Former Taylor Co. inmate finds passion for art through ‘ArtReach’ program


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Center for Contemporary Arts is giving folks a chance to put brush to canvas as part of their ‘Art Like a Local’ class.

Classes will be taught by a different local artist each month. Many similar to Ruth Jackson, who for years has been helping hidden artists reach their full potential.

“Everybody tells me that I have a heart the size of a giant, but you know, it’s Ruth Jackson’s fault,” said Artist Kevin Arguello.

Arguello wasn’t always this way and neither was his art.

“She helped define my artwork, like instead of using all hard lines, you could use soft lines and just let it flow back onto the paper,” said Arguello.

Years ago, Kevin Arguello sat in Ruth Jackson’s art class where he learned that putting pencil to paper doesn’t just take technique, but the use of life lessons.

“I went every week for 9 or 10 years,” said Jackson.

Jackson’s class was at the Taylor County Jail, where Arguello was an inmate at the time.

“I got arrested for possession of marijuana,” said Arguello. “A friend of mine came to visit me and I remember her starting to cry and tear up, and I could see my reflection in her eye ball and with the bars behind me and the tear running down her eye, I went right back to my cell and I sketched it.”

Soon the lines weren’t just marks on the paper, but illustrations to his story.

“It made me put hard lines down and then not cross them, and then put the soft lines down and jump back and forth,” said Arguello.

Today, Ruth isn’t just Arguello’s former teacher, but someone who gave him a different perspective.

“Through my art, I’ve found a better way, and since then I have not been back,” said Arguello.

ArtReach is just one of the Center’s programs, another, which begins Sept. 18, is ‘Art Like a Local.’

Those classes are open to anyone and can be signed up for on the Center for Contemporary Art’s website.

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