I am pleased to introduce you to the first #TexasStrong Woman of the Month for 2017, Cristina White-Jones–an incredible mixed media artist and teacher, who happens to be my Buda neighbor.
Meet Cristina White-Jones
I met Cristina last summer when my young daughters began attending her fun and creative art classes at a local studio.
Originally from my hometown of Dripping Springs, she now lives near me in Buda with her husband and twin daughters. An artist since childhood, Cristina earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from Southwest Texas State University in 2003 and ultimately discovered her love of teaching last year.
Although she experiences chronic pain on a daily basis–the result of nerve damage and complications from hip replacement and other surgeries dating back to breaking her hip as a child–she also chooses perseverance and courage on a daily basis. In addition to being an amazing wife, mom and artist, Cristina recently fulfilled a longtime dream by opening her own Studio 303 to offer kids’ art classes at her home.
#TexasStrong Woman of the Month
Favorite title(s) for yourself
I’m called a lot of things these days-wife, mama, daughter, sister, artist, but, by far, my two favorite titles are probably wife and mama.
Your toughest lesson or challenge
My toughest challenge is trying to find a balance between it all: life, career and health.
I have 7-year-old twins, so that in itself has always been a challenge (insert wink) since they were born, and trying to find the balance, like so many other moms, between motherhood and building my portfolio and business is always tricky. I also struggle everyday with pretty severe chronic pain, which is something I don’t usually share with a lot of people. I don’t want it to be something that “defines” who I am, but in reality, it’s probably what’s kind of shaped me into the person I am today, because I’ve always refused to let it take me down.
Luckily, I have an amazing husband and super supportive family and friends that are always willing to help out, if needed.
Your proudest accomplishment
My proudest accomplishments kind of go hand in hand with my “toughest challenge.” I had to say accomplishments, plural, because I definitely have more than one. The first would be the birth of my two beautiful girls. Without them, life just wouldn’t be the same. The second would be being able to do what I love and am truly passionate about full-time.
Your role models or mentors
My role models are definitely my parents. I have the two most amazing supportive parents anyone could ask for. They’ve been married for almost 40 years and were a great example of what a loving marriage and partnership should look like.
My dad is disabled and lives in pain but is the strongest man I know. Growing up, he taught me never to give up and to always keep going, even when I felt like I couldn’t. In college, when I know my dad would have rather seen me go into programming, he stood right by me and my decision to choose an art degree instead and never said a word.
My mom is a photographer, and, growing up, I watched her grow her business from a tiny shop in Dripping Springs into a booming commercial business, being one of the only women in the state of Texas to do what she does. Now, she continues to run a successful business, but she also has to take care of my father, whose health has been declining the past few years. She’s Superwoman.
Your best advice for newbies
My best advice for newbies is to never give up, to always keep trying and keep going. It’s never too late!
How you’re building community
I love living in a town where I’m able to really get to know my neighbors and support the businesses here. It’s something that’s super important to me, and now that I’ve decided to start these art classes from my studio, I’ve received nothing but amazing support and love so far.
I feel like I’m really able to spread my love and knowledge of art to kids that may not necessarily get enough of the arts in school.
Quote or verse you live by
I don’t really have one quote that I live by.
The two that I use maybe the most are probably “whatever happens happens”and “keep on truckin’.” I usually am a pretty optimistic person, so for me both kind of mean, you have to keep on going and never give up, and whatever is going to to happen will happen, when the time is right.
Favorite nonprofits you support
I don’t have a lot of my time to donate, but we do donate to SafePlace. It’s a women’s and children’s shelter in Austin that helps women who have been abused get back on their feet. I eventually hope to have enough time to donate to different organizations.
Lately, I’ve really become interested in Austin Angels and all that they’re doing and hope to volunteer with them in the future.
Win a gift certificate for artwork or kids’ classes
Cristina White-Jones is graciously giving one of my readers a $30 gift certificate to use towards either a piece of her artwork or kids’ art classes at Studio 303. Enter the giveaway below.
U.S. only please. Must be 18 to enter. Winner will be announced January 31, 2017.