HeARTbeat of Bryan Art Project

The HeARTbeat of Bryan Art Project was inspired by the 15th Anniversary of First Friday, which was celebrated on October 2, 2020. The HeARTbeat of Bryan Art Project showcases local artists and highlights the vibrant art community of Bryan. 


The Downtown Bryan Association worked with the Texas A&M University College of Architecture’s Fabrication Laboratory to make 15 4x4 feet wooden hearts and selected 15 local artists to paint the hearts. Artists were asked to draw inspiration from the arts, culture, and community of Bryan. Those selected artists are: 

Greta Watkins

So why do I paint toys, specifically Fisher Price Little People and Fisher Price pull toys?
We all seem to have a happy connection with these fun toys- memories of playing with them at Grandma's house, for instance. They just make me smile! You too, I hope. Lucky, the dog, is a huge favorite of mine. You'll get to see him often.

Notes about the nuts and bolts of the actual painting process:
I like to paint from observation, rather than a photograph. I will set up a still life of the figures, find or create little props or costumes, and arrange the lighting.

I prefer to start a painting on a toned canvas, often red, rather than a white one. I sketch in what I plan to paint, with charcoal, then start painting. I use Golden acrylics and a very limited palette of colors (titanium white, cad yellow, pthalo blue, pyrrole red- occasionally dioxazine purple and pthalo green, rarely black). I like the little pops of red that show up here and there in a finished painting. I finish them with a satin varnish.

I continue to paint other things too, some of which shows up here. Clouds are a current passion.​



LeAnn Hale

The Purple Turtle Art Studio’s is owned and operated by LeAnn Hale. LeAnn’s goal is to equip children with the tools of creativity so they can express themselves visually, with confidence.

I opened the Purple Turtle in the fall of 2000 and have been enjoying it ever since. Before the Turtle I taught the visual arts at Johnson Elementary School for five years. Previous to Johnson I worked for many summer art programs: Girl Scout Camp, Brazos Valley Art’s Council and Boy’s and Girl’s Club of the Brazos Valley . I also taught for two years at Art’s for Everyone, a non-profit program and later served on its board of directors. 

Purple Turtle Art Studio Students

The Purple Turtle Art Studio’s is owned and operated by LeAnn Hale. LeAnn’s goal is to equip children with the tools of creativity so they can express themselves visually, with confidence.



Jeremy Thompson

Beast Syndicate (BEAST) is the studio moniker of Texas-based graphic artist and printmaker Jeremy Thompson. Creating in the spirit of appropriation and customization popularized by the handmade zines of punk and other counter-culture movements, he draws inspiration from street art, skateboard graphics, post-war pop culture, and political propaganda. Born and raised in England, BEAST creates work that blends familiar visual references with subversive undertones, employing the distressed textures of print-making and everyday detritus as a metaphor for the decay of the so-called American dream. BEAST has been involved in a diverse selection of art shows and events across Europe, the USA, and in Australia, in a variety of mediums and themes, including street art, character design, skateboards, graphic design, and T shirts.

Cliff Collard

Hailing from rural Madison County, Cliff Collard began his tattooing apprenticeship in the fall of 1996 while attending the Sam Houston State University art program. Cliff learned to tattoo on the weekends. In August of 1999, after earning a degree in painting, Cliff dove into a full-time career in tattooing and never looked back. In May 2008 Cliff became the owner of Arsenal Tattoo and Design. With the art of tattooing ever-changing, Cliff continues to challenge himself artistically by creating one of a kind custom tattoos as well as creating in other mediums whenever he can find the time.

Inspiration for heart: "The inspiration for my heart is a couple who devote a lot of their love, time, and talent to Downtown Bryan.  Matt and Niki Shea are a vital part of the local music scene.  Aside from being in multiple bands, they are the founders of Loudfest.  Started in 2008, the three day music festival showcases over fifty local, regional, and national bands.  I wanted to thank these two for all that they do for our community."



Sarah Blackmon

Sarah Blackmon enjoys creating works that include nature but most of all she loves botanical pieces. Flowers and plants are seen in most of her work and she loves studying how unique and exquisite they are. She believes there is beauty in nature but most of all in the unplanned and unseen. Her murals can be seen in many locations in downtown Bryan and in many places in College Station as well. The artist spends most of her time being a full time mom when she’s not painting but she also is a sonographer who is privileged to scan the unseen. She loves spending time with her best friend and husband of 10 years.

