Neita Fran Ward of Valerosa Designs & Gallery, for Texas Lifestyles Magazine. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

When Neita Fran Ward moved back to East Texas five years ago after living for a decade in New Mexico, she was puzzled and then she got a little mad.

Back in Las Vegas, New Mexico, she had owned an art gallery and was part of a thriving community of craftsmen and artists who were organized and had many opportunities at events and galleries to present their art to the public.

“But Tyler didn’t have any of that,” remembers Ward. “We had the Cowan Center and Tyler Museum of Art but where was the place for local artists to show their work? Who was promoting local art?”

She didn’t like the answers. And she set out to change things.