Check this episode of Law and Artist to learn how to mix careers safely. by Art_Scouts_Radio on Mixcloud
In 2011 my husband Phil accepted a job teaching law at Louisiana State University. So, in June, we packed our bags and loaded the moving truck. We said goodbye, “for now,” to all of our friends in Maryland and Washington D.C., and moved back to Baton Rouge after 10 years away. Phil grew up in Baton Rouge and I had attended LSU back in, oh… a while ago 🙂 In fact, Baton Rouge was where I “re-met” Phil, we got married and had our first son. The Baton Rouge we came back to certainly looked the same, but we were about to learn how much it was changing.
An artistic movement was happening in BR. Downtown was beginning to be renovated, murals were happening around town and artistic groups were forming and bringing attention to art as a “place maker,” giving a new identity to the city. It was a very exciting time to be moving back. I was already involved with NUNU Arts and Culture Collective in Arnaudville, Louisiana and knew very well the benefits of Creative Placemaking. This was a perfect fit.
My husband and I were fortunate to be selected by Bruce Morgan for his radio program on 96.9 WHYR Community Radio, “Art Scouts.” Phil and I discuss all of this and a little more in our interview. And thank you so much Bruce for creating and sharing this wonderful program.
My solo exhibit went very well in St. Louis last month. The coolest thing to happen as a result of the show is that some of my work is going to hang in Art Palm Beach in January 2014. Can I tell you how motivated I was at having this opportunity… Well, during this past month I have been working non-stop on three more paintings to send to the show. Well, it’s a three panel painting where the panels can be sold individually, so it’s one painting, or two paintings or three paintings, depending on how it goes 🙂
I’ll be heading down to Palm Beach, Florida for the fair. If you want to find me, just stop by Duane Reed Gallery’s space at the fair and ask about me. They’ll certainly be able to track me down!
Here is the piece I just finished for the fair.
Oil on canvas
108″ x 60″ x 3″
I’ve been working on a number of paintings, getting ready for my solo exhibit at Duane Reed Gallery. Duane Reed is located in the Central West End of St. Louis at 4729 McPherson Ave. It’s quite a beautiful section of town, a very historic feel, very pedestrian. The reception is the evening of November 15th and the show will run through January. Continuing my Echo series, I will be exhibiting six paintings. All but one of the paintings are done in multiple panels. Three of the paintings are designed in such a way to cross over with my Serendipity series, such that the paintings can be broken up. This is the first time I have created Echo paintings in which the individual panels from the paintings can be sold as complete paintings.
Here is one of the pieces, composed of three 8 foot by 1 foot panels where each panel can be sold individually.
Echo XXXIII oil on canvas 96″ x 36″
And here is another one which can be sold as either one or two paintings…
Echo XXXIV oil on canvas 72″ x 60″
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!
Today my husband and I (kids are visiting with grandparents this weekend) decided to take a small road trip out to Shenandoah National Park and hike up to Mary’s Rock. The trail was quite rocky and it was 3.5 miles round trip. I have always been a slow walker and there was no exception on this trip. It took me about 3 hours to do the hike and, as usual, folks passed me on the way up, and on the way down. Oh well, at least I can. From Mary’s Rock you have a 360 degree view.
My life never seems to get boring, and this couldn’t be more true right now. As well as being an artist, I am also the president of a non-profit organization down in Arnaudville, Louisiana, Frederick l’Ecole des Arts.
In July we had a terrible blow to our organization when the building we shared with Town Market, Nunu’s Café (George Marks’s family business) caught fire and was a complete loss. Since the fire it has been amazing to see the community of people, who have come to know us collectively as “NUNU’s”, rally together and work to raise funds so we can rebuild. I recently got back from a trip down to Louisiana where our first fundraiser was held at Blue Moon Saloon and Guest House in Lafayette. What a night! Six bands donated their talent and time to help us out. George and his Mom worked tirelessly serving food they used to prepare for the café. So many volunteers stood by our side, rolling up their sleeves, doing whatever needed to be done. My hats are off to all of you, with your help we can accomplish just about anything!
You can help us in so many ways. One way is to follow this link, register and vote for the Arnaudville Experiment of which Frederick l’Ecole des Arts is a component. This Place Matters, Arnaudville Experiment=Louisiana Culture. This is a grant program through the National Trust for Historic Preservation and we can win this grant if we get the most votes.
We have a website listing our upcoming fundraisers called Phoenix Rising / Nunu’s where you can see what is going on. Everyone is welcome! If you can not attend a fundraiser, but would like to donate, you can make a donation to the organization on our secure Frederick l’Ecole website donation page : http://frederick-arts.org/donationform.html. Please also consider becoming a member of the organization.