Art Talk Monday: Closing out the year

students from IA Lewis
students from IA Lewis

This week's Art Talk Monday is written by Jessica Slaughter, NCLAC Executive Director. Here we are nearing the end of 2014. At this time of year, the NCLAC office looks at our year in review, and we’d like to share with our readers the programs that we’ve finished the last few months, as well as look forward into the beginning of 2015. We are always evaluating our programs, considering our successes and failures, and looking for better ways to serve the community through the arts.

We began the Fall with our annual School Show Performance. A day before ARToberfest kicked off, we were busy at the Dixie Center for the Arts hosting Shreveport born soprano opera singer Brenda Wimberly for this year’s show. Each year NCLAC hosts a different genre of music performance for Lincoln Parish’s 6th graders, and this year there were 237 students and chaperones, including participants from: Montessori School of Ruston, Christian Homeschool Group, IA Lewis, and Simsboro High School. Thank you Ruston Civic Symphony Society for sponsoring this great educational experience for our local 6th graders. In addition to hearing international art songs and arias, they all had a great time learning to sing “pizza” like an opera star!

Jessica Slaughter, NCLAC; Jean Gourd, Brewer's Choice Winner; Hayden Legg, People's Choice Winner
Jessica Slaughter, NCLAC; Jean Gourd, Brewer's Choice Winner; Hayden Legg, People's Choice Winner

The next day was our fifth annual ARToberfest, which was better than ever this October at The Norton Building in downtown Ruston! About 450 attendees sampled the brews of seven different home brewers and the many other beers supplied by Marsala Beverage. There were also tasty foods to try with food truck vendors Wild Thang Meats, PowWow Cuban Sandwiches, and Taco de Güero on site for the first time this year. Congratulations to Jean Gourd, winner of the Devine Home Brewer Brewer’s Choice Award for his Voodoo Pumpkin Ale, and to Hayden Legg and Brandy Winfree, winners of the Devine Home Brewer People’s Choice Award for their Ruston Peach Hefeweizen. This fundraising event has gained popularity each year, and we look forward to seeing the wonderful mix of people who attend.

Viaggio Italiano, group exhibition at Studio 301 as part of Holiday Arts Tour 2014
Viaggio Italiano, group exhibition at Studio 301 as part of Holiday Arts Tour 2014

One month after ARToberfest was our 17th annual Holiday Arts Tour. Over four days, an estimated 500 local shoppers and traveling visitors took part in the Tour. With over 50 participating visual artists and 35 vendor locations, shoppers had plenty to do, including twelve musical performances, on-site art demonstrations, children’s art activities, and the free Community Variety Show on Sunday. The Decentralized Art Funding Grant that NCLAC writes each year makes it possible to pay our performing artists, but this year the Tour was also sponsored by Fine Line Art Supply, making it possible to generate more advertising and excitement for this event.

Currently we have an art exhibition on display at Parish Press (formerly Crescent City Coffee) by Shawn Hood. Shawn’s beautiful show of naturalistic photographic works will be on display till January 19, 2015. Works are for sale, and would make wonderful Christmas gifts. Call our office for purchase details.

photograph by Shawn Hood, on display at Parish Press
photograph by Shawn Hood, on display at Parish Press

For the Dixie Center Lobby, we have a new exhibition that will begin January 6. Sheila Trevillion Jennings of Jackson Parish will be exhibiting her colorful watercolor animal paintings. These works will be on display through March 27.

watercolor by Sheila Jennings, whose work will be displayed at the Dixie Center for the Arts in January
watercolor by Sheila Jennings, whose work will be displayed at the Dixie Center for the Arts in January
MardiGrasBall2015_SavetheDate
MardiGrasBall2015_SavetheDate

Lastly, I must mention our upcoming Silent Auction, which will take place at the Krewe of Allegro Mardi Gras Ball. This is one of NCLAC’s primary fundraising events, and we always have wonderful items for bid. Home décor, original artworks, jewelry, antiques and more will be on display February 7 at the Ruston Civic Center. Ball tickets are available now by calling the Dixie Center Box Office at (318)255-1450). 

If you’d like to help us continue our work in the region, we always appreciate volunteers and donations of any size. Give us a call or email; we’d love to speak with you. NCLAC office, (318)255-1450; nclac5@gmail.com