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Check Out Alexis Webb-Bechtold’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Webb-Bechtold.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My love of art (especially public art) combined with my extensive background in outdoor experiential education, challenge course facilitation and recreation management helps me create art adventures that encourage people to explore the world around them and find deeper meaning in what they do every day.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Each new project I tackle feeds my soul! I love the creative challenges in making each art adventure. They push me to learn a new skill (videography, bookbinding, handmade paper, assemblage art, podcasting, etc.), try a new idea and meet new people (my favorite part!).

My biggest hurdles are on the emotional side of the artist life – applying for artist residencies or programming opportunities, then receiving the rejection email. This is especially difficult when an opportunity sounds like such a great fit for my ideas and when I am hearing from numerous people that my ideas and my artwork are high quality, good for individuals and the community, and still get rejected for any opportunity that might actually pay me to create these projects.

The biggest obstacle I have faced has been the COVID-19 pandemic. In early Feb 2020, I decided to focus my attention on creating large group art adventures… I don’t really need to tell you how that has worked out so far. Right? I know lots of small business owners and artists were able to pivot during this pandemic, but I have truly struggled to figure out how and when to shift my focus. Finally, in January 2022, I took a deep breath and applied for a Kickstarter Project to hopefully fund my pandemic pivot – The Adventure Art Starter Kit & Subscription.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I like to encourage people to join me at the intersection of Art and Adventure. There, my heart yearns to stimulate curiosity in the people who participate with my work.

As a “multipotentialite” or “renaissance gal” I am passionate and skilled in a multitude of different mediums. No matter what facet of my life I am focused on, I want my work to create unique experiences for my clients, trainees and students. Thus, I offer not only products but also services & events that are open to the public – all are focused around the concepts of art and adventure while striving to utilize the eco-friendly practices.

The main material I use in my eco-art kind of fell into my lap…erm…wallet? I upcycle plastic gift cards into jewelry and mosaics. While working at Borders Bookstore, I realized that each plastic gift card was a small work of art that we were literally throwing away all of the time! With permission, I took a few home to experiment creating some lightweight jewelry from them. Years later, that has snowballed into people from all over the world sending me used gift cards, hotel key cards, etc. I also now create assemblage art pieces and am the Lead Plastics Artist at ScrapsKC.

I am most proud of the times participants in my work have had “Aha!” moments. One native Kansas Citian participant reported that had seriously considered moving away because she felt she had seen it all here. After participating in the Curiosity Passport she was amazed that I had found so many hidden gems that she hadn’t even ever heard of before! Her passion for KC has been rekindled! My hope is that if my Kickstarter Project is fully funded, that Adventure Art Starter Kit participants will feel more connected to the world around them also!

I think what sets me apart from others is that I am a pretty quirky artist and adventurer. I don’t use traditional mediums or seek out stereotypical adventures. The random hidden gem of public art or historic significance is what inspires me! I don’t create art for myself or to satisfy an internal need to create art – I seek out ways to create participatory adventures that also involve art. My love for connecting people with the outdoors, whether that be in the urban setting or the backcountry, also seems to be a fairly unique part of me. I just want to help people enjoy the world around them, wherever that may be. The saying, “bloom where you are planted,” is definitely part of what motivates me. I hope all of my work encourages people to seek out adventure and art all around them because it is there sometimes you just have look for it.

During the pandemic, in an effort to find ways to stay connected to our neighbors, I started a Little Free Library for my husband’s birthday (he’s a scholar and just a huge fan of reading!). Next to that, I placed, possibly the first in the region, a Free Little Adventure Gallery. Both have been incredibly fun to maintain and encourage others to participate by taking a book/art, leave a book/art or BOTH!

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I am a super-extrovert (no introversion points on any personality test!), so there have been very few times in my life that I haven’t been comfortable just chatting it up with strangers/new best friends. No matter what, I find that genuinely getting to know people is more valuable than just “networking” for the sake of increasing the number of people you have met.

If you find someone that you connect with and that person has skills in areas you would like to improve, throw your pride in the trash can (not the recycle bin, no one needs recycled pride!) and ask them if you can learn from them. A mentor doesn’t have to possess more money than you, outrank you, or even be older than you! A mentor simply needs to be open to sharing their knowledge/experience/wisdom with you. You need to be open to connecting with another person to learn.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Headshot by Benjamin James all others by Alexis Webb-Bechtold

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