Press Release: June 1, 2017, Downtown Gallery Crawl

june2017-outside-Kei Ito-Enola GayPRESS RELEASE

Downtown Arts Alliance
P.O. Box 2952
West Monroe, LA 71294

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

May 15, 2017

For immediate release:

Spring into Summer at the Downtown Gallery Crawl

Now is the time when children stretch their wings, expressing their joy in the promised freedom of summer—and adults do the same! The June 1st Downtown Gallery Crawl gives us all that opportunity to wander about, seeing art and artists freely expressing their creative nature. We are all artists as we express ourselves, both making art and enjoying others’ creations!

Local and visiting artists will be displaying their art at nine galleries in downtown Monroe and West Monroe, Thursday, June 1, 5-9 pm. The Gallery Crawls occur every first Thursday of even-numbered months, produced by the Downtown Arts Alliance—an alliance of galleries and artists in the downtown cultural districts. The Crawls are always free and always feature fine art, food and drink as well as music and other artistic pursuits. The whole family will enjoy this event!

Original art will be for sale, too, so all can share in their very personal expression. 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.

Sugar Gallery, on Art Alley (N. 2nd Street, Monroe), is featuring art as “Unburied Treasure” at this Crawl, focusing on upcycling and the creative ways artists incorporate found objects into art–from guitars to lamps to paintings and photography. Scott Stone, who shows on the landing, has been recycling for over 30 years. It was 10 years ago when he was inspired by upcycled guitars while vacationing in Florida. He found a guitar that had been trashed; he then transformed it into a piece of art using bottle caps and Scrabble letters. He donated it to an Autism Society auction in Lafayette, and more upcycled pieces soon followed. “I’ve used copper out of an old travel trailer, broken mirror bits, nuts, bolts, jewelry, seashells and whatever unburied treasures I could find,” says Stone. He has rescued many more guitars from fires, ditches and trash and transformed them into beauties. “I’m always on the lookout for those special pieces to add to my box–whether along the side of the road or in an old junk drawer, knowing that one day they might find a permanent place in my Unburied Treasure collection,” Stone adds. More upcycled pieces will be shown by other Sugar artists: Melanie Douthit, Leah Reitzell, Burg Ransom, Chris Cox, and Stacy Medaries. Upcoming artist Bekah Hardin will also be showing paintings and drawings, and 2016 Louisiana Seafood King Chef Blake Phillips from Bayou Roux will be providing food samples. At Sugar Gallery there’s always something sweet!

The Outside Gallery, facing the railroad track at the end of Art Alley, will host Baltimore artist Kei Ito with his photography exhibition “It Made Angels Out of Everybody.” Dealing with themes of loss and danger in the atomic age, Ito’s pictures have a ghost-like, irradiated appearance that gives visual form to the transience of our earthly existence. The show serves as a dramatic reminder that history is cyclical and that humankind is often the agent of its own destruction. More information about Ito can be found at kei-ito.com.

The Outside Gallery will also be collaborating with the Masur Museum in support of its AltEx program, as a result of the fire that damaged most of the museum’s permanent off-site art collection. While the museum itself was not damaged, the exhibition program will be disrupted during the fire recovery period. AltEx, short for Alternative Exhibition, is a public art program that will feature temporary public art projects throughout northeast Louisiana—including the Outside Gallery. While the museum’s galleries are serving as a conservation/restoration lab (open to the public) for the foreseeable future, art projects will be popping up throughout the area, and educational programs will continue. To keep informed, “like” the Outside Gallery and the Masur Museum of Art on Facebook; the Outside Gallery is also on Instagram as outsidegallery318. More information is available by phone: 318-329-2237.

Are you curious about the creative act of making art? Resident and guest artists in UPSTAIRS will give you a chance to watch them making art in their Open Studio during the June crawl. Selina Akter, Anna Rowan, Amy Ouchley, Leigh Buffington, Emily Caldwell, Jenny Ellerbe, Kay McDonald, Alyssa Guidry-Posey and others will be on hand to show work in various stages including photography, oil paintings, acrylic paintings, watercolor, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, mixed media pieces, and pencil/ink drawings.

The Big Room’s exhibition—Human Error–is focused on the fragile balance of our technological progress and our primitive, organic environment, and the struggle for power that emerges between them. This group show includes EmJ + Ali, Annie Dollar, Whitney Hicks, Katie Minyard, Jason Byron Nelson, Rhyan Emery Taylor, Madi Viola, Sarah Prescott, and Brandon Wilson. The show features an interactive video installation, cyberpunk facepainting, sculpture, paintings, and photographs on view and for sale!

The show at the Downtown Gallery, curated by Ricky Sikes on Art Alley, will be by guest artist Chris King, head of the Visual Arts Program and Gallery Director at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Titled “Up All Night,” the show’s themes have been influenced by the artist’s personal history, such as the places he’s lived, as well as contemporary popular culture. Since moving from Los Angeles to Louisiana in 2008, King has noticed changes in his perspective, while recent political tensions—the “winner-loser” mentality now current—is increasingly reflected in his work. King was born in Massachusetts, earning two bachelor of fine arts degrees from the University of Massachusetts and then a master of fine arts from CalArts in Los Angeles. His artwork, including painting, sculpture, performance and video, has been exhibited in galleries and museums all over the U.S.

The Palace Gallery on DeSiard Street in Monroe will host a show abbreviated as HULA—Harding University in Latin America, where artist Daniel Adams and his wife Meagan traveled four times over twenty years. The fifteen original etchings resulting from this project are printed in limited editions of 25 each, then gathered into portfolios that will be for sale, with part of the proceeds going toward a scholarship for future student-artist travels. Further artistic offerings include a 7 pm concert of New Music on the Bayou musicians.

On South Grand Street, Brooke Foy of the Garrett House is excited to present West Monroe High School’s art students under the instruction of Victoria Smith. The show “Snack Attack” is an energetic assortment of paintings turned sculptures. Viewers may think they have seen the usual snack items like chips and candy, but these students are reinventing the normal. These everyday snacks will be something that captures their audience’s attention and leaves it hungry for more!

On Antique Alley, Rumo’s Gallery will present work by Michael Kasey, RGHNCK. Curated by Austin Bantel, this show will be lively and interesting. Owners Russell and Morgan Moore always host a great show in a friendly space, including snacks and drinks. Golf carts will transport Crawlers back and forth across the river. Sadly, the Downtown Arts Alliance announces the closure of the Ouachita River Art Gallery, also located on West Monroe’s Trenton Street. The faithful and talented artists of this gallery will be missed!

Arender Gallery on Monroe’s Art Alley will round out the evening’s offerings.

All nine 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.

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, Antique Alley Merchant1 Association, Choice Brands and Marsala Beverage. The artists especially thank new sponsor Bayou Roux Restaurant on Highway 165.

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, August 3, 2017.

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