Tag Archives: McKinney Creative Community

Tuesday:) Toni Talks About McKinney

16 Jan

Small towns make up for their lack of people by having everyone be more interesting.     

Doris “Granny D” Haddock


McKinney feels like a small town even though it is growing by leaps and bounds. But, it still has that small town atmosphere. There are no strangers, just people you haven’t met yet. Hang out on the Square a while, and you’ll make new friends.

Monday afternoons, I go to the Senior Center for the country line dance. Growing up and spending nearly 50 years in the Chicago area, I know nothing about country music or dancing. Hey, you’re never too old to learn. Right? I’m learning. I’m having fun. Then, I stayed after for the group line dance instruction class.

No, I don’t wear boots and a cowboy hat, but it’s never too late.

After the dance and the instruction class, it was almost time to go to McKinney Creative Community over at the Cove. I was already on the east side, so I just hung around until 5:30.

This group of talented local artists, writers, musicians, and creative people meet the second Monday of every month for a pot-luck gathering, to share, care, and stare at one another. We usually have a wonderful guess speaker. This month, Rachel Reitan, provided a very interesting presentation on portrait art and the motivational and inspirational process of an artist. Fascinating!

It is so interesting to learn about other artists and their creative process. Rachel spends hours with her clients before and during their portrait painting session, learning about their life so she can express that feeling into the portrait. If you want a photo, take a photo. Don’t expect a portrait to look like a photo. If you want the heart and soul of a person reflected in a painted portrait, call Rachel Reitan. If you live somewhere far from McKinney, find a local artist to paint your special portrait.

I love living in my little town.

Tuesday:) Talking To The Artists~ McKinney Creative Community

14 Nov

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

~Coretta Scott King


Last night was our monthly McKinney Creative Community monthly pot-luck and gathering. Everyone is welcome, and the members and visitors are artists, writers, dancers, musicians, and pretty much anyone interested in sharing or learning creative endeavors. We gather at The Cove the second Monday of each month at 5:30, sharing food, drink, and all the wonderful

things happening in our world,

Our guest speaker was Amy Rosenthal, Main Street Program Director, who gave a wonderful presentation on the history of McKinney and how the community has changed over the past few decades. But, the exciting news Amy shared was that McKinney recently received the honor of being a Designated Texas Cultural District. She said that the local artists, musicians, etc. have been an integral part of making that honor happen.

The group did some brainstorming and making suggestions on how the arts community can participate and contribute to the growth of the city and how the city can help promote and support local artists. It was a very productive and inspirational meeting.

McKinney is a great place to live. I have been blessed with so many creative and talented friends.

Tuesday:) Talking Community

15 Aug

“It’s never too late to learn something new, live life to the fullest, or love with all your heart.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“If you believe you can make a difference, then you will make a difference. Believe in yourself, your family and your community and you will win.”

~Lindsay Fox


My little town is a big city with a small town atmosphere. McKinney Texas has grown exponentially in the fourteen years that I’ve lived here, but the people and the spirit of my friends and neighbors is still as charming as ever.

We have a bustling little artist community, too. Pretty much everyone knows everyone. I’m not just talking artists who paint on a canvas, but musicians, dancers, writers, entertainers, and all around free spirits.

The second Monday of every month, a fun and friendly group of above mentioned characters meet over at The Cove just north of the square for a potluck gathering. We share food and fellowship, laughter and ideas, but most of all, we share a special kind of community love. We love our town, and we support each other.

Yesterday, instead of a guest speaker, we had a basic “show and tell.” Just time to tell everyone what is going on in our lives, show recent projects, or talk about upcoming shows or classes. The best part is, everyone is so willing to help and promote the other. It’s like a family, without the sibling rivalry and drama.

Everyone is welcome. You don’t have to have a specific art or talent. Maybe you just want to learn something new or meet some really awesome people.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Talkin’ ‘Bout McKinney

11 Jul

“In a town full of smiles, love is surely the mayor.”

Anthony T. Hincks


There is so much to do in my McKinney that I could use a few extra days in the week to do all the things I’d like to do.

Yesterday was Monday. I always share my montage of pictures about my week on Monday. Let me tell you about a few things I did on my McKinney Monday.

I got up and walked for an hour and a half in the Texas heat. (Yep, I’m crazy,) When I got home, sat under the fan, drank ice waters and cooled off for a while, it was time to make the brownies. I always make brownies for our monthly McKinney Creative Community meeting. When I bake, I always make a double batch so I can share with my firemen friends. Before I knew it, was 5 o’clock and time to leave, making a couple of stops on the way.

First, I stopped at Station 9, just down the street. They’re always happy to see me.

Then, I felt guilty that I hadn’t been over to Station 2 for a while, so I stopped by there too.

Then, off to McKinney Creative Community potluck meeting over at The Cove. This is a wonderful networking group of artists, writers, photographers, dancers, milliners, and other creative folks that enjoy getting together to share. We share food, talk about what’s new and good in our lives, and our creative endeavors.

Our guest speaker was the talented Lauren Palmer, the creator and publisher of The Art of Living Beautifully magazine. She shares her love of McKinney and the wonderful people and activities that make up this terrific town.

