Local “art-repreneur” makes venue fostering creativity

By ERIN SEITZLER, Four Points News  

The Art Barn ATX started as a small dream Amber Arnold-Gordon didn’t even know she had in her heart, but came a reality June 2018. Gordon is an art teacher at Laura W. Bush Elementary and has twin boys and a supportive husband who all encouraged her throughout this process. About four years ago, the family moved into an older property not far off of Bullick Hollow Road near Riviera Marina. 

“To say the place needed remodeling was an understatement,” said Gordon. It had several, side by side apartment units in a rustic barn-like structure that has views of Lake Travis. The family patched the place up, and through that came a thought in Gordon’s mind, “I want to turn one of these apartments into an art studio,” she recalled, and so it went from there. 

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, and when I started teaching art at Laura Bush, the parents started asking me questions like ‘are you gonna start teaching after school?’ and ‘can you teach my kid more?’”. 

At the same time she heard this, they already had been working on the property. These questions enhanced the spark in Gordon’s heart. ”It just kinda has evolved, it really is it is an evolution that just keeps going and going,” she said.  

Art Barn ATX was created and over the past year, they have made more adjustments to transform this space to be even more successful and the most fun possible. 

Gordon and her husband created an arcade room that comes in handy when there are birthday parties to entertain guests at all times. They also made a splatter room in back for kids to have free reign. 

Gordon, a native of Fort Worth, has always had a background of something to do with art  —  studio art, art education, performer of the arts  — and has always been creative in that.

”I’ve always taken things and said, ‘how can I turn this into a project,’ and so i started creating projects for kids I didn’t know I had yet because I didn’t know I wanted to become a teacher,” she said.

When she graduated, Gordon didn’t know what the next step was until someone’s words influenced her and told her she should become a teacher. “And I was like, ‘What? There are actually art teachers?’ So I got my certification and it just went from there,” she said. She has been teaching for around 15 years now, and has taught all grades. 

The Art Barn is the product of Gordon’s passisons of entrepreneurship and art. 

“I love to come up with ideas, and then I love to take those ideas and modify them so that people can actually do them,” she said. “I can look at it and I can usually break it down and figure out the steps to teach it to you.”

Art Barn ATX hosts a variety of events including birthday parties, girls night outs and camps throughout the year including summer (ArtBarnATX.com). Themes of these events include llamas, gnomes and red, white and blue.  

Gordon said the most challenging part of running an art studio is the marketing “because my brain does not think like that…  also not enough time.” 

But with the struggles of trying to get a local business started comes great reward. 

“The most rewarding part is the ah-ah moment whenever the kids and adults make it and love what they create, and they feel accomplished and proud of themselves, which is part of my philosophy that you need to find what makes you happy,” Gordon said.  

Photos by Erin Seitzler, etc.