Press Release, April 6, 2017


Downtown Arts Alliance

P.O. Box 2952

West Monroe, LA 71294

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

For immediate release:

Spring Fever=Art=Downtown Gallery Crawl

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 ten downtown galleries this April 6, 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 6, 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. The whole family, all ages and tastes, will enjoy catching this particular fever!

Original art will be for sale, too, just in time for spring home redecorating. 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 UPSTAIRS and the Big Room galleries hard! Collaborating in this wide-ranging show, these two galleries on Art Alley will be featuring the women of the ART CLUB. Highlighting over a year’s worth of art assignments, “Art Club: Homework” will include a variety of work by Selina Akter, Leigh Buffington, Emily Caldwell, Jenny Ellerbe, Kay McDonald, Amy Ouchley, and Anna Rowan.  Their pieces will include drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, and photography—and it’s spectacular.  There will be an artist talk at 7 pm.

The Outside Gallery, facing the railroad track at the end of Art Alley, will be hosting Raluca Iancu, an Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech University. Her installation Sequence of Events was completed in part while she was a Visiting Artist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  The first layer is printed in relief from a block cut with a router, combining 20th century technology with one of the earliest printmaking techniques, woodcut prints (dating from the 8th century in Asia). Iancu was inspired by highway interchanges in Dallas and Montreal, synching diagrams of these two references together into a pattern that brings beautiful wallpaper to mind. This decorative leitmotif belies the intentions of the second layer of block printing, consisting of many accident diagrams. These many little wrecks, situated in a beguiling, endlessly looping roadscape, reference how people interact with one another–like collisions. We are selfishly oblivious to our impact on others, busy–like those who take the beauty of Sequence of Events at face value from afar.

The artists at Sugar Gallery are always mixing things up, and this April’s show is no exception.  Melanie Douthit will display new pieces from her “Sparkle Unleashed” series. This eclectic mix of themes has a common element–the use of gold leafing in her mixed media pieces. Leah Reitzell‘s newest acrylic series, “Awakening into Spring,” features luminous figure studies awash in a light, airy springtime palette saturated in bright light and color.  Chris D. Cox transforms salvaged wood into lamps, tables and cigar box guitars, while Scott Stone offers unique decorative guitars and nature prints. Burg Ransom will have some brand-new nature photos, and Stacy Medaries will impress with her creative mixed media paintings. And you’ll love the music—Jackson Culp (from Sterlington High School) will be singing. Don’t miss this unique mix of artists at Sugar, where there’s always something sweet!

Other galleries on Art Alley are Arender Studio + Gallery (curated by Brad Arender) and the Downtown Gallery (formerly Sikes Gallery, curated by Ricky Sikes). The Palace Gallery (curated by Jarod Stokes) is opposite this group of galleries, on DeSiard Street, in the repurposed Palace Department Store site.

Then, down by the River on South Grand Street, the Crawler will find the Garrett House, which will present a delightful exhibit of artworks by Geneva Academy’s K-12th grade students. Their teacher is Bethany Wilkins. 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 Jason Byron Nelson, a graphic artist who has recently designed beautiful logos/can designs for the new Flying Tiger brewery. Crawlers will enjoy seeing not just the finished products but the steps in his creative process. Music, food and drink are also part of the evening at Rumo’s, which is owned by Russell and Morgan Moore.

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 up to 30 artists working in painting, photography, woodwork, pottery, sculpture and jewelry.  During the April Gallery Crawl, the featured artist will be Anne R. Eberle, a well-known artist in Monroe, having taught many workshops in the area. Her favorite medium is watercolor. This show is called “Under the Umbrella,” indicating people’s desire to come together. Eberle graduated from Purdue University in applied design, then earned a master’s degree in painting from ULM (then Northeast Louisiana University). She has exhibited in many collections around the country, winning numerous awards in watercolor competitions.

All ten galleries’ artists invite you to view and discuss their work, enjoy refreshments, and listen to live music. Outside the galleries on Art Alley, the public is also invited to participate in being artists themselves, with panels and paint available for hands-on painting—no doubt revealing hidden talents brought out by Spring Fever!

The artists of the Downtown Arts Alliance, as well as their appreciative public, sincerely thank the always-generous DAA sponsors, especially Louisiana Pain Care, Bancorp South, Creed and Creed Law Firm, Fiesta Nutrition Center, Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau, Masur Museum of Art, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, Sir Speedy, the News-Star, KEDM Public Radio, DeltaStyle, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Rawls DeSigns, Cross Keys Bank, Lavalle Salomon Law Office, Warehouse #1 Restaurant, Antique Alley Merchant1 Association, Choice Brands and Marsala Beverage.

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

The next Downtown Gallery Crawl will be Thursday, June 1, 2017.