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If you have watched The Art of Living Beautifully brand film, you will know art is a big part of my life. My mother’s studio was in our home growing up, and I was always surrounded by paint and brushes and artist’s tools and canvases and watercolor paper and anything else one might find in an atelier. At a young age I learned how good it felt to be creative, and I developed a love of color and storytelling through my projects. I have no doubt this is what lead me to become a writer and publish magazines.

I feel so fortunate to live in McKinney where the art scene is rich and the local artists are many. The McKinney Arts and Music Guild, a McKinney non-profit, is a community of artists, musicians, poets and writers who exhibit, perform, mentor, and serve. On October 28th they will be hosting The Hearts for McKinney Arts Gala at Eldorado Country Club. While a significant fundraiser, the Hearts for McKinney Arts Gala also showcases the exceptional work of area artists.  Our own Julia McNally, whose iconic artwork serves as the masthead image on, is one of ten professional artists who have donated large works to be chosen by Gold Sponsors.  Last year Julia’s painting Dallas III was chosen by Gold Sponsor Redden Concrete. Several more artists donate art created specifically for the 8” x 10” table, which sold out last year.  Potters, wood turners and sculptors bring their work to serve as center pieces and fill walls.  All of the art is available for purchase.

Jeni Tomlinson delivering her painting to Tim Hutchins, 2016 Gala Sponsor

Gala funds enable the Guild to present the McKinney Education Foundation with the only scholarship offered to a student in the fine arts. This scholarship indicates the unified efforts of Gala artists, business sponsors and art-loving guests in support of the next generation of culture creators. The Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra, will also benefit from this year’s Gala. The Odysseus Orchestra is led by nationally award-winning conductor Jason Lim and consists of young professional musicians from the greater DFW area.  Maestro Lim has developed several innovative concert series ranging from classical to pops. Concerts are affordable and each season includes a free chamber concert offered in downtown McKinney. Seeding into the next generation of great performers, Odysseus has launched the Greater Texas Youth Orchestra and a Young Artist Viola Competition.

Penny Savage and Chris Kennedy at 2016 Gala (photo by Brad Sharp)


Peggy Smollen and Ken Owen at 2016 Hearts for McKinney Arts Gala (photo by Brad Sharp)

Back by popular demand, the Grammy performing artists of Tin Man Band will keep the dance floor packed.  Sara Thomas will MC the evening, which will include a special performance by international virtuoso violinists of the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra.

Hearts for McKinney Arts Gala 2016, Eldorado Country Club, Tin Man Band on stage (photo by Brad Sharp)

Dinner and dancing begins at 7pm.

Black tie and masquerade are optional.

I hope to see you at this wonderful event supporting the McKinney arts and local artists! For more information and tickets visit and follow on Facebook.


PS. Don’t forget to vote for downtown McKinney as the best downtown in the United States!

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