Lauren told us all about the inspiration and perspiration involved in creating her on-line magazine. She was speaking to a room full of people who could thoroughly relate and feel exactly the same way.

If you’d like to check out her stories and hear a little bit more about McKinney…


I had to leave a little early at 7 to get over to a meeting at St. Peter’s just down the street. But, that’s an entirely other cool story to share about Empty Bowls. I’m saving that for another time.

Another fun busy day in McKinney.

Tuesday:) Talking Your Dreams Outloud

16 May

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.”

~A lan D. Wolfelt


Yesterday was our monthly McKinney Creative Community potluck gathering. We had a great turnout, fabulous food, and a talented guest speaker, Brooke Carter.

Brooke discussed her passion for baking from the time she was a little girl. Being raised in a loving Italian family where cooking, baking, and sharing were an every day event, she took that childhood passion and decided to pursue her dream.

If Brooke looks pretty young for such a talented and experienced baker, it’s because she is only in her twenties. But, she’s probably been baking for more than twenty years. Brooke told us all about her culinary studies and apprenticing in France, honing the art of foraging for local herbs and spices, incorporating unusual flavors in her culinary creations. Her eyes sparkled when she described the process of kneading the dough, getting her hands gooey, and using her sense of touch for the perfect bread dough. Her dad was proud to extol the praises of the young lady who was now taking her dream and making it a reality.

Currently, Brooke sells her delicious breads and pasties at the McKinney Farmer’s Market, but also caters events in the metroplex. Her wonderful creations are made with love, and locally grown organic ingredients.

Brooke Carter is hoping to open up a storefront bakery sometime in the near future where the aroma of fresh crispy breads and savory concoctions will fill the air. But for now, visit The Rosemary Bakery on Facebook or the website.


We have a wonderful supportive community here in McKinney. All are welcome to join us the second Monday of the month at The Cove at 5:30 pm. I guess that’s why it’s called McKINNEY CREATIVE COMMUNITY. Come join us!

Tuesday:) Talented People in McKinney

11 Apr

“I’m inspired by artists and musicians. There are so many wonderful and talented people in the world. I love discovering new music, new writers, or new art.”

~Alicia Keys


Yesterday, a group of wonderfully talented people met at The Cove in downtown McKinney for our monthly McKinney Creative Community potluck gathering. Local artists, writers, dancers, musicians, photographers, and other creative souls meet to share fun, food, conversation, and creative endeavors. We usually have a fun guest speaker who wows us with wonderful inspiration.

For our April meeting, our guest was Melissa Patrello, a talented, funny, and creative kinetic artist who told us how she got inspired to create puppets when volunteering at her children’s school, and turned her passion into a thriving business.

Melissa brought many of her amazing creations, and shared her creative process with us. By the time I left, I wanted to go home and make a puppet and start talking to myself in a high pitched monster voice.

McKinney Creative Community is a hidden treasure in our area, and well kept secret, but everyone is welcome to join us the second Monday of every month. Just bring a dish or snack to share, and be ready to make a lot of friends, have a fine meal, and be totally inspired.

(Thanks for sharing this photo Silky)


Wednesday:) When Unity Comes From Community

16 Nov

“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.”

Jean Vanier


The word “community” derives from the Old French comuneté, which comes from the Latin communitas “community”, “public spirit” (from Latin communis, “shared in common”).

Look closely at the word. What does it end with? Yes, UNITY. With unity, sharing and caring, these are the building blocks of any strong community.

We have been blessed here in McKinney with an extremely talented and generous arts community. As the city grows, so do the arts and activities available to residents. Sunday, I wrote a little bit about MAST, the McKinney Artist Studio Tour, which was amazing, by the way. But, today, I want to tell you a little bit about McKinney Creative Community.

I don’t remember the exact date that MCC started, but I remember being at the first brainstorming meetings for its creation. Michele Bernard and Tom Michero batted the idea around of having a monthly potluck get together for local artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives. The group has grown and evolved into a supportive and nurturing family of talented people who have only one goal… do what you love, love what you do, and share it with the world.

McKinney Creative Community is currently meeting the second Monday of the month at the Cove Art Gallery at 402 N Tennessee, just north of the square. We start with our pot luck around 5:30 or whenever you can get there. There are well over a thousand Facebook member and friends, so if you’re interested in a really warm and enthusiastic creative group to join, check out the Facebook page.

This month, our guest speaker was the talented and funny Sheri Bell. Sheri is an author, writer, editor and all around humorous lady. I think she should add stand-up comedy to her resume, but I think she’s already pretty busy.

Sheri talked to us about using “The Power of Story” to sell your art. Truth be told, most artists are great at creating wonderful art, but not so good at selling it or sharing it with the world. And another truth is, and if you’re an artist, you already know this, artists are constantly barraged with people and charities asking them to donate their work. Thus, the term, “Starving Artist.” Artists have trouble saying, NO.

The next big event is the Holiday Art Bazaar at Tupps Brewery on Dec. 2, from 12-9 pm. It’s a fun evening, plus, you get to drink beer. What a great combination. Cool art, crafts and cool beer.