We had the good fortune of connecting with Macy Holloway and Natalie Ledyard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Macy & Natalie, what do you want your legacy to be?
More than anything, we want to create a safe space for children to come and be able to freely and wholly express themselves through art. We are obviously here to teach early childhood art and all that the subject entails — but almost more importantly than that, we want to encourage and foster each child’s confidence. We try to be extremely intentional about everything we say and do and hope that it translates over to our students. Even something as small as referring to our students as “young artists” and not using any kind of cutesy terms or even using “little artists” to label them. We would never want to unintentionally diminish them or their artwork in any way because we truly believe what they think and choose to say through their art is just as valuable as what any adult artist thinks and creates — our students just happen to be very young. Art is all about trying new things and taking risks and that simply comes more easily or naturally to some than it does to others. We just want to emphasize to our students that there are no wrong answers when it comes to art and really build our young artists up as much as possible. We want these kids to remember our camps, classes and workshops as a happy place where they not only have the freedom to openly share who they are and whatever is on their mind, but to also be warmly accepted and celebrated for that. Art is for everyone!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Cowtown Kids Art Academy was an idea that we came up with as two moms, artists and art educators who saw a need for fun, high-quality children’s art camps in Fort Worth. We have been good friends for several years and both have similar backgrounds and interests, so starting a children’s art camp or studio of some sort had been lightly tossed around over time, but it wasn’t until this spring that we decided to really go for it this summer and launched our (now sold out) Cowtown Kids Art Academy camps for ages 3-10. We’ve now extended our offerings to include children’s classes and family workshops and have already booked preschool, homeschool and community events into the fall.

Natalie studied Art Education at TCU and worked as an elementary art teacher for years, while also juggling a custom watercolor business (Natalie Ledyard Art). Macy studied Apparel Design and Manufacturing at Texas Tech and completed an alternative teaching certification program for art (early childhood-12th grades) after college. She spent many years in the retail industry in visual merchandising management and later worked at a local marketing and advertising agency, while also offering private elementary art tutoring. Even though we both grew up in Fort Worth and have countless mutual friends and acquaintances, we never knew each other until our daughters started dancing at the same studio when they were 2 years old. A friendship formed and the rest is history!

Of course there were challenges in the beginning when we decided to form Cowtown Kids Art Academy — figuring out themes and projects, age groups and just overall logistics — but the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received has made it all worth it. We really wanted to focus on individualized, small-group lessons, but also wanted to share our love for art with as many children as we could — so we really had to figure out how to balance that and make it work. We are enthusiastic about our brand and business and, of course, just want to make everybody happy — so we never enjoy turning anyone away from a full session. We hope to continue to grow and be able to accommodate as many young artists in our community as we can in the future. We’ve learned so much already and still have a lot of fun tricks up our sleeve and exciting announcements to come!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, we have 5 kids, ages 5 and under, between the two of us — so most of our friends’ lives and certainly our own worlds revolve around our children. So, a fun day for us would be spent enjoying some of our favorite kid-friendly places in Fort Worth! We love to spend our mornings at the Kimbell Art Museum visiting Studio A — an adorable drop-in play space inside the museum — and follow that with a picnic outside on the lawn of the Piano Pavilion. We would then probably swing by Hurley House for a quick pick-me-up — our kids’ favorite sprinkle cookies and a coffee for us moms! Our afternoons would likely be spent exploring our world-class Fort Worth Zoo or the expansive Fort Worth Botanic Garden — which currently includes an incredible natural sculpture by Patrick Doughtery called “Stickwork”. After that, we would head to Zoli’s for a delicious pizza dinner and a space for our kids to run and play to wrap up our adventurous day.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We both grew up in Fort Worth and actually both took after-school art classes in elementary school at a local children’s studio — the original Van Grow art studio that was on Vickery Blvd. in the 90s and is no longer in business. It was such an inviting place and the teachers and atmosphere made a big impact on both of our childhoods and our love of art. We would love to dedicate this shoutout to that studio and to all of the art teachers out there, who are making a difference whether they realize it or not — and to our own children, who continue to inspire us everyday.

Website: www.cowtownkidsartacademy.com

Instagram: @cowtownkidsartacademy

Facebook: Cowtown Kids Art Academy

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