August is hot, hot, hot—and so is the art in downtown Monroe and West Monroe!
As always on the first Thursday of every even-numbered month, people of all ages will visit with happy neighbors while reveling in live music, good food, and fine art. From 5 to 9 pm on August 4, all eight galleries (two in West Monroe and six in Monroe) will be open and displaying great art. Many of the artists will give artist talks, explaining the inspiration and technique underlying their creations.
The event is always free–the only expense is incurred if you decide to buy some original art. A special treat at this Crawl is a limited-edition poster, based on a large collage by local artist Emily Caldwell and designed by Downtown Arts Alliance President Kelsea McCrary, which will be available at several galleries.
On the West Monroe (Antique Alley) side of the river, the River Gallery features West Monroe artist Mary May. She recently won first place for her painting “Pure September” at the 2016 Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston. Subject matter includes portraits and musical instruments, along with urban landscapes and family pets. May studied under Nicola Vigini, along with many other artists in Texas and Louisiana, as she has been a professional artist for the last 20 years. The River Gallery, Louisiana’s oldest and largest art co-op, includes up to thirty artists of all kinds; guests are welcomed with good food and live music.
Rick Sikes, curator of the Big Room Gallery on Art Alley in Monroe, presents well-known potter Gary Ratcliff, retired ULM art professor, as the lead exhibitor, demonstrating his pottery techniques as well as finished work. He will give an artist talk at 7 pm. Other artists showing at the Big Room will be Emily Caldwell, Callie White, Alyssa Guidry Posey, Amy Ouchley, and Stephanie Jordan. Of course, good food and drink is always available at the Big Room.
ARENDER studio + gallery is proud to present Chad Schoonmaker, a Baton Rouge-based artist specializing in acrylic on canvas. This bright body of work is occasionally sealed with resin and varies in size with an option for every art buyer’s space. Chad’s inspirations are his wife Allison and son Sam. Chad says, “Some call art their ‘escape,’ but for me it’s more like home—my studio is where I feel most like myself.” His pieces give the viewers a chance to install a window into their own emotional landscape and experience. He will give an artist talk at 7:30 pm.
The Garrett House, next to the river on South Grand, is open again, newly renovated for the August Crawl, with Nicole Duet as the guest artist. Duet is an assistant professor of drawing and painting as well as the director of the gallery at Louisiana Tech’s School of Design. Curator Brooke Foy announces that Duet will give an artist talk at 6:30 pm.
On DeSiard Street, the Palace Gallery is hosting a North Louisiana native who has been a working artist since she could hold a crayon. Emily Ezell embraces both oil paint and chalk pastels to indulge her love for vibrant color and dynamic mark making. Ezell received her BFA in studio art from Louisiana Tech in 2008, and she will continue her education this fall when she moves to New York City to attend the New York Academy of Art’s MFA program.
Lazy Days of Summer” is the theme for the artists at Sugar Gallery on Art Alley. From Burg Ransom’s gorgeous sunsets to Melanie Douthit’s coastal-inspired creations, everyone can relate as summer winds down. Leah Reitzell’s textured Louisiana-themed paintings and Mary Thompson’s rural-inspired and travel-themed work always draw great interest. Scott Stone will be on the landing with his guitars adorned with seashells and stones he collected on the coast. Stacy Medaries will be back in the “red room,” so no one should miss out on the visual treat known as SUGAR!
Rumo’s Gallery, on Antique Alley in West Monroe, is hosting Jonathan Clayton, a photography student at Louisiana Tech. He spent time teaching English in China, and his National Geographic-style photos document his time there, with both black and white and color photography. The curator is Austin Bantel; owners of the gallery are Russell and Morgan Moore. Music, food and drink are always a part of the evening at this great place.
Finally, back on Art Alley, Upstairs is pleased to exhibit a mixed bag of work in August. Artists include Angela Genusa, exhibiting her collages incorporating vintage materials in witty and uniquely creative pieces, and Jana Giles, showing “Sublime,” a collection of intriguing photography from exotic places and well as close to home. The show also includes Kay McDonald and Anna Rowan’s collaborative sculptures, made from found objects. Upstairs is co-curated by Anna Rowan and Emily Caldwell.
The next Downtown Gallery Crawl will be Thursday, October 6, 2016.