December 1, 2016, Downtown Gallery Crawl


Downtown Arts Alliance

P.O. Box 2952

West Monroe, LA 71294

For information, contact Ann Bloxom Smith, 318-503-5125,

November 16, 2016

For immediate release:

Art for the Holidays! Join in the Downtown Gallery Crawl, December 1.

What’s new for Christmas? Art of all kinds! Visual art for the eyes, musical arts for the ears, culinary arts for the tastebuds! It’s all happening on both sides of the Ouachita River this December 1 as the two downtowns unite for another holiday Downtown Gallery Crawl!

Every first Thursday of even-numbered months, residents and visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the incredible talent that surrounds us in Northeast Louisiana. Area 318 is chock-full of artists who generously share their works with art-lovers of all ages during the Downtown Gallery Crawls. Thursday, December 1, 5-9 pm, is again time to enjoy art in the cultural districts of downtown Monroe and West Monroe.

The party extends through TEN art galleries, all members of the Downtown Arts Alliance, where the whole family can participate. Totally free, the evening includes great food and drink, live music, and of course wonderful visual art of all kinds. Governor’s Garden District Block Party will also present live music and great food at the old Ouachita Candy Company building on Walnut in downtown Monroe during and after the Downtown Gallery Crawl.

Original art will be for sale, too—a perfect opportunity to buy unique Christmas presents. To add to the experience, 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.

On the west side of the river, the Ouachita River Art Gallery (308 Trenton) will feature various works by teen students from Wossman High School.  This show is being coordinated by Mary Lou Rountree, and the works are impressive.  The River Gallery will also have its traditional Christmas Wall, where smaller pieces suitable for gifts will be displayed. Great food and music are always a part of the fun at the River!

Just down Antique Alley from the River Gallery is RUMO’s, owned by Russell and Morgan Moore and curated by Austin Bantel. This show will be a treat! Emily Jane Cruz + Ali Hijazi will present Grey Areas, a body of work they have assembled in response to the state of the world. Most of their art is focused on the struggle between right and wrong in terms of environmentalism, war, and the concept of time and being. They use bright colors to shed positive light on the tense subject matter involved; imperfect, handmade linoleum block carvings to emphasize human-ness; and both abstract and romantic views to encourage further conversation.

Dramatic and musical arts will also be showcased outdoors on Antique Alley as Strauss Little Theatre will be presenting musical excerpts from Caberet!

Moving to the east side of the river, Art Alley’s UPSTAIRS and Big Room Galleries, a “Mixed Bag” of artists, both residents and guests, will be displaying their works. Food and drink is always served, and this time there will be a special treat—a young musician, Jackson Culp, a junior at Sterlington High School, will present his unique blend of ukulele and rap! Culp is usually seen on the theater stage, but he is also an avid ukulele enthusiast. This should be fun as he performs covers of various bands. Guest artists include Julie Crews, Amanda Roe, Rodney Crawford and more.

Just south of the RiverMarket, Crawlers will enjoy more new works at the Garrett House—which will feature a variety of art curated by gallery director and ULM professor Brooke Foy, presenting her aspiring undergraduate students’ work. These students span a wide array of concentrations, all under ULM’s bachelor of fine arts program. Their art will include both sculptures and installation pieces focusing on their ideas of a “Multiple.”

ARENDER studio + gallery on Art Alley will have its annual showing of Ruston’s Joey Slaughter. This popular artist, a faculty member at Louisiana Tech, will present “Bitter vs. Better”—large-scale paintings, wood, and mixed media–all sculptural in feel. Slaughter’s pieces are perfect as gifts for those special people on your list!

Next door, at Sugar Gallery, resident artists Leah Smith Reitzell, Scott Stone, Stacy Medaries, Burg Ransom, and Melanie Douthit welcome their new colleague Chris Cox, who will present repurposed wood transformed into lamps, tables and cigar-box guitars. Reitzell will debut a new series called “Sugarplum Fairies,” a collection of mixed media, textured dancers in every imaginable hue, leaping across the canvases, while Medaries, Ransom, Stone, and Douthit will all have new work to show their loyal fans.

Looking for Christmas gifts? Share the art of the holidays at the Palace, like back in the old days. Jake Dugard from Ruston will be showing his work while everyone’s favorite cigar box ukuleles, guitars, and clocks will be exhibited by Carltones. Illustrations from Tammy Matthews and a few more local makers will bring creativity and joy to their work as the Palace will do its 6th annual Christmas Gifts Show.

The exhibition “Malik Perrilloux Is Just a Concept” features two beautiful images at the Outside Gallery, facing the railroad tracks at the end of Art Alley. Perrilloux’s work deals with the difficulty of depicting the essence of one’s being. The artist acknowledges that many people cannot truly know themselves, much less accurately perceive others. Additionally, the difference between who a person is and who he wants to be can further confuse the matter. These images are personal surrogates for the myriad Malik Perrillouxs that might exist.

Finally, a new gallery is opening at this Crawl. Sikes Gallery (formerly Downstairs Gallery) will feature the art of Rick Sikes for this first exhibition—a treat for all who have enjoyed Sikes’ work of portraiture and illustration art in the past. Sikes has big plans for his gallery—stay tuned!

The artists of Area 318 have lots going on as they present copious gifts to their community. People of all ages will enjoy hearing the music of Alan Brockman on Art Alley, holiday lights will brighten all our spirits, Strauss Little Theatre will be on Antique Alley, motorized carts will carry Crawlers from gallery to gallery (even across the river), and there’s a final treat–pick up a “passport” at any gallery and then have it stamped at all the galleries—it’ll get you a discount at the Block Party going on during and after the Crawl at the Ouachita Candy Company building on Walnut.

The artists and their appreciative public sincerely thank the always-generous DAA sponsors, including Louisiana Pain Care, Bancorp South, Fiesta Nutrition Center, Creed and Creed Law Firm, Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau, KEDM Public Radio, Sir Speedy, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, The News-Star, DeltaStyle, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Rawls DeSigns, Cross Keys Bank, Lavalle Salomon Law Office, Warehouse #1Restaurant, Antique Alley Merchants’ Association, Masur Museum, Choice Brands and Marsala Beverage.

The next Downtown Gallery Crawl will be Thursday, February 2, 2017.