery features many artists from McKinney, as well as Chicago, Ohio, Oklahoma and throughout Texas.

There is also a working studio at the far end of the gallery. During the week, you can stop by and find Moore working on a new project, commission or piece of artwork. No matter when you stop by, you’re always greeted by her friendly smile.

Moore joined the art world in a circuitous way. “I have a Bachelor’s of Science in computer science and spent 16 years working in the corporate world, ultimately as an executive in information technology,” she says. “In 2000, my husband received a project in Paris, France, and I quit my job for what I thought was a three-month sabbatical. Our stay in Paris lasted for 2 . years, and during that time, I began studying art.”

In 2003, Moore and her husband returned to the States and she applied to her dream school, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2006, she earned a second Bachelor’s degree, in fine arts. “Going back to school at 40 with the 18-year-olds gave me enough forced collaborations to last a lifetime,” she says.

Moore will tell you she is an interdisciplinary artist who enjoys a variety of media. “If someone told me I had to paint watercolors everyday, I might as well work in a factory. I render both abstract and representational work in watercolor, oil, acrylic, pencil and mixed media. True to my interdisciplinary ways, I always have several ongoing series of works – each distinctly different.”

Currently, she is working on creations involving mold on wine labels, aged patinas on maps, a meditative focus utilizing abstract paintings juxtaposed with continuous line drawings, labyrinth paintings, and layered watercolors with architectural focus.

Twice a year, during Oktoberfest and Dickens of a Christmas, Moore organizes and creates street labyrinths (made of cleaning products, canned goods, shoes, etc.) for charity. The labyrinth is laid out in front of her gallery, and is available to walk during the festivals.

During special events downtown, Moore installed a labyrinth outlined with cleaning supplies that were later donated to charity.

The items are later donated to the Samaritan Inn which cares for Collin County’s homeless. During these festivals, Moore will host and sponsor an outdoor art gallery for the community to enjoy as well.

Moore’s journey with labyrinth pathways will take her back to Paris, France this summer. She was recently awarded an artist-in-residence at the American Church in Paris.

She will live and work there for three weeks in June and will complete a large painting to be displayed in the sanctuary of the American Church in Paris. During her visit, she will create a duplicate of her charity labyrinth for the community. “I was asked to create the prospectus for this program in order for it to be ongoing, and I will serve on the jury for the next artist-in-residence there,” notes Moore.

During the Second Saturday Art Walk in March, Moore planned a special event. Four painters, colleagues and friends from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, gave a panel discussion on the logistics of painting landscapes in far-away places. The panel discussion, conducted by Judy Koon, Jeffrey Janson, Susan Kraut and Richard Deutsch, was well-received by the art community.

Moore is also an advocate for local artists. Once a year her gallery hosts and sponsors an open call to artists for a juried exhibition that is presented to the community.

Last year more than 45 artists were featured in the exhibition in two simultaneous locations, and more than 500 guests attended opening night. The open call event always has a theme.

Last year it was “The Edge.” This year’s theme is “Hideout.” Artists who include hidden symbols, messages, words, objects or figures in their art are invited to participate. Exhibition dates are Aug. 11 – Sept. 5, 2012.

Another event to add to your calendar is the “McKinney Art Studio Tour,” better known as MAST. Laura Moore Fine Arts Studio participates each year. In addition to showcasing the featured artist, Moore always creates a fun interactive art display for all to enjoy. The MAST tour this year is Nov. 10 – 11, 2012.

Artist, gallery owner and humanitarian, Moore and her studio continue to have a positive impact on Historic Downtown McKinney. Laura Moore Fine Art Studios is featured in area news media and to-do guides. These publications have drawn Metroplex-area residents into McKinney as an art destination.

So, on your next visit to Historic Downtown McKinney, know that Laura Moore Fine Art Studios is much more than a small gallery around the corner.

Seize the moment and savor some art.

For more information:

  • Laura Moore Fine Art Studios
  • 107 South Tennessee St., McKinney 75069
  • 214-914-3630

About the author: LC Tobey is a literary and visual artist residing in Historic McKinney.