I’ve been going pretty non-stop since, oh, January of 2012. That is when things ramped up in my life. It all began with a trip to Brittany, France with a group of people from Louisiana. Well, aside from being a full time artist, wife and mom, I also serve as the president of a small non-profit organization, NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, which has become my “other” full time job. Our organization is based in Arnaudville, Louisiana – a town of not more than 1,500 people, was the brain child of visionary artist, George Marks. The cool thing about Arnaudville is many of the people there still actively speak French, both Cajun and Creole, I, unfortunately, don’t. Our organization celebrates the language, arts and music of our region. I could go on, but it’s better if I just give the website where you can learn more about it, www.nunucollective.org.
Anyway, back to my crazy life. NUNU’s was visited back in December of 2011 by folks from the French Consulate in New Orleans. Well, they were so impressed with our little organization, and saw such similarities with another organization in Brittany, they felt we had to meet. George organized a group of us and we packed our bags and flew off to Paris, then hopped on the train to Redon to meet with Marco Félez of Les Articulteurs. After 24 hours of travel we were greeted by a most amazing host of people. They were the volunteers of a festival held there, “Bogue d’Or.” They were having their celebratory dinner and we were invited guests. Such wonderful people and what an amazing experience. We listened to traditional chant and danced traditional Brittany dance. This was the beginning of a wonderful partnership, though we didn’t know it yet.
We brainstormed about the many different ways we could work together. In Rennes, France there is a festival, La Grand Souffle that celebrates accordion music. Well, we have a whole lot of that in Louisiana. In October of 2012 the festival featured Zydeco musicians from Louisiana, a seed was planted!
Moving forward, this April, from the 19th to the 24th, our organization is hosting the first ever “Semaine Française d’Arnaudville”. Helping with the organization of this event has been a lot of work, but quite rewarding. The amazing support from community and regional leaders, the support of the French Consulate, and the connections with all the wonderful folks is simply amazing. During French Week we will have over 60 folks coming from out of state and country to attend the conference. That doesn’t even include all the people from our Louisiana region. The conference is about Creative Placemaking. You can learn more about the conference at www.semaine-francaise-arnaudville.org.
So, this is what has pretty much kept me from working in the studio for the past four to five months. It’s not easy to put the brush down for so long, but I do believe it’s gonna be worth it!