The Woodlands Arts Council

When conceiving The Woodlands as a master-planned community, its founders envisioned a place where art was highly valued. They succeeded in creating a vital and robust presence of artistic expression in the area. The vehicle that provides support for the arts and sustains the founders’ goal is The Woodlands Art Council, Inc. (TWAC), a not-for-profit corporation, whose primary objective is to provide cultural enrichment through several community events that promote the performing, visual and literary arts, primarily through The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival and in the schools with numerous projects and scholarships for those students interested in pursuing art studies.

TWAC strives to create a better community through the arts. Dr. Maria Holmes, recently appointed as President of TWAC Board of Directors, believes that by experiencing the creative arts in the community, the quality of life is enhanced for all residents. “It creates another way for people to build community, it’s another way for citizens to have purpose and meaning in their hometown, no matter the age, heritage, or where their original home is; it brings us all together,” Holmes stated.

The Council establishes and supports meaningful art and cultural programs throughout The Woodlands, including youth mentoring and support programs, student art scholarships, art programs in kids’ schools, interactive workshops for seniors and retirees, special needs programs and sponsorship of public arts. TWAC continues to grow and gain recognition by coordinating The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival and the Art Bench Project.

The Art Bench Project

The Council is responsible for twenty Art Benches that have been commissioned and installed throughout our community, in partnership with The Woodlands Township as well as with the funding and vision of art patrons who sponsor each bench. Designed by local, national, and international artists, the Art Benches are permanent outdoor collections around The Woodlands Mall, Town Green Park and Hughes Landing. Currently, Phase IV of this project will feature three new Art Benches that will be located along The Woodlands Waterway.

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival

The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival is an annual and premier attraction. It is one of the top-ranked fine arts festivals in the country. The festival is made for the community by the community, and all the proceeds go back into the local arts, impacting the community while benefitting upcoming local artists.

“The festival is very competitive,” said Kelly Batterson, Event Director of the 2019 Festival. There are 800 to 1,000 artists that submit applications each year providing the community with the most beautifully creative art to select from. The review and final picks are made by a blind jury. The art pieces are judged solely on merit. Art teachers, art professionals, community members and volunteers constitute the jury and collectively choose over 200 artists for each festival. “It is a well-thought-out process, a fine-working machine,” added Batterson.

The members of The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival Committee worked hard to deliver a wide variety of artistic mediums including paintings, pottery, glass pieces, photography, jewelry, digital, furniture, clothing and much more. The attendees at the two-day outdoor festival were able to meet the artist, discuss and learn about their work, hear their stories and their artistic perspectives. That was possible because, as part of the festival’s requirements, the artists have to be present in their booth for their exhibition, making the experience for the visitors more dynamic and personal.

In 2019, TWAC added a new feature to the festival called, Spotlight on Mexico. This gave an element of freshness to this year’s 14th event. Holmes mentioned, “We want to have a more global presence in our arts festival. Each year, we are going to select a country and bring attention to their arts, their food, and music providing education of other cultures to our citizens.” An interactive living museum was set up inside the main gate of Town Green Park, capturing the richness and beauty of Mexico in every art form. Asociación Amiga was in charge of curating the exhibit; they are a nonprofit formed by female Latin American entrepreneurs with a broad sense of commitment for the community. Diana Ontañon, President of the organization said, “Art has no language, barriers or frontiers, the Spotlight on Mexico was a way of sharing our authentic Mexican culture and artifacts, and representing our country the best way possible.”

The festival is a family event; everyone enjoyed the artists’ displays, live music performances and exquisite food offerings. Younger attendees participated creatively in The Woodlands Children’s Museum special exhibits. “We have a little something for everybody, making or having art is the main focus. We are proud of it; we love our mission and want to cultivate it,” concluded Batterson. The next Arts Festival is scheduled for October 17th–18th, 2020.

Article by: Ana Beatriz Priego  |  Photography: Derrick Bryant

Staying Safe in the Texas Sun

Staying Safe in the Texas Sun

 

Sunscreen Tips to Stay “Sun Safe”

Sunlight is a part of our everyday summer, spring & fall life here in Texas, and I always recommend protective clothing and sunscreen on a daily basis. Here are some tips for this important skincare step that can help prevent brown spots, sun damage, deeper wrinkles and skin cancer.

 

What level of SPF should I use?

