This weekend is NCLAC’s 20th year for Holiday Arts Tour! There will be 25 locations in downtown Ruston highlighting 38 artists, plus 2 private studios around town showcasing the artists who work there. We refer to Holiday Arts Tour as “HAT,” and let me tell you, HAT is a big deal for us! It’s our annual winter celebration where we get to feature all sorts of regional artists—writers, painters, sculptors, fiber artists, photographers, singers, percussionists, actors, and more.
On Friday from 5-9pm, and Saturday from 10am-5pm, artists will “set up shop” inside local merchants’ stores. Visitors can chat with the artists about the wonderful items they’ve created, and let me tell you: Holiday Arts Tour is THE best place to do some Christmas shopping. Unique, handmade, one of a kind, local—what more could you want?
In addition to the artists who are in the shops, we also have performing artists who will be stationed inside and outside around downtown, treating us with their talents. This year we have marimba, flute, R&B, mountain dulcimer, and much more. These are scheduled for Friday evening and Saturday.
On Saturday morning, we’ll kick off a live painting contest, the Holiday Art Brawl, inside the Historic Fire Station at 10am. Participants will have 1 hour to create a work of art in front of an audience. Viewers are encouraged to vote on their favorite work of art by dropping dollars into a voting bucket. The artist with the most votes is the Art Brawl winner. Sprout Hour will be held at the Fire Station during this time, too, where three artists will provide free children’s art activities.
In addition to voting on the Art Brawl winner, Tour-goers throughout the weekend can vote on their favorite HAT artist by dropping a ballot into the box inside Ruston Artisans. These ballots will determine our HAT People’s Choice Award. We’ll also have two Judge’s Choice winners, awarded by an outside judge who comes into town to view the HAT Group Exhibition at Ruston Artisans. I encourage everyone to stop in and see this show, which will be on display Thursday, November 30-Christmas. It’s a selection of works created by many of this year’s Holiday Arts Tour artists. There will be an opening reception for this group exhibition on Thursday the 30th, from 5:30-7:30.
Another component to HAT is artists’ demonstrations, and this year we’ll have calligraphy, wood carving, and screenprinting on Saturday afternoon.
Are you excited yet? There’s really so much to see and do that I encourage you to come for both days, as well as to take the short drive to the studios of Hooshang Khorasani and Douglas Walton. It’s special to see a glimpse into the working spaces of these artists.
A beautiful bright pink booklet, designed by Mashall Smith, is available to guide you on the Tour. In it we’ve included each location, artist, performance and event so that you can map out your weekend. These are available at many downtown Ruston merchant locations, as well as linked above. Check out our Facebook event for HAT so you can stay up to date with special posts about participating artists.
Thanks to Fine Line Supply for their sponsorship of this event. HAT is also made possible by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council and administered by the Shreveport Regional Art Council. We hope to see you enjoying Ruston’s Cultural District in historic Downtown Ruston for Holiday Arts Tour on December 1 and 2! All events are free and open to the public.