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Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018

DOWNTOWN ARTWALK

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Event turns three with a September to remember

A couple of years ago, a group of talented and creative souls were huddled around the DDA conference table playing a game of “who’s going to the bathroom first?” Katy Larsen of The Agora Borealis, Christine Bailey of Norsworthy Gallery, David Nelson of Minicine?, Angelique Feaster of Southern University Museum of Art-Shreveport (SUMAS), Pam Atchison of Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) and others had just concluded a spirited discussion on the need for a regularly scheduled downtown artwalk, and all had pledged support of one.

The only question was, who was going to create it, plan it, market it and herd the many players – both venues and artists – each month? Cue the crickets. At that moment, anyone who had left the room FOR ANY REASON would have been “it.” As is so often the case where angels fear to tread, the highly caffeinated rush in. DDA (that would be me, and my employees are happy to remind me of this) took on the task with the admonition that it was “only for one year” to give us time to gauge reaction.

That was 2016, and we’re still at it because the venues, businesses and artists keep participating, and the community’s love affair with the Artwalk continues to grow. It has indeed been a remarkable thing. Since that first Artwalk in September of 2016, I have come to more fully appreciate our seemingly boundless local artistic talent and have been amazed at our artists’ constant creativity, resilience and graciousness. These are people who are willing to get off work early to haul boxes of clunky goods a city block in 100-degree heat to set up, then stand on their feet for several hours, make conversation, answer questions and “maybe” sell a work or two.

Our venues and businesses throw open their doors after hours, make space for artists, and often go above and beyond by setting up children’s activities (Shreve Memorial Library), hosting special receptions (SUMAS, artspace, Agora Borealis, Marilyn Yu Museum, Central Artstation), hiring bands (Rydaz Bar & Eatery), hosting art competitions (Bon Temps Coffee Bar), offering food and drink specials (Robinson Film Center) and doing soup-to-nuts onenight-only exhibits (Minicine?). These artists and business/venue owners deserve a giant community hug. They rock.

September Artwalk is going to rock, too. It will be the kickoff of SRAC’s Fresh-Local-Arts series, an event that aims to show that there is something art-related to do in the area 365 days a year. Artspace at 708 Texas will be Fresh Central, with exhibits by artist Josh Chamber and poet Katie Bickham, and it will be home for the night to 15 artists: Larry “Taz” Sanchez, Kevin Langley, James Ward, Karen Pearce, Susan Fortenberry, Rod Talbot, Sherry Tamburo, Robert Streeter, M.C. Rollo, Bre Banks, Star Williams, Tracy McComic, Janet Maines, Lauri Wallace and Paige Powell.

Your purchase from Parish Taceux that night will help fund the wonderful Shreveport Water Works Museum, and Abby Singer’s Bistro at Robinson Film Center will have happy hour half-price deals all night long.

Brianna Belton Design at the Lofts at 624 will be selling bundles of happy hour flowers. Artists Melissa June, Robert Trudeau, Josh Brittian, Karmen Reed, Lauren Ross, Aidan McFarland, Kegan Kidd, Paul Russo and Lisa Cook Marshall will be set up on the ground floor and mezzanine.

Sweet Tee Shreveport will be selling cute shirts, and you can drop by At Home Academy Test Prep & Tutoring to hear poetry readings by Ashley Mace Havird and others.

At the Marlene Yu Museum, enjoy the opening reception for Marjorie Grigonis’ “50 Years of Creation” and at Southern University’s Museum of Art, meet Connie Stephens-Eaton and see her “Expressions in Watercolor.”

Figure out how Andronicus Scott moves the way he does as the street dancer twists, turns and slides in rubbery and remarkable ways.

Tour 611 Texas, a vacant (and available) building that, for the night, will house artists Tony Reans, Tobby Smith and Andrea Brown. Artist Hannah Roark will be doing fun caricatures while you wait.

It’s here that we’ll have our short “History in 5” talk that features fascinating bits of downtown’s past and where you can try your hand at architectural drawing.

Architect Mischa Farrell will be there to help you Sketch the City and find and define talent you didn’t realize you had.

The Artwalk is free to attend and appropriate for all ages. We hope you join us and discover all the fun for yourself at the Downtown Artwalk!

Liz Swaine is the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. She can be reached at liz@downtownshreveport.com.

ON STANDS NOW!

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