Make sure that your sunscreen is broad spectrum with transparent zinc oxide. This ensures that you protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun (which includes ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B.) The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a minimum of SPF 30 for daily use. SPF 30 blocks 97% of ultraviolet rays (UVB) and SPF 50% blocks 98%, so SPF 30 is sufficient.

SPF stands for sun protection factor. It tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 minutes longer to burn than if you were not wearing sunscreen.

 

How much sunscreen should I use and how often to reapply? 

To get the full broad spectrum of protection of your sunscreen, it is recommended that you apply one ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass full) all over your body. Reapplication every 2 hours is recommended, especially if you are outside all day.

 

Who needs to use sunscreen?

Everyone! Men, women and children over 6 months of age should use sunscreen every day. This includes people who tan easily and those who do not; your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime, whether you burn or not.

 

What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens?

Chemical sunscreens work like a sponge, absorbing the sun’s rays. They contain one or more of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, oxtisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.  Physical sunscreens work like a shield, sitting on the surface of your skin and deflecting the sun’s rays. They contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  I generally recommend the physical sunscreens as they are safer for the environment, better for sensitive skin and provide a great barrier to the harmful UV rays.

When should I apply sunscreen?

Every day! The best practice is to apply 30 minutes before going outside to allow the sunscreen to adhere to your skin. Reapply after every 2 hours of sun exposure and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.  Even when it is cloudy, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation reaches earth. Thus, going unprotected on an overcast day can lead to skin damage.

 

How can I protect my baby from the sun? 

Ideally, parents should avoid exposing babies younger than 6 months to UV rays. The best way to protect infants is to keep them in the shade as much as possible, and by wearing sun protective clothing. However, if sunscreen needs to be used, physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide formulated for infants will cause less irritation.

 

What type of sunscreen should I use?

The one that you will use! But, to further answer that question, make sure it offers broad spectrum protection and is at least SPF 30. If you are swimming, opt for one that is water-resistant (but you still need to reapply after 2 hours).

Available sunscreen options include lotions, creams, gels, ointments, wax sticks, and sprays.  If you use a spray, make sure that the product is widely used and recommended to ensure they are safe and effective. Current FDA regulations on testing do not apply to spray sunscreens.

 

What is UPF?

Ultraviolet protection factor is UPF, a label for clothing, hats, and fabrics that offer protection against UV rays. A shirt labeled UPF 50 allows 1/50th of the UV radiation to reach your skin.  There are many new fabrics that offer high tech protection and breathability, too.  Also, wearing UV blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them help as well.

Vitamin D and Sun Protection

While a small amount of Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to the sun’s UV radiation, the health risks of UV exposure, including skin cancer are great. The Skin Cancer Foundation advises for one to get their Vitamin D from items such as fish, fortified dairy products and cereals, and supplements.

 

Do not forget to live a “Sun Safe” life and use sunscreen, sun protective clothing and seek shade, but still enjoy this Texas summer!

 

Content provided by Dr. Anita Gill, The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology. Dr. Anita Gill is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA, which is linked to the world-famous Charity Hospital. She earned a prestigious dermatology residency at the Texas Medical Center at the University of Texas at Houston and the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center. She served as a chief resident in her final year of training. Before her residency, Dr. Anita Gill authored numerous publications during her research year in Dermatology. Together, with her husband, Dr. Paul Gill, a board certified plastic surgeon, they own The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology where they focus on quality and comprehensive cosmetic plastic surgery and dermatology.

The John Cooper School Signatures Author Series Features Maria Semple

An enthusiastic crowd of over 720 people were in attendance for the 15th Annual John Cooper School at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott featuring Maria Semple, internationally recognized bestselling novelist (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Today Will Be Different, This One Is Mine) as well as a producer and writer for television shows, 90210, Mad About You, Saturday Night Live, Ellen and Arrested Development.

The compelling event included an Antarctic 11-day cruise drawing prize and Warby Parker sunglasses signed by Maria Semple among other items. Another highlight of the event is the addition of visiting authors, 20 authors were in attendance this year, including numerous local authors. The funds raised from the Signatures Author Series will help fund the Montgomery County Memorial Library System to replace books lost due to Hurricane Imelda. Past events have featured authors such as Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Nicholas Sparks and Gillian Flynn.

“Lisa and I could not be more pleased with this 15th anniversary event,” said Malin Melin, who co-chaired the event with Lisa Hollingsworth. “Ms. Semple was both lighthearted and thought-provoking and was rounded out by Visiting Authors whose talents enhance our event every year. We are very grateful to the sponsors and many volunteers who create an experience to celebrate literature and authors in a festive atmosphere for a good cause.”

