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Arts & Entertainment

Get to Know Kyle Hobratschk, the Founder of Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency

Hobratschk, a printmaker, painter, and furniture maker, breathed new life into an 1890s build in Corsicana. It's now a thriving hub for Texas creatives.
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Lucia Simek and Kyle Hobratschk
Lucia Simek and Kyle Hobratschk, with a prototype of a commissioned furniture piece, called Matrimonial Chair. Elizabeth Lavin

Kyle Hobratschk knows good things take time. The SMU-trained painter, furniture maker, and intaglio printmaker describes his mediums as “patient practices.” But his latest work is his most ambitious to date: transforming a decommissioned 1890s-era Odd Fellows Lodge into the hub of the Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency, located in the titular town 55 miles south of Dallas. Since 2015, the program has brought more than 100 creatives from around the world to the town of 24,000 people—the “human scale” and slower pace of which has so creatively invigorated Hobratschk that he’s made it his home (though he visits Dallas weekly). In the nine years since he purchased the building, dubbed 100 West, Hobratschk’s work has been almost entirely in service to the residency—preserving the architecture and furnishing it with beds, desks, and other functional works of art. And though the goal is for the residency to become self-sustaining enough that he can pursue other expressions more freely, the experience has been a patient practice of its own that’s brought him satisfaction of a higher kind. “I feel like I’ve put my own career on hold for some time, and I’m OK with that,” he says. “I like making things to service others’ creative practices—making the desk that someone else will then come to, to write their book. The idea of authorship—whose name is on the thing—is less important than just the thing came into being by nature of this place.”

Five favorite items in your home:

  1. A Victorian memory jug found by Bruce Lee Webb. It’s barnacled with jewelry, buckles, and acorns—a reminder of the little things we collect unknowingly for others to find when we pass on.

  2. Small bronze urn by Arcosanti. I visit this place often when driving to my folks’ in Arizona.

  3. Circa-1900 Odd Fellow banners, the likes of which would have hung in halls like 100 West’s.

  4. A kind of Grandma Moses oil painting on cardboard by my own great grandmother depicting my great-great grandparents standing in front of their farm.

  5. Palm-sized hand-painted Fedoskino Russian lacquer box. I’ve had this since I was a kid, fascinated by miniatures of all kinds.

Favorite Dallas restaurant: Local on Elm Street—starting with their fried green beans and thyme dip

Favorite local museum: Ex Ovo and Sweet Pass Sculpture Park

Favorite place to buy art: The Webb Gallery

Favorite art book: Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Blast Furnaces

Favorite book: Selected Essays of John Berger

Favorite local artist: Tim Coursey

Under-the-radar artist to watch: Wayne Hall

Roche Bobois leather loveseatBiggest home splurge: ’80s Roche Bobois leather loveseat, deep sable colored with black piping and rounded brass corners

Favorite musical artist: Mazzy Star

Favorite clothing designer: AG, Levi’s, Carhart

Favorite candle: Scentless. I prefer kitchen aromas.

Favorite serving staple: Dinged-up aluminum platters

Best hosting hack: Filo dough can hold anything

Favorite travel destination: Southern Ecuador

What do you collect? Tempted to collect more street chihuahuas against my better judgement. Artwork by friends and residents making things at 100 West is safer.

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