Oil and Cotton opened in September 2010. Blending an appreciation of the past with current multidisciplinary art practices, our students are invited to engage in the expressive languages of both music and visual art. Our hands-on classes are taught by professionals with knowledge of traditional and contemporary practice. We provide creative space for education, exhibition, performance and exchange between the public and the art community.
Owners and instructors, Shannon Driscoll and Kayli House met while volunteering for the Better Block, a neighborhood improvement project that included a free public art studio. Shannon had been working as an art conservator of works on paper as well as teaching adult workshops in traditional handcrafts and materials-based projects. Kayli was a piano teacher and children’s arts curriculum writer who had recently relocated to Dallas to raise a family. The community response to the Better Block studio was positively overwhelming. Neighbors of all ages came into the space to create together using a variety of donated materials with guidance from area artists. The synergy was perfect. Encouraged and assisted by our friends and neighbors, we decided to make our temporary outpost permanent.
We place a high value on the resourcefulness within ourselves and are dedicated to doing things the old-fashioned way. Whether it is through the reuse or repurposing of materials, like turning fallen walnuts into archival ink, or by accepting the possibilities of what can be created by hand, we honor the pioneering spirit of our elders and the character of our community.
Oil and cotton are natural resources of Dallas, Texas, and also the foundation of the most basic art materials. Oil is a binder in paint and inks. The binder imparts adhesion, binds the pigments together. Cotton is used to produce textiles such as canvas and paper. We believe the arts, like most natural resources, are essential for our survival and quality of life, and we envision a community where all its members can access the arts, make with their hands, speak up with their creative voices, and connect with their neighbors.