HAT: Create! at Rodeo Boutique and Fine Line/Stitchville

Today's featured Holiday Arts Tour artists are Whitney Caskey, MC Davis, Frank Hamrick and musician Elizabeth Vidos. work by Whitney Caskey

Rodeo Boutique, at 116 W Park Avenue, will be hosting Whitney Caskey this year (last year Whitney was at Serendipity.) Rodeo Boutique is fun shop for the ladies, with bright pink walls, trendy clothes and punchy accessories. The owner, Katie Bonnette, is a delight, and we're happy they've joined the Tour this year.

Levitation, by Whitney Caskey

Rodeo's featured artist, Whitney Caskey is a versatile artist, who navigates assorted art media in order to tell her chosen story. You may have seen some of her landscape paintings around town: Railroad park, Mitcham's Peach Orchard, the Dixie Center for the Arts...I've seen these familiar places and many more under Whitney's talented hand.  In addition to these traditional landscapes, Whitney creates very contemporary digital photographs, that are a blend of staged settings, drawings, costumes and other digital tools. She uses these in order to tell stories, as her artwork is based in narratives. Her fascination with stories led her to drawing at a young age, which in turn, led her to painting. Her work now mainly deals with photography. In 2007 Caskey began attending classes at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana. It was during this time period that her work moved from strictly drawing, to large-scale paintings and photography. Her work has been exhibited both locally and nationally. She has won several awards, including second place at the Art from the G.U.T. exhibition at the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center in 2012. She held her first solo show in 2013 at the Bossier Parish Arts Council Gallery. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University in May of 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. She will also have her cute and clever Christmas ornaments for sale at this year's Tour.

Fine Line Art Supply and Stitchville, located at 207 N Trenton, will be hosting Frank Hamrick and MC Davis this year. These two shops are housed in the same store front, and are perfect complements for each other. Henry McCoy's Fine Line is THE local place to go for art supplies, as well as high quality printing services. In addition to other things, he carries the supplies used by LA Tech's art and architecture departments, so you're sure to fine an interesting variety of tools. He has saved the day for the NCLAC office many times. I'm almost embarrassed now when I have to call and say, "Henry, I have an art emergency..." Stitchville, owned by Allie Bennett, is your source for high quality yarns and other sewing supplies. She carries contemporary fabrics in fun prints, and cute patterns for dresses and bags. She also holds classes for those who are experienced or inexperienced in the fabric arts, including knitting, sewing for children, and more. Allie has a dedicated following with her weekly "knitting night;" the group meets and each person works on her own project, from embroidery to crochet to knitting. There is a lot of chatting, a lot of positivity, and a lot of fun.

Frank Hamrick

from Found Objects, by Frank Hamrick

Frank Hamrick is an associate professor and the head of the photography program at Louisiana Tech University. He will be exhibiting his photography and book arts. His work mixes photography, storytelling, handmade books and found objects. Frank is a Georgia native, and received his BFA from The University of Georgia. He moved out west for his MFA, graduating from New Mexico State University. NPR has written about Frank’s handmade books and in 2012 Oxford American Magazine listed Frank as one of the 100 Superstars of Southern Art. His work is housed in collections including the Georgia Museum of Art and The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Frank is just returning (as in this week!) from a quarter abroad teaching bookmaking in Cortona, Italy. I'm glad to have him back in town, and am excited to see his new work that's inspired by this adventure.

MC Davis

Pawpaw's Tractor, by MC Davis

Mary Catherine Davis is a 3rd year MFA candidate at Louisiana Tech. She is also a Southern artist, and was raised on a small farm on the outskirts of the Mississippi Delta. Since the age of six, MC trained classically and by ear on piano and voice but her interest in visual art overshadowed music during her freshman year of college at Holmes Community College.  In December of 2010, she earned a BFA from Mississippi State University where she had begun to focus the influence of her musical background into visual arts through painting. She backpacked through France and Italy for a while, increasing her awareness of other cultures, while further rooting her appreciation for Southern ways of life. MC uses layers of washes and drawing mediums combined with non-traditional methods of painting such as screen printing, digital manipulation and printmaking, in order to create her works based on Southern iconography. 

On Friday night of the Tour, from 5-8, body percussionist Elizabeth Vidos will be performing. Elizabeth has been in Ruston for a couple of years, but before this lived in New York where she was a street performer as well as a member of the touring group STOMP. STOMP performs in a musical genre known as trash percussion, which involves the use of non-traditional instruments combined with body percussion. Elizabeth will perform “body percussion,” using props and her body as instruments. The folk traditions of many countries include the use of body percussion. Examples of these include Indonesian saman, Ethiopian armpit music, palmas in flamenco, and the hambone from the United States.  Elizabeth will perform short sets and will be available to speak with Tour-goers during breaks. Since moving to Ruston, she has jumped wholeheartedly into our arts community, and serves on the Board of Directors for Ruston Community Theatre and Troupe Dixie.

For more information and a complete schedule of the Holiday Arts Tour, visit nclarts.org or call (318) 225-1450.

Holiday Arts Tour is supported in part by a grant from Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.