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NXS showing off artistic talent downtown

Lena Spencer discusses her new NXS Contemporary Art Gallery during a recent artist reception. (eParis Extra photo by Jeff Parish)
Lena Spencer discusses her new NXS Contemporary Art Gallery during a recent artist reception. (eParis Extra photo by Jeff Parish)

The NXS Contemporary Art Gallery has opened its doors downtown.

“It’s been a life dream,” owner Lena Spencer said during a recent artist reception. “When all the artists came, and we got the artwork up, it was like, ‘OK, it’s a gallery.’”

Spencer said the name, which is pronounced “in excess,” came to her when she found the word means to go beyond normal boundaries.

“I thought it would be a great name for a contemporary art gallery because they are always going beyond the normal boundaries,” she said. “It’s things that are avant garde, fresh, new and out of the ordinary.”

The show included Spencer’s artwork, as well as that of photographers Ginger and David Cook; Pati Dye, a mixed-medium sculptor who teaches at Texas A&M University-Commerce; painter Susan Moore; sculptor Nathan Porterfield; and painter Drita Tomaj. NXS is located at 102 Clarksville St.

“I think it’s so neat,” said Ann Tschoerner, who works in pottery and ceramic sculpture. “She’s been working on it since November. She’s done a great job. Paris needs more art.”

Artwork ranged from ceramics to paintings to photographs to mixed media sculpture. Conversations wound through the crowd about technique, medium worked in and why artists used various materials, such as Dye’s “My Mother’s Garden,” which used cotton batting and waxed string in a bell jar that symbolized her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

“This is a great place Lena has set up,” said David Cook, used to run the Gallery on First Street with his wife, Ginger Cook. “We missed this environment. It’s a great opportunity for people to show their work. There aren’t a lot of places in Paris to show what you’re doing.”

The reception was just the beginning. NXS is accepting entries for its upcoming “Rhythm & Jazz” juried art show, which will run March 7 to April 7. Entries are due by Feb. 20. There is no entry fee, although participants are limited to three artworks each.

“We’re going to have painting parties on Saturday nights,” Spencer said. “We have a theme. You bring our own beverages and snacks, and we get together and have fun. It’s not real formal.”

She also plans to offer workshops and activities during the summer. A North Lamar High School art teacher, Spencer has bachelor’s of fine arts from Texas A&M University-Commerce and a master’s in education with an emphasis in art. She is an active member of Texas Arts Education Association and Paris Area Arts Association.

“She’s got a good place to put her art students’ work up,” David Cook said. “We hosted her students work for two years at our gallery.”

That is exactly one of the reasons Spencer wanted to open her own gallery. She also wanted an environment that could show students that art is more than just the creation; artists also have to be marketers and salesmen. She also hopes to promote the arts in the community through a variety of contemporary art mediums as well as develop new, emerging talent from the area and youth.

“I want to provide a place for the kids to make the transition from working in the classroom to meeting people in the community,” she said.

For more information, visit the NXS Contemporary Art Gallery website at www.nxsgallery.com or call 903-272-4639.

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