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Monday, March 30, 2015

Landmark art

Agora Borealis owner outlines locations for mural

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When Katy Larsen looks at downtown Shreveport, she sees a landscape begging for a splash of color. With nearly a year under her belt as owner of the local arts market, The Agora Borealis, she’s already begun to stretch her “paintbrush” over the city including hosting events, trunk shows and even a Mardi Gras fashion show.

Now she’s ready to bring the art she’s so passionate about to an unused space near her marketplace. Larsen has three locations in mind after her first choice location on the east facing wall under the Kansas City Southern Railroad, between Lake Street and Fairfield Avenue was denied by KCS Railroad.

She hopes to bring her mentor and former professor, Nicholas Bustamante and his assistant Whitney Trisler Causey, in for the project.

Bustamante is an associate professor of art at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Larsen’s alma mater. She and her business partner, Brandi Cade, studied under Bustamante as well as the Agora’s graphic designer, Mandie Ebarb.

“He inspires his students. He take things that are forlorn and worn-down and makes them beautiful,” Ebarb said.

“He take abandoned places and brings creativity and life.”

Bustamante was born in Los Angeles, Calif. In 2000, he received his bachelor of art degree from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

He then went on to earn his master of fine arts degree from Long Beach State University in Long Beach, Calif., in 2003.

In Bustamante’s artist statement from his website (www.bustamanteart.

com) he said, “I often take road trips throughout the country in search of abandoned homes and structures. I am drawn to spaces and items that hold within them the evidence of time – structures that at one time functioned but now are broken down to mere shadows of what they once had been. I use these structures as a stage to re-create a narrative history for these places.”

Larsen is still working through getting approval from either of the three locations that will work best, and in the process of beginning Phase 2 of her online IndieGoGo campaign “Change for Change” for the project. While she hasn’t gotten a firm “green light” just yet, she is determined to bring Bustamante here.

“He was and is someone I look up to in the art field. His murals are my inspiration, and I want one of his murals in our city,” Larsen said.

“His art was very aw inspiring. I enjoy what it says, the landscapes that meet his symbolism.”

Phase 1 of Larsen’s online campaign includes permits and concept art (which is currently still being designed), and Phase 2 will include supplies and equipment. The final phase will be labor and completion, and for the going rate of $8,000, Larsen believes she and her team can and will make this happen – even if it takes a little time.

“Half of the cost of the mural has almost been donated as far as supplies go,” Larsen said. “People want to feed and house these people. This money will pay the artist for his time and his assistant’s time.”

Larsen hopes to have stations ready and paint available by June.

“We want this to be a community project,” Rachel Addy, marketing director for The Agora, said.

While the concept for the mural is still being considered, three elements will be included: a lantern, the Red River and a moth.

“Moths are attracted to light. The Agora is the ‘beacon of light’ and the Red River is us. We are the river people,” Larsen said. “We have to stay true to our roots.”

For more information on the campaign or to donate to the mural, go to www. theagoraborealis.com.


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