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Jan 22

Q & A with Inspired Minds Art Center

Posted on January 22, 2021 at 4:09 PM by Gabriela Moore


Susan Guerra and Sinead Whiteside, founders of Inspired Minds, sitting on couch inside the center
Inspired Minds Art Center
 was founded by Sinéad Whiteside (right) and Susan Guerra (left) in 2019. Located inside the old city hall, the center serves as the art hub for the City of Buda by offering art classes in all mediums, an art gallery, and community theater. 


Q: How did you get into art?

Sinead: I’ve always loved art; always been that kid doodling in class. In high school I was the art kid who lived in the art room. I would find ways to get out of calculus so that I could go work on something in the art room and somehow they always let me. I would show up 30 minutes late to class and I’d say, “oh I was working on a sculpture” and they’d be fine with it. 
Susan: Um. Didn’t? I don’t have a background in art, but I’ve always enjoyed things in fiber arts like knitting and crocheting. I lean towards things that are pretty but useful. Sinead would say I am an old lady trapped in a young lady’s body.  


Q: When did the idea for Inspired Minds Art Center begin?

Susan: Sinead and I met at The YMCA’s  homeschool PE class in 2013. It’s hard to get extracurriculars in the homeschooling community  like art and music; they are expensive and you have to really track them down. We put out a survey to the homeschool community asking what extracurricular subjects they would be interested in and the number one response by 90% was art. Everybody wanted art instruction.


Q: Once you had this grand idea of an art space, when did you decide to make it become a reality?

Sinead: Down the street from me is a friend of mine who is a fantastic artist. She had a day job but all she wanted to do was make and sell art full-time but she just couldn’t make a living doing that. A few doors down from her is a guy who was building sculptures in his garage. He had a day job but this was his way of relieving stress. We got to talking and he was saying how he really just wanted a community of artists. I said you know, a few doors down from you is an amazing painter. They lived next to each other for 15 years and never met! I couldn’t stop thinking that something has to happen because how many more artists live here and don’t even know each other but are really looking for that kind of community. So the idea was that artists could make a living by teaching classes and showing their work in a gallery and the community would benefit from it because they have these amazing art classes, a gallery of local art work, and cultural things in the community. I finally called Susan and told her, “I’m going to do this, will you please partner with me?’’ She said, “I don’t know anything about art”, but I told her “I don’t need anybody who knows about art, I need someone who knows about business.” She called me back a few days later and was like, “alright, I’m in!”


Q: So, how is IMAC uniquely Buda?
Sinead: I’ve heard so many stories of how Buda was an artsy hippie town back in the 70s, so there is already an art current here and it’s so ripe for a regeneration as a cultural hub. Buda still has a small town feel that really focuses on local, and so do we. I see Buda in every aspect of this place.
Susan: Yeah, even down to the glazing on the doors that still say
City of Buda — that’s on purpose. We like that this building has history, plus it’s symbolic to us for the support the City of Buda has for this project. When we did the proposal [for the use of the old city hall building], Sinead did a search-and-find in the City of Buda’s master plan documents for the word “art” and it was all throughout it. It’s like it was written for what we were wanting to create. 


Read this story and many others in the first ever edition of the Buda Travel Lifestyle Magazine! Click below to read the digital copy or request a copy of your own by emailing us at tourism@ci.buda.tx.us Print copies will be available in early February and are available while supplies lasts!


Buda Travel and Lifestyle Magazine cover