The John Cooper School is a college preparatory, independent school located in The Woodlands that has a current enrollment of 1,284 students in Pre-k through Grade 12. For more information please contact Deb Spiess at www.johncooper.org.

HOPE Under the Stars 2019

This past Winter, 600 guests filled the Grand Ballroom of The Woodlands Resort to raise funds and share the message of HOPE for The Will Herndon Research Fund at the 11th annual HOPE Under the Stars event. The guests experienced a genuine glimpse into the world of Will Herndon, a 16 year old Woodlands resident that has been battling a rare degenerative brain disease called juvenile Batten disease. The evening’s theme transformed the ballroom from black and white to a world full of color and HOPE. The transformation represented the hope and optimism personified by Will and his love for life. The event honored long-time supporters, Dr. Scott and Amy Young and corporate honoree, Waste Connections for their overwhelming support.  The event raised over $570,000 for research and funding for the anticipated clinical trial to begin in early 2020.
“The Woodlands community embraced Will as their own son and stood by our family, funding research and sharing prayers to help save our boy,” said Missy Herndon, Co-Founder of HOPE: The Will Herndon Fund. “After 11 years of support, awareness and fundraising, we are excited to share Will will be in a clinical trial in the coming month.”

For more information on juvenile Batten disease and the fight to Save Will visit www.willherndon.org or www.beyondbatten.org

Photography Courtesy Derrick Bryant & Jen McDonald

The Woodlands Fire Department

One interesting benefit of living in a community like The Woodlands, where land use and infrastructure are designed for optimal effectiveness and aesthetic appeal, is that generally things run so smoothly we are seldom aware of its working parts. Foundational services for public welfare, for example, are often taken for granted. Until we need them.   

The Woodlands Fire Department (TWFD) is one such entity. Born humbly in the early ‘70s with a handful of volunteer firefighters working from a trailer on Grogan’s Mill Road, the organization has continually risen to the many challenges of a changing industry and flourishing population. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. 

Today’s TWFD is a model emergency response task force, highly regaled and fully prepared for any need in the community. In fact, on the ISO (Insurance Services Office) scale of 1-10, which is the recognized measure of how well protected a community is by its fire department, TWFD has held the highest rating of ISO 1 since 2013. A feat less than one percent of all fire departments in the U.S. can claim. Less than one percent!  This level of achievement requires excellence in staffing, training, communications, community outreach, as well as strong, continued support from civic leaders.  

The Woodlands Township has long understood the importance of providing residents with the best possible emergency response services. “With an ISO 1 rating, The Woodlands Fire Department continues to be one of the elite departments in the United States,” says The Woodlands Township Chairman, Gordy Bunch. “Achieving this goal has not only kept pace with our growth, it helps hold our residential and commercial property insurance premiums at a manageable level. This is just one of many reasons The Woodlands is so special,” said Bunch. 

Line personnel at TWFD number well over one hundred these days, and they are no longer just firefighters.  They are career men and women of the highest caliber, cross-trained as EMTs, paramedics, and fully equipped with Advanced Life Saving technology and gear. They are on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Additional department teams specialize and train for response to hazardous materials calls, collapse, heavy, and high-angle rescue, swift water and trench rescue. Bolstered with a gleaming fleet of specialized engines, trucks, ambulances and rescue boats, TWFD is prepared for any fire, medical or rescue emergency. And with eight fire stations now in The Woodlands, typical response time is a reassuring 4.71 minutes.     

Station One on Grogan’s Mill Road is the communications hub for TWFD, as well as Montgomery County 911. Twelve round-the-clock dispatchers field emergency calls. During large community events like The Woodlands Marathon, or natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey, Station One’s large Fire Com room becomes command central. Numerous computers and large, elevated television screens with live feed from multiple locations allow emergency managers to work alongside one another, monitoring and directing conditions in real time. 

A 20,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Emergency Training Center near I-45 and Highway 242 facilitates the continually honed expertise of our firefighters. It is also the location for public education. Because safety begins with citizens, TWFD offers regular CPR, first aid, and fire prevention instruction to the community.   

Strong leadership by a succession of five fire chiefs has been key to the department’s success. After fourteen years of stellar management and direction, Chief Alan Benson retired earlier this year. A nationwide search for his replacement is underway, however Deputy Chief Doug Adams currently serves as Interim Fire Chief. 

