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Tuesday, May 28, 2024



Putting the Fun in Fundraiser for 14 Years

Before you make your usual Saturday night plans for June 8, take a moment to consider some glitz, glam and a little bit of denim. Imagine a night filled with fabulous art, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, hours of dancing and a martini contest all rolled into one. You should also start planning your attire in case this isn’t your first rodeo or, in this case, Bossier Arts Council’s annual ARTini celebration, with this year’s theme, Rhinestone Cowboy. That’s right, dust off your bedazzled boots and sequined Stetsons and join in the fun.

“We can thank Beyoncé,” Executive Director for Bossier Arts Council Brittainy Pope laughed when asked about the theme. “You can wear fringe, jewelry, and no outfit is complete without a hat; wear whatever you feel lends itself to the theme. In recent years, people have really gotten into the theme. You are also welcome to wear cocktail attire. Whatever you decide, come dressed to have a great time.” As Alex Richardson, marketing coordinator for BAC, said, “Why stay black and white tie? Everyone will have something in their closet to wear to this event.”

ARTini is Bossier Arts Council’s largest fundraiser for the year, continuing its commitment to nurturing the arts and fostering a sense of community. “The event also generates critical funds that support a wealth of regular programming, exhibitions and K-12 art education and helps keep costs low for up-and-coming makers and artists through our community arts initiatives and markets,” Pope said. “ARTini highlights local artists, musicians and bartenders. This is a platform for creative artists to shine, promoting cultural appreciation and artistic discovery.”

Every year, BAC selects a new and exciting theme and a different venue. Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino will provide the venue and hors d’oeuvres this year. What about those famous martinis that make up the “tini” in ARTini? To hear Alex Richardson tell it, they are not to be missed. “One of the best martinis I’ve ever had has been during this event.”

Artini Chair Emerie Eck Holtzclaw and BAC Executive Director Brittainy Pope.

There are 15 bars and restaurants competing in this year’s coveted Martini Cocktail Competition with a wide selection of martinis and mocktails.

Participating in the competition provides visibility for mixologists and their establishments within the community, fosters networking opportunities and demonstrates support for the arts. Michelle Buie, manager of Sweet Caroline’s Dueling Piano Bar, is eager to compete for the first time. “We are so excited to be invited to this year’s ARTini! As a new business in town, we are grateful for the opportunities that being a part of this community-based competition will provide. Not only is it a fun, unique way to showcase the talent and creativity of our own bar staff, but also we will get to meet with and share the experience with other locals in the same industry as well.” Mike Maguire, owner of Mike’s Place in Ida, Louisiana, also looks forward to the competition. “I’m very excited to participate again this year. Last year was my first year to compete, and I feel much more prepared. My partner, Kelli Strong, is working with me to fully embrace the Rhinestone Cowboy theme.” Everyone attending the event will also receive their very own hand-painted martini glass to take home with them. The glasses have been painted by private groups of BAC supporters and at public art painting parties.

The evening’s entertainment also changes every year. “We’re excited to have Shreveport’s very own Jimmy Wooten headlining this year,” said Pope. “He just released his debut album, ‘Collision Course.’” Mixmaster phenomenon, drummer, producer and party-rocking DJ Faze will be entertaining for the remainder of the evening.

Be sure to check out the silent auction while you are sipping martinis. Pope credits staff member Alex Richardson and committee member Allison Richardson with collecting a wide array of fabulous items to bid on. “There are some really amazing pieces, everything from gift baskets to wonderful tickets for experiences as well as beauty services and more.”

Long-time arts advocate Pam Atchison will recieve the 2024 Mover and Shaker Award.

It certainly wouldn’t be an arts fundraiser without some spectacular art to take your breath away. Rachel McDonald, a local mixed-media artist, graphic designer and educator, has that covered. “Brittainy Pope saw my work at the Red River Red,” said McDonald. “She thought it was a good match for this year’s theme. I grew up in Minden around horses, so it is a good fit for my own personal style.” McDonald will have several pieces of her art for sale, including larger paintings and some printmaking work, including bandanas and posters. “I’m very honored to be involved, and for the exposure ARTini provides,” McDonald added. “To be following in the footsteps of last year’s artist, Paige Powell, is a really big deal. I have some big shoes to fill. Last year was my first year to attend the event, and I really enjoyed it. I encourage everyone to attend.”

“Another aspect of ARTini,” said Pope, “is our Mover & Shaker Award. This year’s recipient is Pam Atchison, former executive director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council and current director of SRAC’s 2024 Christmas in the Sky. Pam has been an important ally to BAC and played an instrumental role in the growth of arts in our community, so we wanted to honor her and her legacy.” Pam Atchison is equally thrilled with the acknowledgment. “What an honor to be recognized by SRAC’s pARTner in arts development. The Bossier Arts Council and Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) have been ‘moving and shaking’ the arts, cultural and entertainment life for Shreveport-Bossier for years … decades! It’s a humbling honor to represent the Shreveport Regional Arts Council as a mover/shaker partner, receiving this tremendous award from the Bossier Arts Council. I cannot wait to ‘shake it up’ with the friends and fans of the Bossier Arts Council during ARTini.”

It takes a village to orchestrate such a sought-after event year after year.

Pope credited the staff and board of BAC, the ARTini committee and ARTini Chair Emerie Holtzclaw. “Emerie has been our chair the last few years; she has a heart for continuing to help the organization. Our committee is made of up arts and business community members who have a heart for [the] mission. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed their time and talents. I am also thankful for the support of the community all these years.” Alex Richardson agrees. “All things start out and grow, hopefully. It is not just the growth of people wanting to have a good time but also becoming more in tune with the purpose of the arts. I’m thankful for community support over the years.”

Cover illustration is by Rachel McDonald.

ARTini is Saturday, June 8, from 7-11 p.m. at Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino in Shreveport. Tickets are $85 and include a hand-painted martini glass, live music, a silent auction and a chance to purchase fantastic art, as well as a myriad of martinis and mocktails from some of Shreveport-Bossier’s most popular restaurants and bars. Last year, they sold out, so don’t wait too long. You can purchase tickets at bossierarts.org or by calling the Bossier Arts Council at 318-741-8310. You can also visit them on Facebook and Instagram.


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