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Art, Culture, and Connection: Exploring McKinney's Cotton Mill


Robin Pedrero with her artwork
Robin Pedrero with her artwork

My husband and I would drive over from Frisco to visit the McKinney Historic Downtown Square frequently, enjoying all its shops, restaurants, events and culture. We would pass by the McKinney Cotton Mill and my thoughts were always “that building could be an incredible place for artists”, like the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria Virginia. Or the art gallery and studio I was in Sanford Florida, Gallery on First with Jeanine Taylor Folk Art. Or FAVO in Orlando, the motel art studios I had a studio in before moving to Texas.


 I joined art groups in our surrounding area of Frisco, The Visual Arts Guild of Frisco, (VAGF), and VALA (Visual Arts League of Allen). I participated in juried exhibitions, and my first one with VALA brought me to exhibit in the McKinney Cotton Mill. I met the VALA President Christine Atkins who shared with me that artist studios were being built in another area of the Cotton Mill. Each time I had a show there I would peek over at the construction of those studios. Secretly hoping that someday I might be there, even though it was a drive from my home.


While still wearing covid masks, I joined a co-op gallery in McKinney called LAST Art Gallery where I began to develop relationships with local artists. We had work shifts and I had an opportunity to work in the gallery with photographer Aimee Woolverton. She was fashionable and had cool sunglasses. Aimee was great to work with as she was excellent with customers and business. She mentioned that there were classes, events and studios at Millhouse in the Cotton Mill. Another remarkable award-winning artist, Jenny Tomlinson told me about MAST which is the McKinney Art Studio Tour. I really wanted to be a part of MAST however I lived 40 minutes away in Frisco Texas. After a shift at the gallery, I spontaneously went to the Cotton Mill to look for studio space to be in MAST.


 

Robin's first studio space at Millhouse
Robin's first studio space at Millhouse
 

I walked by the vibrant murals into the building finding a flurry of people moving furniture as they were preparing to knock out a wall that week. The large room on the left was gorgeous, with black and white designs, contemporary furnishings, and art!  Beth Beck showed me an open studio space. I immediately signed the lease handed to me by Aimee.  Dr. Beth Beck and Aimee Woolverton are sisters and the Founders of Millhouse McKinney and Millhouse Foundation.  They are creative, inspirational leaders. When I returned with my husband to look at my space and decide what I would bring from my home studio, we decided to get two adjacent studio spaces. Yeah, I have a lot of “stuff”, of which I am sure many artists reading this can relate. Millhouse McKinney has co-working spaces for entrepreneurial and creative women. After settling in my studio space I learned that Millhouse Foundation creates programing, art events, mural fests, and more for everyone in the community.

We sold our home and moved to McKinney. I took part in my first ARTS FEST, a Millhouse Foundation indoor festival. It was amazing, I gained so many new art collectors that I continued to participate in more events.  I created a mobile mural during Mural Fest that our Mayor’s wife, musician Maylee Thomas, got the winning bid and now has my work in their home. The next year my mural design was selected, and I painted a mural right on the Cotton Mill exterior wall, where you can see murals painted by men and women during all of the mural fests.


L. Beth with Artist, Aaron Hunt, at Arts Fest M. Arts Fest Photographer John Lightle R. Dan Wolf Wood Designs at Millhouse Makers Market 


Millhouse Foundation
Millhouse Foundation

Millhouse Foundation has both Fine Art Fests and Second Saturday Makers Markets indoor events at the Cotton Mill. I am proud and excited to be the curator for the Postcard Exhibit that will be the first TAE/PAE event to select the funding to support artists. The Millhouse Foundation programs, events and opportunities developed for all artists to build their businesses and careers are making a difference for so many. I am excited to show the world what is going on here at Millhouse McKinney and Millhouse Foundation and to be the host for this most incredible exhibition.


If you haven't registered for Postcard Art Exhibit 2024 yet, please do it soon! You can register on this page https://www.postcardartexhibit.com/event-details/postcard-art-exhibit-2024-texas, scroll down to the bottom and click [+1] to register 1 person and then click the check out button. It's free to to register.


Thank you for supporting us!


Robin Maria Pedrero

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Your story of how your love of art prompted you to become involved with different galleries and art groups is inspiring baseball 9

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Your journey from admiring the potential of the McKinney Cotton Mill to becoming a part of the vibrant artistic community there is truly inspiring. It's wonderful to hear how your passion for art led you to join various art groups and galleries, ultimately connecting you with fellow artists and opportunities like MAST.

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