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Saturday, April 10, 2021

SiNaCa Studios artist creating Near Southside project

Magnolia Avenue in Near Southside is about to get a facelift of the artistic kind.

Fort Worth Art Commission recently selected local artist Clifton Crofford to as the artist for the Magnolia Avenue public art project, for which the City of Fort Worth had allocated $229,620 more than a dozen years ago.

The selection came after an artist selection panel, comprised of community leaders and local business owners, initially made the recommendation for Crofford.

Crofford is the executive director of SiNaCa Studios, a nonprofit that provides community outreach programs and individual classes on the art and science of glass art, where he was more focused on teaching and spreading awareness about glassmaking for almost a decade.

Crofford is now returning from his self-imposed artmaking hiatus to create the Magnolia Avenue project.

“I’m honored and I’m thrilled, but I’ll tell you I am burdened in a way,” Crofford said.

“This is a magical time in my life,” he added. “This transitional growth spurt is amazing. And I have a feeling that it will make a big difference in all of the things I’m doing. It’s big, it’s huge. So, I’m kind-of anxious.”

Crofford has not shared his plans or visions of the artwork he is going to make, yet. He said he wants to make that decision after examining what the community thinks the public art should be.

He will conduct surveys to gauge the community’s interest in the next couple of months, starting at this weekend’s ArtsGoggle festival. SiNaCa Studios will have a booth at the event and will be showcasing glass blowing demos and glass items for sale among other things.

“I felt like this was a great opportunity for me to sponsor the block, to support the artist and offer this public meeting,” Crofford said. “This public engagement opportunity.”

As the commissioned artist, Crofford needs to first make a preliminarily design proposal to the local community and the Fort Worth Arts Commission. He will then present the final design proposal, after which the actual work will start.

Crofford plans to continue working on his art piece one whole year and unveil it during next year’s ArtsGoggle.

According to Fort Worth Public Art’s approved plan for the Magnolia Avenue project, the artwork will be located near the intersections of South Henderson and South Lake Streets.

However, Crofford said there could multiple peices, from Washington Avenue to Lake Street in Magnolia Avenue that “encourages discovery and movement.”

“The subject matter, the narrative is something that slowly emerges,” Crofford said. “I have ideas. But in my head, I have put everything on pause for right now. Because I think it’s important that I don’t go to the community and have a conversation with them, already knowing what I want to make. I want them to feel they have been a part of the process.”

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Neetish Basnet
Neetish is a writer and digital content producer for Fort Worth Business Press. He has been covering businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. After graduating with a journalism degree from University of Texas-Arlington, Dow Jones News Fund selected him for a digital media fellowship. He still likes the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.

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