Kaitlyn Dunn

Kaitlyn is an artist living in Bryan, Texas and an Aggie graduate Class of 2017. She dabbles in digital painting, mural painting, calligraphy, and social media graphics while inspired by the natural and created world around her. Kaitlyn often finds herself gravitating toward organic shapes and lines, playful colors, and whimsical textures. 



Charles Wallis

Charles Wallis is a graduate of the Baylor University fine art program as well as outside courses during high school. After college he opened a graphic design studio beginning his career as a professional artist and taught graphic design courses at Baylor University in the evenings while in business. He is a classically trained master painter. His painting reflect mastery of his craft and versatility in a variety of styles and media. He paints in a traditional realistic style, as well impressionistic and abstract. ARTISTS STATEMENT: My paintings reflect my environment and the natural world as well as scenes from around the world. I pursue Ideas, color combinations or images that attract my attention in the abstract; or as an impression; and some paintings are just for the fun of presenting something in an unusual manner.

Lisa Urban

Lisa Urban is a local artist who is interested in all things knitting! Her surrealistic oil paintings with knitted forms have been seen all over town, including at the Village, Art of War Sake Bar, and the former Riddle Gallery.  Lisa moved to the area 7 years ago to participate in the "Navasota Artist-in-Residence" program and decided to make Bryan her home after. She is currently the art teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School and also works part time at the Frame Gallery in downtown Bryan. She is also the co-founder of the local artist group, Bryan Contemporary Artists, and owns her own business selling handdyed yarns.

Inspiration for heart: “My inspiration came from my love of Downtown. When I first found myself in Texas, that very first weekend I got to visit the Village and the Parker Astin Art Center. Seeing the creative energy around me made me fall in love. Over time I’ve come to love even more parts of Bryan, and along with that, I’ve come to knit in many, many places. Each place in those scene, while “iconic” to downtown Bryan, is also a place I’ve knit, and that, for me, is inspiration. “


Hailey E. Herrera

I am a watermedia artist who works in watercolor, watercolor batik, ink, and acrylic. I love the watercolor medium for the layering, colors, and transparency which appeal to my sense  of spontaneity. My watercolors are vibrant, bright, and rich with wonderful depth and tonal ranges. I have earned signature memberships in the top watercolor organizations in Texas.  I am one of a selected group of 30 Texas artists for the Art of Texas Park project and received official acknowledgement as “Centennial Painters” by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. With abounding color and vibrant beauty, my art has found a home in many private and public collections. I am not content with one style but want to evolve continually. I love to enrich my creativity and artistic vision through continued experimentation.

Krislyn Koehn

Krislyn Koehn is an artist working in charcoal and digital media. Her black and white work challenges our ideas of power and wonder through themes of nature, childhood, and weather. She draws inspiration from her experiences living throughout Australia, Europe, and the American west. Kirslyn completed her MFA at Texas A&M University in August 2020. Her collaborative 360 VR film #IRL premiered at the 2020 Ivy Film Festival. Krislyn’s traditional media pieces have exhibited across Texas and the US. She currently serves as the artist in residence for downtown Bryan, Texas.


David Sites


My travels as a billboard pictorial artist allowed me to observe the ever-changing landscape. The way the colors of a landscape would vary from sunrise to sunset. Fleeting clouds would cast the land in cool shadow. Clouds would sometimes group together and settle in a valley or skim a mountaintop. All of these different atmospheres create direct emotional powers of their own. 

I simply rely on memory, imagination and intuitive senses as reference to capture an impression of a landscape. The emotion that a landscape creates is my inspiration for what and how I paint. The process begins with several colorful gestured brush strokes from my limited palette of five colors. Working quickly I add random splashes of color onto the surface of the painting allowing the paints to flow and mix together. At this point the piece appears uncontrolled, almost abstract. I then rely on my imagination and intuition to determine the direction the painting will take. This is when I decide what needs to be removed, added, scraped, blended or softened to guide the piece to completion. 

My painting style give my artwork a suggestive quality. I invite the viewer to use their imagination. A long stroke of blue violet in a background may be perceived as a line of trees. A soft blend of color might suggest a meadow or a vista of water. I strive to portray the essence of unspoiled land and to create a scene as intimate and personal to the viewer as possible. 

Jane Sherman

Artist bio coming soon! 


Maria Leyva

Artist bio coming soon! 

Letitia Alston

Artist bio coming soon!