Just as life these days is not as simple as it used to be, neither are our emergencies. TWFD Battalion Chief Jason Washington says, “We don’t get cats out of trees anymore, but if your house is on fire, if you think you’re having a heart attack or whenever there is a life at risk, The Woodlands Fire Department is fully prepared to respond.”

Photography Courtesy Derrick Bryant

Non-Traditional Holiday Celebrations

Courtesy of The Woodlands Hotel Management Co.

Whether you have family in town visiting or are just looking to start a new tradition this holiday season, here are some fun non-traditional ways to celebrate in The Woodlands during the holiday season. Consider escaping your home and getting away to a local hotel for your next family gathering where you can enjoy time with loved ones and make memories without all of the stress and distractions of hosting.

Holiday Traditions and Elf Tuck-ins at 
The Woodlands Resort
Celebrate the holidays at The Woodlands® Resort beginning with our annual Grand Illumination Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 29th. Enjoy an evening of family-friendly holiday cheer with live music and kids’ activities including a visit from Santa. Take your family photo in one of our holiday photo booths, and marvel at the lighting of the Resort’s exquisitely decorated 20-foot tree. Other community events include Breakfast with Santa and holiday brunches in The Woodlands Dining Room and Robard’s Steakhouse. Make it a holiday staycation, and weekend guests will be delighted with holiday movies, ornament decorating, letter-writing to Santa, and roasting s’mores. Treat the little ones to a special Elf visit to tuck them in at bedtime complete with storytelling, and milk and cookies. Visit WoodlandsResort.com to discover more.


Spectacular Rooftop Event Space on The Waterway
The new rooftop terrace on the pool deck of Como Social Club is one of the most chic and unique venues in The Woodlands. Overlooking the stunning Waterway, the stylish setting captures the ambiance and allure of Lake Como, Italy, and is the perfect backdrop for your next special event. Choose from an array of handcrafted cocktails, a selection of wines from our award-winning sommelier, and exceptional cuisine created by our acclaimed chef. From dream weddings and intimate family gatherings to holiday parties and corporate receptions, the skilled team at Como Social Club can help coordinate an event to remember. Call 281.419.4300 to book your site visit today. ComoSocialClub.com

Holiday Recipes: Festive Accompaniments

Courtesy of Charbonneau Interiors

Looking for the perfect side or cocktail to spice up your festive celebration this year?
Try one of these delectable recipes from local Woodlands establishments to liven up your Holiday.

Spiced Bourbon Manhattan

Courtesy of Robards

• 2 oz Maker’s Mark

• .5 oz Sweet Vermouth

• .5 oz Orange Liquor

• Dash of Ginger Bitters

  Pinch of Cinnamon

1. Stir the bourbon, vermouth, liquor and bitters well with cracked ice.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a pinch of cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Chips

Courtesy of Jasper’s

• 5 oz Yukon Gold Potato Chips

• 4 oz Danish Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

• 2 oz Danish Blue Cheese Crumbles

• 1 oz  Chives

Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Courtesy of TRIS, Chef Austin Simmons & His Team

• 3 large Sweet Potatoes

• 1.25 oz Lemon Zest

• .5 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• 1 tsp Kosher Salt

• 1 tsp White Pepper

• .5 can Coconut Milk

• Scallions or Mini Marshmallows for garnish

1. Wash & peel sweet potatoes.

2. Cook them in simmering water until a skewer can push through the other side.

3. While hot, use a whisk to smash and add in seasonings and coconut milk.

4. Garnish with toasted mini marshmallows or scallions.

Fairytale Pumpkin Soup

Courtesy of The Kitchen, Chef Austin Simmons & His Team

Available Seasonally at The Kitchen

• 12 oz Butter unsalted 

• 6 oz Shallots sliced.

• 5 oz Garlic sliced

• 4 sprigs Thyme

• 2 tbs Salt

• 2 tsp White Pepper, finely ground

• 7 grams Sugar

• About 5 lbs cleaned and diced Fairytale Pumpkin

• 2 qts Chicken or Vegetable Stock

1. Melt 4 oz butter in large 1.5 gallon pot, add shallots, garlic, thyme (tied in a sachet), salt, pepper
and sweat out, DO NOT caramelize. Shallots should be clear but still retain a small crunch but
not raw tasting.

2. Add butternut squash and toss with the cooked shallots, add stock and bring up to a simmer and
cook at a simmer until butternut squash is fully cooked.

