Local arts advocacy group ArtLoveMagic holds its signature event, Underground, on Saturday. It’s a live art show, where visitors can watch artists at work. The event is part of the organization’s mission to help connect artists with the public.
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In 2011, Char McGaughy was in the same position a lot of young artists find themselves in. She was ready to share her art with the public, maybe even sell it. But she didn’t have a clue how.
“I searched for a long time to try to find out how you get into galleries, how do you get your work out to the public,” she said. “And I never had any luck until I came across ArtLoveMagic.”
She met the arts advocacy group at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. ArtLoveMagic’s mission is simple – to help artists make the most of their talent. McGaughy first showed her oil paintings at one of its events. Since then, she’s been in multiple art shows and done work for the Dallas Observer and D Magazine.
“And it just keeps coming. And I would not have done it without them,” she says.
ArtLoveMagic was formed in 2007 by Michael Lagocki, David Rodriguez and Justin Nygren. Lagocki and Rodriguez are both artists; Nygren has a background in event planning.
Each month, they hold small art shows and offer free workshops where kids learn from artists. Then once a year, they stage a massive event called Underground. At the show, visitors can engage with more than 100 artists as they create new work.
Nygren says that before Art Love Magic, he sensed an unhealthy level of competition among local artists. He hopes that these group events will serve as a rallying point.
“In the larger art conversation – the national art conversation – Dallas, unfortunately has been kind of off the map,” he says. “And my perspective is that the best way we can put ourselves on the map is banding together as one large community.”
ArtLoveMagic’s founders originally thought they’d come up with a great idea for a business. Instead, Nygren says the non-profit’s turned into a labor of love.
“You work with people who are struggling and trying to figure out how to make a career out of their art and you come alongside them and say, ‘I’m here, whatever you need.’ That DNA gets passed on. We’ve basically become this huge, massive family of people who are driven by our passion.”
Be sure to check out our Artist Studio Tour videos with a trio of artists who are participating in Underground.