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The Story

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Every time I head up the walkway to the Art House, I can feel the creative energy in the air. From the fluttering prayer flags to the mosaic steps, everywhere I look there’s something cheerful to see.

With its big front porch and colorful, natural landscaping, the 129+ year-old building seems to be calling, "Welcome! Come on in."

Whether you’re young or old, a seasoned artist or looking to dabble, there’s something for everyone here.

The spectrum of classes is broad: Pottery wheel and sculpture, drawing and painting, fabric art, home school classes and more. There are summer camps, workshops, family art drop-in and parents’ night out. Over 200 students flow through the Art House each week, taught by 14 artist teachers, some award winning. The idea is simple: They teach what they make.

Here is the story that was published on Voyage Dallas in Feb 2024.

McKinney Art House, established in 2005 by Artist Sona Knox, serves as a vibrant hub for artists in McKinney. Sona Knox envisioned a nurturing space where she could teach, create, and foster artistic expression without the constraints of a traditional business model. In January 2005, she transformed a historic house on Kentucky St. into The McKinney Art House, a haven for creativity just blocks from downtown McKinney’s square. Over the years, the Art House has evolved into a community-driven initiative, welcoming artists to conduct their classes and utilize studio space. Despite changes in ownership, the essence of the McKinney Art House persists, embracing local artists and expanding its support network.

What sets the Art House apart is its community-driven ethos, where a diverse array of creative artists, including nationally recognized figures, independently lead classes and utilize studio space. The original McKinney Art House, a 132-year-old historic landmark, expanded in 2015 with the addition of a studio apartment extension. This extension provides living quarters for a resident artist upstairs, while downstairs serves as space for personal artwork and teaching classes.

Furthermore, through collaboration with McKinney city development processes, an adjacent building at 501 N Tennessee Street, built in 1900, has been integrated into the Art House umbrella. This addition includes a new pottery studio known as “the Pottery Barn studio,” boasting a barn-style construction completed in 2022. Together, as McKinney Art Village, encompassing over 6000 sqft of studio space across five buildings, we offer private art studios and a diverse range of art and pottery classes catering to individuals of all ages.

Our offerings include weekly sessions, summer camps, date nights, family outings, parties, workshops, and homeschool classes, fostering a dynamic and inclusive artistic community in McKinney.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Despite the inevitable bumps along the road, I must acknowledge that the challenges we’ve encountered aren’t uncommon in our community. One significant hurdle arose during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, compelling us to temporarily close our studios at McKinney Art House. This posed hardships for several artists, for whom the Art House served as their primary source of livelihood. However, we adapted creatively by transitioning to online classes, which proved to be successful. Thankfully, after a few months, we resumed operations with stringent safety measures such as proper mask protocols and social distancing.

The Art House experienced a resurgence, seizing the opportunity to expand into new adjacent buildings and accommodate more artists in the community between 2021 and 2023. Consequently, our facilities now collectively form the McKinney Art Village. Today, we take pride in our role of supporting artists in various unique art forms, with many of them possessing their own studios within the McKinney Art Village. They utilize these spaces to impart their expertise to both children and adults, fostering a vibrant and inclusive artistic community.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The essence of McKinney Art House extends far beyond any individual ownership; it embodies a collective creative space for numerous artists. As proprietors of the historic property, we provide a common umbrella for artists to converge and operate their individual enterprises. Our commitment extends beyond mere upkeep; it’s about facilitating a community where artists can thrive independently. Our involvement isn’t driven by business income; rather, it’s a way for us to actively contribute to the artistic landscape without profit as our primary focus.

Proceeds generated from studio rents are reinvested back into the Art House, enhancing the offerings available to all artists. We maintain a discrete boundary between our personal and professional lives outside of this endeavor. The existence of McKinney Art Village is a testament to the collaborative effort of diverse artists coming together to cultivate a vibrant artistic community.