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Local sculptor fires
up a business
Other artists can pay them
to have molds madefor
their statues

By Sandra Bretting
April 2, 2015 Updated: April 3,
2015 5:03pm
Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff
Lori Betz, a sculptor and owner of
Betz Fine Art Gallery and
Foundry, works on a sculpture
inspired on the mythological Greek
character Pandora. Betz, not only creates sculptures as part of her business, but she also rents out her equipment to other artists. Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Houston. ( Marie D. De Jesus /
Houston Chronicle ) Lori Betz is a sculptor and owner of Betz Art Foundry at 2500 Summer St. near downtown. Betz not only creates sculptures as part of her business, she and foundry master Miguel Macias rent out their equipment to other artists. 

When sculptor Lori Betz opened an art foundry in Houston in 2012, the first piece she created there was a bronze statue called "Letting Go."
The life-size statue leans forward with arms outstretched as if poised for flight. "When I made the decision to invest all of my money in this foundry and my time, it was a huge decision that was very scary," Betz, 53, said. "This was about me letting go and taking that leap of faith."
Betz and her business partner, foundry master Miguel Macias, opened Betz Art Foundry in 2012. They first found space in Summer Street Studios near downtown. Then they bought some $70,000 worth of equipment that's used to make molds for bronze statues.

"The business model is unique to us," Betz said. "Most artists don't have the capital or the knowledge base to open a foundry."
About 80 percent of the foundry's resources are dedicated to Betz's artwork. The remainder is used by other sculptors who pay to have molds made for their statues. They'll bring Betz a miniature wax statue, a maquette, and the foundry creates several molds to
cast the statue in bronze.

More Information
On the Web: betzart

"I'll have artists come to me and say, 'I want to make this sculpture, but I don't know how.' " While bronze statues look as if they're carved from a single piece, they're actually welded together from many sections. Foundries make a series of molds using rubber, plaster, wax and finally ceramics.
"It's a very time-consuming pro-cess," Betz said.
That's one reason a bronze bust can cost upward of $20,000.
Betz's art career began with private lessons when she turned 10. She graduated from the University of Texas College of Fine Arts and then became an artist in residence at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan.
Betz, who is also trained in mediums like oil painting and watercolors, returned to Houston in the mid-1990s to open Betz Art Gallery. She ran the gallery for 15 years before selling it in 2012 to
focus on her art and the foundry.

In addition to working with individuals and architects, Betz has sculpted pieces for cities like
Pearland. "We met Lori through the Bayou City Arts Festival," said Carol Artz-Bucek, president and CEO
of the Pearland Chamber of Commerce. "She did an incredible statue for us of two construction workers when we finished construction on our facility."
Houston may soon enjoy Betz's public art, as well. Betz is sculpting statues of Kirby and Augustus Allen, the city's founders. That commission originally came from a chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
"I always try to put a spin on my art," Betz said. "I'll research the personalities to get the details
just right. No matter what, I want a person's personality to shine through."

Back to main topic: About Lori Betz
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