Holiday Arts Tour on the horizon--Art Talk Monday

This week's Art Talk Monday is written by Jessica Slaughter, NCLAC's Executive Director We are busy bees in the office right now, gearing up for Holiday Arts Tour, which will fill the streets of Ruston Thursday – Sunday, November 15-18.  This year, we’ve partnered with the city of Ruston and its Main Street Christmas Open House for Thursday. Downtown merchants will be open from 5-8pm, with artists exhibiting works in storefronts, as merchants offer snacks and holiday spirit to shoppers.  Friday’s Tour hours will be from 2-5pm, which is the perfect time to come downtown for lunch, and then walk around for the afternoon. Just as you’re ready for a break from shopping, head over to Turbo Goat for an evening of music. Five acts are lined up, from bluegrass to jazz infusion, and they’re all free for the public, thanks to funding from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Jazz and Heritage Foundation. Music will begin at 5pm, and will continue until just shy of midnight. Thanks to Justin of Turbo Goat for hosting musical acts again this year, as well as exhibiting the work of Lana Langston.

Saturday will be a full day, with activities for all ages.  Shops and studios will open at 11, with artists on site, ready to share their vision with you. Go ahead, ask Todd Cloe about his rings at Sundown, Laura Lewis about her drawings at Carriage House Art, or Emma Case about her ceramics at Rosemary’s Kitchen. They’re ready and willing to visit with you, and to share a glimpse of their “art world.” And speaking of Rosemary’s Kitchen, they are a sponsor of the Tour this year. With the tagline “Simple Fresh Good,” Sara Corley and Rosemary Thomas have recently opened a new lunch spot on Bonner Street. They began their business several years ago at the Ruston Farmers Market, and the response was so positive they sought out and acquired a permanent location. In addition to delicious lunches each day, they have take-home items, a gift shop, and a great outdoor dining space.

New for Saturday is Chalk the Walk: sidewalk chalk will be distributed around town for people of all ages to make public, community art. Bring the family!

When the shops and studios close at 5, walk over to Sundown Tavern, for another evening of great music. Acts will include Tour favorites such as Kenny Bill Stinson, as well as newer bands like the Reactors. The five acts will of course be free for the public, and big thanks goes to Sundown Tavern for supporting the Tour again this year, as well as to Maria Meadows for her help with the line-up.

Sunday closes out the weekend, with artists’ studios and Sprout Sunday. From 11-5, visit with artists in their studio spaces. Take a moment to learn about how artists make the beautiful pieces you enjoy buying. Do some Christmas shopping! Nothing says you care more than a thoughtfully selected, one-of-a-kind gift. Sprout Sunday locations this year are at Pastry Moon, where author Debra Faircloth will be doing readings of her children’s book If I Were a Cat for Only an Hour, while artist Bonnie Ferguson creates cat-themed face paintings. At Elli’s Country Store in Dubach, a new studio site this year, students can make Christmas ornaments. And at Follette Pottery, Clay Turtles are sure to be a big hit. Sprout Sunday activities are free for area students, as part of NCLAC’s mission to foster art opportunities.

The Holiday Arts Tour is the perfect opportunity to explore your downtown. Go ahead, step into that new shop you’ve been curious about, look around the corner and see what you’ve been missing. Shop with our local merchants and regional artists. And in so doing, you’re supporting your friends and neighborhoods, giving money back to our great school system, and growing our economy.