Everyone can be an artist at ArtLab

Brevard resident opens community-focused art workspace to encourage her community to get creative

BREVARD —Cindi Spillman is a firm believer that anyone can create art.

Inspired by her mother, Spillman is opening ArtLab, an art workshop in downtown Brevard, on Oct. 27 to prove to her community that anyone can be an artist.

“I hope the community gets out of this that they have a place to go to find their inner artist,” Spillman said.

Her mother, Brenda Galloway Spillman, always encouraged her to pursue a life in art, but her mother was turned off from making art herself after her elementary school teacher said she “wasn’t good at art.” As her mother was recovering from surgery, Spillman took her watercolor supplies to the rehab center and kept her company. One day, she talked her mother into making her own creation.

“As she was recovering from her knee replacement, we started dabbling with watercolors, and she just became more and more overjoyed by something that she thought she couldn’t do,” Spillman said.

Her mother passed away in March 2016 after battling ALS, and Spillman decided it was time to pursue a career and give back to her community of Brevard.

“In the back of my mind, it’s always been keeping a promise to my mom at my age to have a career in the arts and have this be what I do,” Spillman. “It’s a way to give back to the community I love. I’ve been coming to Brevard since I was 3 years old. My roots are in Transylvania County very deeply. It’s nice to be back in the small town where people know each other. I really believe as I talk to more and more people as we get closer to our opening that this will be a great place for the community to gather.”

Although her mother isn’t here to see ArtLab, her memory is alive with paintings by her in the living room.

“She would have loved it here,” Spillman said. “I was doing practice classes a few weeks ago, and one cousin walked in and said ‘your mother would have loved this.’ She’s very much a part of the spirit here.”

Spillman said one component of ArtLab will be collaboration of different forms of art — from poetry to yoga — which is how she came about the concept and name of ArtLab.

“I love art,” Spillman said. “I’m a science nerd. There’s a lot of science in art. There’s all sorts of overlapping. The main idea is to experience with creativity.”

She said she’s always looking for ways to grow her knowledge and hoping the community feels a similar sentiment.

“I’m always interested in what can I learn next,” Spillman said. “What don’t I know? What do I think I know but I don’t really know? What ways can we expand our knowledge but can connect people? I’m really excited. There’s a lot of potential and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Her main goal is to bring together the community whether it’s through businesses supporting each other or bringing together different people who have a common interest — learning art.

“There’s a lot of angst in the world,” Spillman said. “I sincerely hope that this place can be a place that we can learn about how we’re more alike as people and come together as a community.”