It’s been a long day of notoriously bad traffic, cranky kids, irritating errands and a venomous boss. What is more soothing than to return to our neighborhood, to walk into that sacred space you call home? It’s your sanctuary, your refuge, your safe haven where you can chalk up the day to mere memory and leave it behind.

Consider, though, the parallel universe suggested by Picasso: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

If home equals serenity and art cleanses the soul, imagine combining the two – imagine enriching your home with neighborhood art.

Why, you may ask, neighborhood art? Why not just visit the local import store or even that mega-super-discount chain to pick up a brass vase and silk roses or a framed print of impossibly cute kittens?

Feel free. But think of it this way: Do you really like it when you walk into that party wearing the same dress or shirt as another guest? And will you feel just a bit less unique when you discover the same piece of art proudly displayed in your living room is also decorating your bank lobby or hotel room or your friend’s home – the same piece you thought was so cool and individualistic?

Let’s face it: Our neighborhood is blessed with more than its share of interesting architecture, homes with fascinating little nooks and crannies and niches – no cookie-cutter neighborhoods here – or as a wise friend once said: “If you wanted to live in Plano, you’d be there by now.”

Fortunately, our neighborhood also has more than its fair share of artists whose vision and handiwork is just the ticket to fill those nooks and niches.

By patronizing neighborhood artists, you can possess one-of-a-kind, original works. You can also enjoy the unique opportunity to actually know whose hands created that sculpture or painting or platter. Meeting the artist and perhaps seeing him or her at work will likely make the art much more meaningful for you. Once you become familiar with local artists, you will find those mass-produced, anonymous works hold much less appeal.

Another reason to explore locally is to promote a sense of community. Think of your local artist as a “mom and pop” operation. How tragic if your neighborhood artists had to close down shop, a la little general stores bowing to the pressure of Big Brother chains.

Meet the Neighbors / You may be surprised at the number of artists (and their studios) in our neighborhood, just down the street or right around the corner – not to mention the wide variety of mediums.

Just a stone’s throw from White Rock Lake is the rustic, unassuming home of glass artist Diana Chase. A one-time graphic designer for the Neiman-Marcus catalog. Chase has worked with glass since around 1987 and has created works large and small, from murals for commercial properties to wall sconces for residences.

“I am mesmerized by glass and the effects of light on it,” she says. “Spirit is light,” Chase says, and she finds that working with glass gives her “joy and inspiration on a spiritual level.”

Chase’s home and studio reflect her passion and appreciation for a kaleidoscope of color. Sculpture