Marilyn Dickey co-founded the Sugar Land Art Center & Gallery in 2006. Marilyn Dickey co-founded the Sugar Land Art Center & Gallery in 2006.[/caption]

The Sugar Land Art Center & Gallery has dedicated its resources over the last nine years to foster a creative environment for children and the elderly to learn and produce art.

“The mission has always really been to provide an inspiring atmosphere for the creative individual, including children and the elders in the community,” said Crystal Bradbrook, executive director for the Sugar Land Art Center & Gallery. “Our heart is to help the children and the elderly and give them lessons.”

Local artists Marilyn Dickey and Kip Dornhorst co-founded the art center in 2006 as a painting studio in Stafford where aspiring artists could come together to paint with family and friends.

Since its launch, the nonprofit organization has expanded upon its original mission and is also a venue that also displays the art of Fort Bend County artists to the general public.

Shortly after opening, Dickey and Dornhorst relocated the art center to a larger facility in Sugar Land to have the necessary space to provide art lessons for students.

The nonprofit hosts seasonal camps, such as its summer kids camp, to continue to expand its reach in Fort Bend County. The art center has more than 10 instructors teaching classes that focus on teaching children and adults techniques for an array of mediums, including painting with oil and acrylics, pastels and watercolors.

“Any child could sit and look at a painting of a tree and think it is just a tree,” Bradbrook said. “But a child who has had art lessons would look at [the painting] in another light, and they would see the value.”

The art center also showcases a studio gallery featuring select works from Fort Bend County artists. Each artist must go through an application process to have his or her work featured; however, not every artist is accepted. Bradbrook said the application process helps maintain a standard of quality in the gallery.

“We have rejected folks in the past, but I would not say that is a negative thing because [applicants] can always come back,” she said. “It may not be the place for them to be at right now, [but] they can come see us again in
a year.”