By Isabel Widdoes
Gloria Widdoes is the founder of a private art studio in Sapulpa called Anything Creative. She grew up in Sapulpa, and now raises her family and makes art locally. As a child, she began her journey in art, doodling and coloring. She later fell in love with photography and moved into other mediums such as jewelry making and glass-fusing. Widdoes then turned to paint pouring and making pop-art on clipboards. She continued on to bigger projects like painting tables and chairs, creating what she calls “functional art”.
A kindergarten teacher who loves to teach kids the process of creating art in any medium, Widdoes says she used art as therapy during the pandemic. Before quarantine, she used to do small art classes for kids and birthday parties. She’s now hoping to bring back these events. “I believe in art and how it can change the world,” she says. “The process itself has so many life lessons. Enjoy the process.”
Widdoes participated in the Steampunk ComicCon at the Sapulpa Library, selling painted chairs, clipboards, and wooden panels. She continues to do these as commissions, gifts, and fun. She is very passionate about art and wants the younger generation to realize that “art is not about what the final result is like or if it’s perfect. What matters is that you had fun and learned something new. Anybody can do it, as long as they don’t have expectations and do it for themselves.”
Art runs in her family’s blood and began when her dad taught her and her brother, Kevin Bunch, how to draw.
Once she had children of her own, she taught them how to draw as well, passing down the passion for making art. Bunch still lives in Sapulpa and continues to make paintings that range from cartoons to realistic portraits. Both of them make art together in the Anything Creative Studio, which used to be a dance studio Widdoes attended as a little girl through high school.
The pandemic gave Gloria the time to explore and practice art. At this time, she went to the studio and painted for hours and began painting comic book-style art. This helped her cope with the unprecedented circumstances while also doing something new and interesting. While over the quarantine, she continued teaching her students online in her studio. It gave them a new way to learn in a creative, hands-on way through simple educational assignments that included art. Widdoes is always looking for new projects to work on and different mediums to express herself in. She firmly believes that old items, usually seen as discarded, can become art, and she demonstrates this by repurposing objects and making art.
Several years ago, Gloria Widdoes’ husband David, and his sister, Donnette Widdoes, acquired their mother’s dance studio. Nothing was being done with it at the time, so in 2019 Gloria proposed the idea of an art studio. “We had a studio, I had an opportunity,” she said. “I wanted to show kids how to make art and teach kids in a different way, rather than in a school setting. I wanted to give them creative freedom without the fear of being graded.”
While teaching, she felt that art needed to be more than just crayons and colored pencils, so she tries to bring more mediums for kids to work through, more time to experiment in art in both an educational and entertaining way. She feels that kids have lost their art appreciation and rarely do artistic things anymore, and she wants kids to love art again. She calls the dying passion and drive for art “Lost Art” and wants to instill kids with creative ways to express themselves, much like the impression she wants to leave on people who see her art. “I want people to see my art, any art, and feel happy,” she says. “That’s the best compliment for me.”