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Monday, June 22, 2015

An Institution

Club offers opportunities for local artists

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Shreveport Art Club is truly a local institution. Founded in 1921 by a few local artists, the group remains active and thriving, “furthering art in the cities of Shreveport, Bossier and the surrounding area for the enjoyment of all,” as it says in the group’s artist statement.

The club holds regular meetings where they receive instruction from presenters, grow together in their skills and fellowship with one another.

“SAC is a warm, welcoming and friendly group, and I am glad to be a part of it,” Judy Horne, a local artist and SAC member, said.

After Horne retired from Caddo schools, she began painting in watercolor. While working with the Wednesday Painters at the Barnwell Center, she heard about SAC.

“My husband is a fine amateur photographer, and together we joined SAC for its programs and competitive exhibitions,” Horne said. “It wasn’t long until we became part of the board in various capacities. For the past several years, I have been the treasurer and membership chair, and my husband, Bob, has put out a monthly newsletter. In addition, Bob publishes the award-winning work in each exhibit as a page on his website, www.shreveportartists. net.”

In addition to Bob Horne’s site, member Linda Snider-Ward maintains a blog about the group’s many activities at shreveportartclub1.wordpress.com.

“We currently have 48 members. We meet the first Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. except July and August at the Randle T. Moore center on Fairfield,” Becky Garner, second vice president of show for SAC, said. “Our meetings are open to the public, and we welcome interested guests.”

Judy believes the meetings are one of the best parts of SAC membership. “We are unique in this area in that we have a paid presenter at each of our monthly meetings. No matter what the subject of the presentation or demonstration, or what medium is used, I always learn something from the program.”

Garner agrees. “Beyond the friendships and networking with other artists, I most enjoy the demonstrations at our monthly meetings,” she said. “Members and other invited artists give a two-hour presentation of their choosing. Most times they actually paint or draw, showing us their techniques or approaches, sometimes even completing a work, alla prima.”

“We try to have one of our meetings during the year be for the whole group to paint,” Garner said. “Someone brings reference material or a challenge, and we all get to interpret that. Usually we bring our finished works back to show at the next meeting. We generally have a discussion at the beginning of each meeting, announcing member news, shows and opportunities to exhibit or learn.”

In addition to the regular meetings, the club also hosts workshops. “This year the club offered a workshop in February covering the use of a limited six-color palette, taught by professional artist and Grambling University instructor Donna McGee,” Garner said. “Our workshops are open to the public. Workshop fees are reduced for club members, another benefit of membership.”

Members get to test their skills with regular competition and exhibitions. “We usually hold two judged competitions each year. Sometimes, we exhibit at the local libraries or other venues without judging, allowing us to display works that may not be eligible for our competition,” Garner said. “We try to incorporate most genres of art. Currently, we have seven categories in our competitions: oils, water media [watercolor, gouache], graphics [pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, scratch board], mixed media/collage, photography, pastels, acrylics. We also accommodate sculpture when the venues allow it, and we have interest from club members.”

“Our exhibits offer beginning and experienced artists alike an opportunity to get our work out there as well as incentive to keep painting. We all benefit from jurors who offer general suggestions for improvement or individual critiques,” Judy said.

“It has been so rewarding to be a member for four years, to get involved. Involvement helps to create true friendships,” SAC President Marion Davis said.

The next show will be the 94th Annual Judged Exhibition. This will be Aug. 9-Sept. 11 at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum.

–Kirk Fontenot

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