3. Once butternut squash is cooked, remove the thyme and transfer soup to a blender.
Add the remaining butter to the soup while blending.

4. Garnish with toasted Pumpkins Seeds, Brown Butter and Chervil Pluches.

Holiday Treats to Bake and Give

Courtesy of Bake at 350, Bridget Edwards

One of my favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season is to bake up some sweet treats to give to friends and neighbors. Honestly, I’m always hoping to receive some as well!

Baking in large quantities can feel overwhelming, especially when your calendar is full of Christmas concerts, parties, shopping, and travel plans. With a little planning and a few simple recipes, putting together boxes of baked goods can be a joy. 

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Here are a few tips:

1. Plan to gift a variety of baked goods.
Include your family holiday favorites (snowballs, gingerbread, spritz) and a few simple, but delicious treats, such as a Ritz Cracker Toffee or Chocolate Ginger Cookies. 

2. Make ahead and freeze what you can.
Most cookies will freeze beautifully, including those fancy decorated cookies with royal icing.
Make a batch when you have time, then freeze until you’re ready to start packaging.

3. Bake your favorite quick bread for easy giving.
Find mini paper loaf pans at Container Store or Sur La Table.

4. Stock up on treat bags and ribbon.
Treats look nice when they’re in a variety of packaging within a box or basket.
They’ll stay fresher in smaller packaging, and opening them all is more fun!

5. Use gift tags to label each treat.

6. Always make a few extra for unexpected giftgivers who might show up at your door! 

Bridget Edwards and her family have lived in The Woodlands for over a decade. In addition to writing about all things sweet on her blog, Bake at 350 (bakeat350.net), she develops company recipes and contributes to The Pioneer Woman website. Her recipes have been featured by Martha Stewart and Bon Appetit, and she has appeared on the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda.

Elevate your Holiday Décor

Courtesy of Charbonneau Interiors, Nancy Charbonneau

Typical holiday colors are always nice to use in your holiday décor, but incorporating a mix of beautiful metallics can add a touch of glamour and sparkle that will make your home feel more lavish this holiday season. Copper, bronze, warm gold and antique silver are beautiful metallic tones to bring in to complement autumn colors. Adding in metallic elements adds to a surface for subtle reflection, warmth, and sophistication.

This table highlights warm colors of bronze, copper and antique silver. Candles immersed in metallic glitter set the tone for a beautiful table of fresh greens and flowers in the season’s colors.

This mantle, done in silver, gold and a metallic champagne are a soft reflection of the season. A touch of crystal was brought in to reflect the metallic surfaces. Adding in metallic ribbons and the lights from the garland enables the mantle to sparkle even more brilliantly. Take metallic accents outdoors also! This outdoor living mantle garland was adorned with silver metallic leaves and a fun metallic banner.

A Christmas tree adorned with silver and gold is a classic pallet for a beautiful reflection of the season, and can tie into other metallic elements in the home such as furniture pieces and lighting fixtures. Layering a combination of metallics together on a tree adds dimension and depth to the tree by providing a reflective source for light to play on.

We hope your season Sparkles!

Nancy Charbonneau is an award winning ASID interior designer who is passionate about connecting who her clients are to how they live in a beautiful and personalized way. Nancy has been involved in the field of Interior Design for over 25 years and has worked on numerous design projects around the world with her talented team. Nancy calls her trademark style eloquent, and is passionate about weaving grace and ease into every design.

Designing the Perfect Holiday Menu 

Article by: Chef Ruben Campos, Jasper’s The Woodlands 

Prime Rib for the Perfect Holiday Menu

Prime Rib is something that is not too traditional, but is a great way to impress, and feed a hungry crowd. Horseradish Sour Cream is a must.  I like to build around that with more traditional sides. Seasonal vegetables are a great start. I like to go with root vegetables in the winter (brown sugar glazed carrots, roasted parsnips, loaded baked potatoes) Getting the kids involved and teaching them family recipes is something to look forward to. We always had tamales in my house. Not so traditional, but a staple in my household, being from Houston, and the kids love to help with those. 

Setting the table with items passed down from generations is something special. Grandma’s placemats, table runners, crystal, were all things that I have seen that were passed down and at the table for the holidays. 

A centerpiece made with Poinsettias, small votive candles and maybe even adding some pinecones (also a staple in most of our yards) are great to use to give the table that traditional Christmas feel.  With the red already there, just adding some gold accents and some of those family heirlooms will make the table come together. 

*Content provided by Jasper’s The Woodlands
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