Creators of Lubbock, Texas
Meet the Artists Making the “Hub City” the Hub of Creativity
Lubbock is known for being a one-of-a-kind place, filled with diverse and passionate individuals who bring their dreams to life. Thanks to a purposeful effort by the city to encourage and nurture these innovators, the “Hub City” is an incubator where entrepreneurs, artists and creators thrive.
Originality is one thing inherent to the creativity expressed in the 806. For 16-year-old Jordan Simmons, he knew early on that he had the passion, talent and desire to share his art with others. This sophomore from Lubbock Cooper High School is a budding chalk artist who made a name for himself in the local art scene by depicting first responders and healthcare providers as superheroes in his creations.
“When the pandemic started, I drew a couple of cartoon characters and my mom posted them on Facebook,” said Simmons. “This happened to get the attention of local broadcaster, KCBD TV news, and they did a story on me. Since then, I’ve created more than 500 pieces of artwork in chalk art or paintings for people and businesses.”
Initially, he was surprised by the outpouring of interest and support. “When I would draw on our driveway, our street was kind of like a parade of people visiting to look at the art or watch me draw,” said Simmons.
“When I didn't draw for a few days, sometimes people would knock on the door and ask when I would draw something new out there. I started getting chalk donations in the mail and from people passing by.”
Being from the 806, he attributes much of his success to the encouragement and support of the Lubbock community. “I think this community is great because it is such a friendly environment,” said Simmons. “I would love to bring more art to the city and encourage children my age to get more involved.”
For aspiring artists, Simmons believes that practice and determination will lead you down the road to success.
“I think that you should do things with a purpose and meaning, which is what I think every day as soon as I wake up,” said Simmons. “You can do anything in life as long as it's what you love and you put your mind to it.”
And it’s this wisdom and perspective that inspires the local art community and cultivates the endless opportunities for creators in the 806. “I realize that I’m still figuring things out,” said Simmons. “I hope to work in animation graphic design or maybe be an animator for Disney movies. But it’s important to stay open and see where your path leads.”
For some, the allure of being an artist in Lubbock is all about a balanced life, and the ease of raising a family. Dawna Gillespie is one such example of this. Gillespie takes “unique” to a whole new level, having created more than 75 un-replicated pieces of jewelry since launching her creative business endeavor, Dawna Gillespie Adornments, just two years ago.
For Gillespie, leaving behind a legacy for her son is paramount. She knew she wanted to live in a community where she could make a difference and where her son would simultaneously see the value he could bring to the world.
“Our goal is to raise him with the understanding that his individuality, voice and vision are things he has that no one else has,” said Gillespie. “I want him to see the legacy I am leaving, of beauty and individualism. My goal is for him to be inspired to create a life of meaning and leave a legacy of his own.”
Through her art, Gillespie simultaneously makes jewelry and home accents that are hand fabricated, titled works of fine craft, while also educating her son on the merits of individuality through each creation. With each original piece she makes, she demonstrates the value of creativity and self-expression to both her son and the community at large.
Gillespie encourages dreamers to “get the right people in your corner, have mentors, define your vision and learn everything you can about your interests and passions.”
She also encourages aspiring creators to recognize their worth and respond in kind.
“Don’t take every opportunity,” said Gillespie. “Only say yes to what lines up with your goals and vision. This is freeing and it allows the ability to focus and hone in on where you want to go.”
Common among these creators is their love for their work and their love of Lubbock. For David In-Jae Cho, Music Director of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, his love of music is what brought him to the High Plains.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Cho immigrated to the states in 1985, where he proceeded to spend many of his formative years studying music at Oberlin College and Conservatory. In the decades following his education at Oberlin, Cho served as a Conducting Fellow at the New World Symphony, Resident Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony, and had a tenure as the Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony, which would later lead to a position as Music Director of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra in 2011.
“I have committed my life to music education and outreach to the communities the Symphony serves to provide great orchestral performances,” said Cho.
Though Cho does little performing of his own anymore, he cherishes the opportunity to stand with such excellent Lubbock talent and share the work of the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra with the community at large.
“Although I am the one on stage who makes no sound, patrons and community members I run into at coffee shops and supermarkets seem to give me all the credit,” said Cho. “I love sharing with them how lucky we are to have such a high-caliber ensemble here in the heart of West Texas. I am constantly reminded that we conductors are nothing without such excellent orchestra staff, and the amazing board whom we see eye-to-eye on our mission.”
With the recent construction of The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, there’s never been a better time for Lubbock’s music community.
“We are living in the most culturally vibrant time in the history of the “Hub City,” said Cho. “We are constantly inspired to make music with one another.”
For Cho, life in Lubbock can be defined by three words: community, passion and promise. As Lubbock’s music scene continues to grow and develop, Cho encourages visitors and locals alike to continue engaging with the arts.
At Two Docs Brewing Co., you can taste the meaning behind the making in every sip. Two years ago, passionate beer lovers Dr. Eric Cunningham and Dr. Tyson Purdy founded the brewery in an expression of creativity that was geared toward doing more than just selling great craft beer.
As the company grew, the co-founders sought to incorporate more science and expertise into their brewing process. In an effort to broaden their horizons, the duo expanded into a trio, to include Jason Watkins, resident brewmaster and cicerone.
Collaboratively, these pioneers are forging a new path and loving what they do.
“We want to help build a craft beer culture in West Texas that reflects the values we care about: honesty, quality and love,” said Watkins. “We try to reflect that love in how we live life and how we run our brewery. More than anything else, we want to show this kind of love in how we treat people.”
The Two Docs Brewing Co. website proudly proclaims a love for Lubbock. Aside from the people who make the city great, the team appreciates the light traffic and great weather, which is excellent for enjoying beers on their patio. This beer isn’t just brewed locally. Selections pay homage to the 806 with Buddy Hoppy IPA, and the Chilton Gose, a nod to the local favorite cocktail.
“Rules work for chain franchises, but less so for one-of-a-kind ventures,” said Watkins. “Make sure the market wants what you plan to offer, but outside that, a rigid plan of action doesn’t seem to fit many breweries. We had to figure out where we wanted to go as a business and then navigate with the best tools, knowledge, team and skills available.”
If a community is a fabric, then Lubbock is a tapestry of vibrant, tightly woven threads. The city supports unconventional makers and encourages the valuable role they play in creating a diverse, multifaceted culture. Lubbock is a place where creators push the boundaries of what’s possible, shaping the future of the 806.
Learn more about the “Hub City” and the creators, makers, movers and shakers who make it one of a kind.