© 2016 annbloxomsmith Bill Ayres--guest artist at UPSTAIRS on April 7

April 7, 2016, Downtown Gallery Crawl

PRESS RELEASE

Downtown Arts Alliance

P.O. Box 2952

West Monroe, LA 71294

For information, contact Ann Bloxom Smith, 318-503-5125, bloxom51@gmail.com.

March 16, 2016

For immediate release:

 Spring Fever Is Art!

Enjoy the Downtown Gallery Crawl, Thursday, April 7, 2016.

As nature springs forth with color and variety this April, the Downtown Arts Alliance celebrates the ever-brightening burst of local artistic talents displayed in eight downtown galleries this April 7, 5-9 pm.

Accompanied by live music and good food and drink, the galleries will present residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy the visual arts. Springtime seems particularly appropriate for this sort of colorful party! On the first Thursday of even-numbered months, visual artists generously share their works with art-lovers of all ages during the Downtown Gallery Crawls. Thursday, April 7, 5-9 pm, is again time to enjoy art in the cultural districts of downtown Monroe and West Monroe. Totally free, the evening includes wonderful art of all kinds. Downtown River Jam will also present live music at Bry Park, downtown Monroe, during the Crawl.

Original art will be for sale, too, with no sales taxes charged because the galleries are in an official cultural district. Resident and guest artists will be on hand to talk with patrons about their art. And neighbors will simply enjoy visiting with neighbors during this bi-monthly occasion!

Spring Fever has hit Sugar Gallery on Art Alley in Monroe! Sugar has three guest artists this month as well as regulars Leah Reitzell, who will be debuting a new series of Bohemian pieces with a fresh spring palette; Burg Ransom, who has new metallic prints; as well as Mary Thompson and Stacey Thomas Medaries, who have mixed media, oil paintings and drawings.

Illustrator Callie White, aka “Hoop,” joins Sugar’s ceramic artist Alyssa G. Posey on the landing for a collaboration called “Hoop Girls,” a representation of a conversation between two artists from completely different backgrounds, united in their passion for art and being beautifully female. Mixed media glass artist Lisa Duchesne has mosaic and stained glass pieces. Duchesne uses various forms such as bottles and glass beads to create unique artwork.  Finally, Jeff Douthit debuts his photography in “A Different Kind of Exposure.” Taking images is nothing new for Jeff, who has been a radiologic technologist for over twenty years, but this is his first time showing something other than x-rays.

UPSTAIRS is featuring two artists for the April Crawl in a show called “An Evocative Juxtaposition.”   Patricia Tait Jones, from Ruston, is exhibiting her mixed media paintings of various sizes influenced by her travels to Italy, along with a group of 12″x12″ travel-inspired collages.  And sculptor Bill Ayers, from Mandeville, is traveling to Monroe to show his metal sculptures, ranging from small tabletop pieces to almost seven-foot-tall pieces.  You’ll want to bring friends with you to enjoy this show in this exceptional setting.

Also upstairs on Art Alley is the Big Room Gallery, where curator Rick Sikes displays his own art along with other resident artists Emily Caldwell, Anna Schriefer, Amy Ouchley, and Jason Byron Nelson. At this Crawl, guests will be delighted with a special spring treat—a show of paintings by well-known local artist Sue Sartor—as well as music by her husband Dr. Walter Sartor.

Rounding out the offerings on Art Alley is an exhibit at Arender Studio and Gallery called “Half Full,” curated by Brooke Foy and including Emery Thibodeaux, Amy Freeman, and Jessica Slaughter. This show will be an interesting reflection of the lives of these four women.  Each member of this pseudo-collaborative show was given a suggestion of a starting point from which to make her art, and many discussions resulted, revolving around home life, daily routines, rites of passage, comfort, obligations, and descriptions of domestication.  Each artist has similarities and differences in her strengths, observations, views and even ideas on life, while all still strive toward similar notions of domestication in the life of women. Their artworks include mixed media paintings, sculptures, and possibly installation art.

Also in Monroe, on DeSiard Street, the Crawler finds the Palace Gallery, where the amazing and popular local artist Caroline Youngblood is showing “Riverton 1937: Part II.”  She describes this collection: “I opened a time capsule four years ago when I first viewed an 8mm family film shot on my family’s farm in 1937. I got to peer into the lives of our ancestors enjoying their lives in a way that before I had only heard about. As I began dissecting stills of this relic, I noticed that the frames looked like paintings; the grainy, faded nature of the old film is like a watercolor. The selections I chose to paint tell a story of our region’s hospitality, social customs, and culinary heritage.” The scenes pictured in the large oil paintings tell the story of an outdoor culinary gathering held on the grounds of a cotton plantation in 1937 northeastern Louisiana, with guests arriving, eating and drinking, and then relaxing and reconnecting in the afternoon sun.

Then, down by the River on South Grand Street, Monroe’s newest gallery, the Garrett House, presents “The Heavens Declare,” an exhibit of artworks by Geneva Academy’s K-12th grade students. This very special showcase promises to be a fun-filled spring evening filled with kids, art, music and food.

Moving to the west side of the Ouachita River, art lovers find Rumo’s Gallery, where curator Austin Bantel presents Katie Minyard, a photographer who is doing a portrait series called “Eat Dessert First.” She describes the show as “perceptions of people through portraiture and patterning. The people…have similar characteristics of choosing to live off the beaten path and in some way having molded my own personality.” Music, food and drink are also part of the evening at Rumo’s.

Ouachita River Art Gallery (The River Gallery), also located on Trenton Street in West Monroe, is Louisiana’s oldest artists’ cooperative, featuring original artwork from 20-30 artists working in painting, photography, woodwork, pottery, sculpture and jewelry.  During the April Gallery Crawl, Rachael Hudnall is the featured artist.  She has a successful history in graphic design and only recently discovered her new passion of painting.  As a lover of history, her style tends to reflect a long-ago, far-away feel. Her subject matter is typically an ordinary event, anticipating that viewers will be able find a connection to their own lives and see the story in the painting as their own.

Additionally, the gallery will proudly exhibit paintings, drawings and photography of its five newest members: Billy Albritton (photography), Allison Dollar (pen and ink, pencil and acrylic), Rachael Hudnall (acrylic), Mary May (water color and acrylic), and Staci Albritton Mitchell (photography).  The artists invite you to view and discuss their work, enjoy refreshments, and listen to the live music of singer/songwriter Amanda McDowell.

The artists of the Downtown Arts Alliance, as well as their appreciative public, sincerely thank the always-generous DAA sponsors, especially Presenting Sponsor Louisiana Pain Care, and including Bancorp South, Creed and Creed Law Firm, Fiesta Nutrition Center, Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, Sir Speedy, the News-Star, KEDM Public Radio, DeltaStyle, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Restaurant Cotton, Rawls DeSigns, Cross Keys Bank, Lavalle Salomon Law Office, Warehouse Restaurant, Restaurant Sage, Antique Alley Merchants’ Association, Choice Brands and Marsala Beverage.

Sponsorships are still available. For information on levels of support and benefits, see the organization’s website at www.downtowngallerycrawl.com and Facebook page (search Downtown Gallery Crawl).

The next Downtown Gallery Crawl will be Thursday, June 2, 2016.

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Bill Ayres--guest artist at UPSTAIRS on April 7

Bill Ayres–guest artist at UPSTAIRS on April 7

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