Visual and Performing Arts
Downtown Gallery Crawl: Seven Galleries, Two Cities, One Night
Spring is the inspiration for artists everywhere, and here in downtown Monroe and West Monroe is no exception. After weeks of dreary, cold weather, our downtown cultural area is ready to bloom—with art!
Sponsored by the Downtown Arts Alliance, the Downtown Gallery Crawl is held on the first Thursday of each even-numbered month. Thursday, April 2, 5-9 pm, is the time for family and friends to enjoy art, food, and music! And because the galleries are in a designated cultural district, any art purchased is sales-tax free.
UPSTAIRS and The Big Room galleries, Art Alley, Monroe:
Inspired! Artists of all kinds are collaborating in UPSTAIRS and The Big Room at the April Crawl. The poetry of Ferrell Mercer is the inspiration for various works of art in UPSTAIRS. Mercer will read some of his poems and haikus during the evening. His book, Leavings, will also be available for purchase. Mercer, a Louisiana native, has lived in Virginia for over twenty years. Artists inspired by his work and exhibiting in various media include Austin Bantel, Ben Bennett, Leigh Buffington, Emily Caldwell, Julie Crews, Kay McDonald, Donna McGee, Lacy Mitcham, Amanda Norris, Christen Parker, Anna Schriefer, Ricky Sikes, and Emery Zachry Thibodeaux. The artist talk will be at 7 pm.
Poverty Point is the inspiration for work in The Big Room. Acclaimed local photographer Jenny Ellerbe and archeologist Diana Greenlee will debut their new book, Poverty Point–Revealing the Forgotten City. The cultural significance of Poverty Point, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2014, resonates regionally, nationally, and internationally. Occupied from about 1700 to 1100 BC, Poverty Point was once the largest city in North America. Its remains–earthen mounds, semicircular ridges, and vacant plaza—intrigue visitors as a place of inspiration as well as puzzlement. This new book, published by LSU Press, delves into this enduring piece of Louisiana’s cultural heritage through personal introspection and scientific investigation.
Artists participating in a Masur Museum-sponsored night hike at Poverty Point with Ellerbe and Greenlee were so inspired that they agreed to produce art for the April Crawl. Along with photography by Jenny Ellerbe, various works will be exhibited by Emily Caldwell, Nicole Duet, Ben Hickey, Rick Sikes, Frank Hamrick, Amy Ouchley, and Cliff Tresner. Poverty Point-inspired poetry by Kelby Ouchley, Amy Ouchley, and Ann Bloxom Smith will be on display. Jenny Ellerbe will give an artist talk at 7:30 pm.
MAD Art Gallery, Art Alley, Monroe:
Julia Caroline Youngblood grew up surrounded by cotton fields on Breston Plantation, located in Riverton, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting, graduating Magna cum Laude. Youngblood pursued graduate work at Syracuse University, New York, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University with a concentration in Drawing and Painting.
She enjoys sharing her talents doing volunteer work at arts organizations in Monroe, Columbia, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Youngblood has teaching experience in beginning watercolor and other courses at the college level. Her work has been included in a multitude of juried and solo exhibitions, including the 2012 “Louisiana Contemporary” at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. She recently completed a three-month residency at Centre d’Art, Marnay sur Seine, France (CAMAC), funded by an Artist’s Career Advancement Grant awarded by Louisiana Division of the Arts.
Caroline’s solo exhibitions are a multi-sensory experience. Events typically include live blues music and an array of Louisiana cuisine to reinforce the content of her work.
Arender Gallery, Art Alley, Monroe:
The Kappa Pi Show featuring ULM Art Kids and Has-Beens—Where Are They Now? ULM is home to the Delta Alpha chapter of Kappa Pi, an international art fraternity in its 114th year of existence. Art students and creative professionals find a home here, and ARENDER studio + gallery is pleased to give these talented artists a venue. With sculpture, paintings, photographs, drawings and mixed media, current and former members will showcase their best for the April Crawl. Find out what really happens during, and after, art school.
Among the artists showing at this gallery are Austin Bantel, Lacy Mitcham, Victoria Smith, Janishi Hightower, Sara Howard, Alyssa Guidry, and Heather Miles.
The Palace Gallery, DeSiard Street, Monroe:
The Palace will be showing Oxford artist Jim Bulian. His work represents the pursuit of depicting truth and beauty through representational painting. The display space, where his work will be shown, is a good example of the ongoing renovation and preservation of downtown Monroe’s history as this gallery is a part of the historic Palace Department Store, which is so fondly remembered by many.
Sugar Gallery, Art Alley, Monroe:
SUGAR Gallery has a unique blend of artists and mediums. Works include award-winning photography by Burg Ransom, Mary Thompson’s oil paintings, acrylic paintings by Leah Smith Reitzell, watercolor and mixed media paintings by Melanie Douthit, and photographs by William Holley in the loft area. Sugar is also hosting guest artist Emery Thibodeaux for the April Crawl.
The River Gallery (Ouachita River Art Gallery), Antique Alley, West Monroe:
Live, Love, Laugh, Letter, and Paint–Marlen Waters’ exhibition is an exploration of color, spirit, paint and self-discovery using watermedia on paper and canvas.
Former executive director of the Dixie Center for the Arts in Ruston, Marlen Waters is a talented professional artist who has studied privately with renowned artists including M. Douglas Walton, Denys Taipale, Anne Bergeron, Betty Lee, and Anita K. Peterson. She is also a master calligrapher and has studied the arts of calligraphy, papermaking, bookbinding, and paper conservation. She has owned and operated her own graphic art company (Waters and Associates) since 1979.
Additionally, Waters has studied at the School of Art at Louisiana Tech University, and she has taught watermedia and calligraphy workshops through various venues. Her work has been selected for inclusion in multiple juried and group exhibitions throughout our region. She is an active member of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council and the River Gallery in West Monroe. She and her family live in Ruston.
Much-appreciated sponsors for the Downtown Gallery Crawl include Fiesta Nutrition Center, Bancorp South, and Creed and Creed Law Offices, along with Sir Speedy, the News-Star, Delta Style, KEDM Public Radio, Hollis and Company Jewelers, Heck Law Firm, Atmos Energy, Community Trust Bank, Cross Keys Bank, LaValle Salomon Law Office, Rawls DeSigns, Marsala Beverage, Restaurant Cotton, Warehouse Restaurant, Restaurant Sage, Choice Brands, Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.