One of McKinney’s longstanding meeting places is getting statewide attention as the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts is a finalist in the Best of 2011 Texas Meetings and Events Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
The center, located at 205 W. Hunt Street, just northeast of downtown McKinney, is competing against Messina Hof Winery in Bryan and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Dallas’s Market Center in the awards’
category of meeting event venue, hotel or resort that hold less than 500 people. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in San Antonio on mid-September.
The Heard-Craig Center for the Arts encompasses the Heard-Craig House, the Heard-Craig Carriage House, Katie’s Garden, and the Heard-Craig Hall, located immediately north of the Heard-Craig House.
Barbara Johnson, Executive Director of the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts, is thrilled that the center is being honored, and the legacy of its creator, McKinney philanthropist Kathryn Heard-Craig, who opened the home for a meeting place for women’s groups, lives on.
“I feel very honored and excited that McKinney and the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts is represented
with this large group,” Johnson said. “Kathryn Heard-Craig was a very brilliant woman and she was smart enough to write things out and say that she wanted to have her art remain in the house so that other people could enjoy it. Kathryn Heard-Craig was so generous. I think it’s so rare for a philanthropist to do something from their heart and to do it for the good of the whole, and to not want publicity for it,” Johnson added.
Tours are given of the Heard-Craig House for $5 at 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, and 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Saturday. Guests can see antique furniture, and art work by Kathryn Heard- Craig in the house, which was built in 1900. Kathryn Heard-Craig grew up in the house and she opened it to for meetings of local women’s groups that are educational in nature to provide education and enlightenment for women.
“That’s what the Heard family was all about- education. She thought that by leaving this home for women’s clubs that women would continue to receive an education through the club,” Johnson said. “Kathryn was very lucky because her parents believed that girls should be educated. In 1902 she and her cousins, Nina and Bessie Heard (who established the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney) went to college,” Johnson said. “So many of their friends didn’t have that opportunity, and that’s why women’s clubs were created- to give women that opportunity to share and learn about other cultures.”
Cathy Apple has also written a book about the Heard family called “The Heard Legacy” that will be available for purchase in September at the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts. The center is self publishing the book so more information can be added at a later date and the cost to pre-order the book is $12. For more information on the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts, visit www.heardcraig.org .
— Story by Brandi Price