Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

January 4, 2013

Lenz family moves here from Dallas to create art venues

Athens — Think about it: What on earth would cause a young savvy couple to even consider giving up the cultural richness, diversity, and convenience of Dallas for a little town like Athens?

Longtime Athens residents Michael and Catherine Lenz made just such a leap in the early 1990s, when Michael left a successful job as a hair stylist in a famous salon in Dallas, and decided to open a salon of his own in Athens – Catherine's  hometown.

Interestingly, a key clue to why the Lenzes left the profitable “high road” of urban sophistication for the “low road” of small town life, is hidden in the name of “Athens.”

Harkening back, in its name, to the time-honored cultural center of ancient Greece, Athens was clearly never intended to be just another sleepy little town in East Texas.

The thoughtful way Athens is laid out, with its broad roads and amazing architecture, clearly indicate that a lot of thought (and money) went into founding/developing Athens.

In fact, ask around and you find out that art, music, and theater have been flourishing in Athens “forever.”

When Michael and Catherine Lenz moved to Athens in 1993, Michael right away noted that there was “an energy” in Athens which was simply begging for expression. 

Fueled by their shared passion for the arts, in addition to opening up Agape Salon, Michael and Catherine took it upon themselves to try and create art venues which could tap into Athens' creative wellspring.

The Agape Warehouse was the Lenz's first enterprise, followed by The Agape Tea House, and then later The Image Warehouse. 

The concept of play, as a powerful and necessary creative force, was an important part of each of these venues.

The fearless courage to play, to experiment/ explore/create, within an environment which, while breathtakingly-free and unstructured, was still intentional, challenging, and reflective, turned out to be an amazingly fruitful approach which touched and inspired many in Athens, especially area teens. In one way or another, The Athens Art Co-op (www.artgallery211.net), the current local independent music scene, the Railroad Cafe, the Texas Swing Festival (www.texasswingfestival.com), The East Texas Rural Arts Initiative and The Arts Exchange, have all benefited from the Lenz's “playful” approach to the arts.

Michael Lenz is convinced that the key ingredient right now to continuing to grow a viable art community, one that is sustainable and productive, is motivating people to talk and dialogue about vision for the future.

As Michael puts it, “Building community of any kind is not about ownership or power, even less about politics. Community is about getting people to talk together, helping folks admit that they need each other, creating possibilities for further exchanges – always with a view to becoming more than the present.” Sounds like a plan, don't you think?

Next week: Local artist, Cheryl Hicks, breaks open the topic of creativity. Don't miss it!

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-22 BBR.JPG Black Beauty Ranch holds educational spring open house

    Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and Doris Day Equine Center hosted their Spring Open House on April 12 and April 19.  Located in Murchison, these entities are both non-profit organizations that specialize in rescue, adoption and providing sanctuary to the unadoptable.

    April 22, 2014 10 Photos

  • 4-22 CROSS CARRIER.JPG Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ

    Jeremiah Roberts portrays Jesus Christ as he carries a cross down Mill Run Road enroute to the Henderson County Square, to re-enact Christ’s resurrection.  Hitting him with instruments to illustrate the inhumanity of the day were Tramaine Jordan and C.J. Douglas.  Also helping in the effort were Joyce Coleman, Amanda Jordan and a child, Rychis Douglas.  All are members of Petersburg Baptist Church.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif In the voter’s hands

    Elections have come and gone for years without the Athens Municipal Water Authority getting much attention. But this year, the fate of the entity is in the balance.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif CCL Rotary offers non-profit grants

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake offers a wide variety of grants to local non-profit organizations in Henderson County  and Kaufman County.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-22 Sharp arrest.jpg Man arrested near GBC for resisting

    The Henderson County Sheriff's Department responded to a disturbance involving an assault on Friday, April 18 at about 4:38 a.m. The assault occurred in the 100 block of Wedgewood Loop in the Oak Harbor Subdivision near Gun Barrel City.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 2726192_300x300.jpg Darin Karl found Thursday on Cedar Creek Lake

    The body of a 42-year-old man who had been missing in Cedar Creek Lake was recovered on Thursday.
    The drowning victim was identified as Darin Lynn Karl of Kemp. According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Karl and his nephew were fishing near Cedar Creek Country Club when the boat overturned, ejecting the men. 

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif AISD approves moving monthly meeting, additional drug testing

    Discussion on meal prices for the 2014-15 school year was pulled from Thursday's Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees agenda but other items were approved that will bring about change in the district.
    By unanimous decision, the school board approved changes to the scheduled date for its monthly meetings; additional drug testing on the high school campus and modification to the graduation policy.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 drugs.tif Prescription Drug Take Back Day April 26

    On Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Athens Police Department and Keep Athens Beautiful will host the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, giving the public its seventh opportunity in four years to prevent pill abuse and theft.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • ADR logo.tif Feud between Tool VFDs extends to city council

    The two volunteer fire departments in Tool have been dueling for 11 years. The feud between the two departments started in 2003, when the citizens of Tool voted to establish Emergency Service District No. 4. According to reports, this was about the same time the Tool Volunteer Fire Department was established.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Would Lake Athens residents suffer if city controls water?

    Members of Lake Athens Property Owners Association have been watching the dispute between the City of Athens and the Athens Municipal Water Authority uncertain of how this will affect their future.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo