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19 arts organizations benefit from Arts Council’s first Lunch & Learn

Lunch & Learn

The Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana’s first ever Lunch & Learn benefited 19 arts organizations and 26 individuals on September 6. The Lunch & Learn series is part of the Arts Council’s arts entrepreneurial training program, which equips artists and arts organizations with business skills to assist with professional development.

Danielle Kelley Tolbird, Arts Council community development coordinator, led a presentation called PR 101. Attendees learned how to write a press release, how to segment audiences, and how to approach journalists.

Future Lunch & Learn topics include approaching museums and galleries, and income and sales taxes. To be the first to RSVP to Lunch & Learn, be sure to sign up for the Arts Council e-newsletter here.

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October Brown Bag lineup announced

The Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana will once again host its free Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series at noon on Wednesdays this October at Anna Gray Noe Park in downtown Monroe. The public is invited to pack a picnic lunch or buy lunch from The Cookout food truck. The October Brown Bag Lunch Concert Series lineup includes:

  • October 3 – Mason Granade
    A long-time series favorite, Granade has performed for over 30 years and is a regular at local venues. Granade is influenced by The Eagles, America, and The Beatles. He is the worship leader at Bethel Baptist Church, and is featured in R-Squared films New Hope and Flag of My Father.
  • October 10 – Josh Madden
    Host of KEDM’s The Set List, Madden performs at local venues and teaches both guitar and piano to budding musicians. His musical influences are Ray Charles, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Dave Matthews.
  • October 17 – The Lady & The Trouble
    Duo Joel Jordan and Katie Anzalone will bring vintage blues, R&B and Americana sounds to their premiere Brown Bag performance. The Lady & The Trouble have played at the Arts Council’s Northeast Louisiana Summer Film Series, as well as Peaches Records, Disko Obscura, and Secondline Brewing in New Orleans.
  • October 24 – The Waterboys
    Featuring powerful harmonies, acoustic and electric guitars and a bountiful rhythm section, The Waterboys are three local musicians: Brandon Muey, Brian Burris and Morgan Decelle. Having performed for more than 16 years, the trio has played alongside our area’s best entertainers. Their eclectic mix spreads from classic rock to today’s hits.
  • October 31 – The Oden Family featuring West Monroe High School music students
    No tricks and all treats will be served at this Halloween Brown Bag performance featuring husband-wife duo Greg and Kristen Oden. The Odens are music educators at West Monroe High School, and have performed in Carnegie Hall. Joining the Odens are their children Blake and Morgan, and their students.

In case of rain, Brown Bag will be moved to First Baptist Church of Monroe. Brown Bag is sponsored by CenturyLink, KEDM, Origin Bank, and the City of Monroe. Complimentary cookies are provided by Mulhearn Corporation. Kilpatrick’s is providing a tent to keep the musicians cool and in the shade. Water and lemonade are provided by First Baptist.

Young Local Artist Annelise DeLancy

At the impressive age of 17, Annelise DeLancy is a young local artist who already has her own solo art exhibit at the Schepis Museum. A recent graduate and art student from Caldwell Parish High School, we thought Annelise would be the perfect individual to speak to about arts education.

When talking to Annelise, she explained that she had always been in love with visual art. When she was very young, Annelise created her first artwork with her aunt who introduced her to oil painting. It was then that her passion for art was sparked, and it stuck with her ever since.

“I’ve always been obsessed with art. My grandma says that I came into the world with a pencil and color in my hand.”

Although Annelise had the desire to learn more about the intricacies of art, her public middle school did not provide art education classes at the time. It was not until high school, she able to enroll in an art class. There, she was finally able to learn the artistic techniques and concepts.

“We learned primary colors, secondary colors, shades, lines, textures, patterns, everything– and how they fit in with each other. Art is kind of like a puzzle; you piece it all together in your own little way and make it unique.”

However, it wasn’t instantaneous for Annelise how she would make her “puzzle” individually unique. Annelise explained that it actually took her a year to discover her own painting style: rustic vibes, wildflowers, cotton fields, and country living. Once Annelise was able to find her true artistic identity, her art started flying off the walls. Annelise chuckled that one woman even offered her a thousand dollars for one of her paintings in her high school’s art show- which she humbly declined. Soon enough, word got around, her social media presence grew, and the Schepis Museum formally invited her to have her own solo exhibit!

“I had one lady offer me one thousand dollars for one, but I turned it down because I wasn’t really in love with that piece. I think I sold it for a hundred dollars.”

Just as it did for Annelise, arts education transforms a student’s life. Annelise shares that art is an outlet for her to express herself, and it allows her to convey who she is in a way nothing else can. She says the way she interprets life is different because of art. When life hits her in ways she doesn’t expect, she now has art to melt away her stress, anger, sadness, and transform those feelings to colors onto a canvas.

“I take my crazy emotions and make it into something beautiful.”

To see Annelise’s beautiful artworks like this one, be sure to visit the Schepis Museum in Caldwell Parish from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Her exhibit will be featured until August 31st, so be sure to visit soon.

Imagine if Annelise never was able to enroll in her first high school art class. Our full research shows that there are still 9,922 rural public school students without a single opportunity to attend an arts education class. Donate to the Arts Council today to help assist our arts education initiatives.

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Meet the Executive Committee: Alex Schott

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is excited to announce that we have elected multiple accomplished and influential people onto our Executive Board. We think it would be great for the community to get to know the leaders of our Board and how each of them are using their own unique abilities to promote the arts in our area! This week, we had the pleasure to interview our newly elected Administrative Vice Chair, Alex Schott.
Q: Tell me about your background; where are you from, what was your childhood like, what is your family like?

A: I’m originally from New Orleans, which is where my father is from. Our family business, Schott & Company Meats, was firmly established in New Orleans for over a century, beginning in 1879. My mother’s family is from Nicaragua, which they fled during political unrest in the late 1960s and came to New Orleans, and where she would eventually meet my dad. I’m your typical child of the late 1970s and 1980s- not too different from the upbringing displayed by Netflix’s “Stranger Things” kids. My days were spent riding bikes, playing Atari, watching MTV and visiting our local record store on a weekly basis to get the latest new release… and that I would proudly play on my double tape deck boom box.

Q: What is your current job, and what else are you involved with in the area?

A: For my day job, I’m CenturyLink’s director of internal communications, which involves serving as the front lines of communications for nearly 50,000 employees. My other job is dad and husband. My wife and I have two rambunctious boys, aged 10 and 12, so the majority of my free time in the area is spent doing activities with them, which includes baseball, soccer, boy scouts, bike riding, foosball, and hanging out on the bayou when we can.

Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in communications?

A: It certainly wasn’t planned. I was initially going the law school route while an undergrad at LSU, but after working at a few law firms, I felt a different career path should be explored. Long story, short… I wound up graduating in political science and moving to California to get a Masters degree in film and media studies. Having always enjoyed experimenting with new technology, it was during this time that I was self-taught in web design and coding and became involved in digital communications in the early days of the internet. I parlayed that into a career that has seen me serve in a series of roles from media relations, public relations, business development, public policy, digital media, employee communications and executive communications.

Q: I know you have only been living in Ouachita Parish for a couple years; how is your life different compared to living in New Orleans?

A: It’s obviously a lot smaller that any city we had ever live and, though my wife and I lived in California for a few years, it was first time we’ve moved with kids. We also knew no one. However, within the first three days, we made great friends who helped ensure that we acclimated to the area quickly. This is a very family-oriented area, and my kids love it. It has been a great experience.

Q: So far, what is your favorite thing about Northeast Louisiana?

A: The people here are awesome. Small town life suits us well! When it comes to raising two children, I have to say that there is a unique sense of family and safety that allows them to grow up in a way that isn’t an option in most larger cities. We love the neighborhood we are in, and it’s great not to have to deal with traffic every morning. It’s really the small things you don’t realize you’re missing out on until you leave a big city.

Q: What special asset do you believe you bring to the table on the Board of Directors?

A: With a PR/communications and digital-focused background, I think I can help provide guidance on creating greater awareness around the Arts Council and as it builds a larger digital presence in the new media landscape. The board is really committed to growing the Council’s membership and the ideas that are being shared are very exciting for the area. I believe having a communications background will help us bring those ideas and projects to life.

Q: What are some things most people do not know you are passionate about?

A: Outside of my family and work, my biggest passion is music. I’ve always loved music, but it wasn’t until 5 years ago that I actually decided to play music and picked up a guitar. It was a game-changer for me as it helps me relax and is so therapeutic. While it’s a great creative outlet and it keeps my mind sharp, it’s not something anyone would pay to hear so I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon. By the time my kids go to college, I figure I will be good enough to play in a band so I can embarrass them covering “Free Bird” in the bars around their school. Kidding, of course.

Q: What are you most looking forward as the Arts Council’s new Administrative Vice Chair?

A: I see a tremendous opportunity for the Arts Council and the board is really engaged in making a positive difference for Northeast region. I am looking forward to keeping the momentum going. I have seen the Council do so much in the past couple years and I want to make sure that creative and energy only increases.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to mention that I did not cover?

A: I do this when I interview people… How about 5 quick favorites?
Favorite Book – Catcher in the Rye (I named my son Holden)
Favorite Movie – If you ask me today, “There Will Be Blood”… if you ask me tomorrow, “Dr. Strangelove”
Favorite Band – Pink Floyd
Favorite TV Show – Seinfeld
Favorite Team – New Orleans Saints
We as the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council are so excited to have Alex on our Executive Board. We admire his energy and humor and also is experience and intellect. We know he will be a great leader not only for the Arts Council but also for our arts community as a whole.
-Joanna Calhoun
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North Delta Food & Wine Festival tickets on sale now

North Delta Food and Wine Festival tickets on sale now

 

The North Delta Food & Wine Festival is jam-packed with meals, tastes and sips. Mark your calendars for the Grand Tasting from 6-9 p.m. October 12 at the new Bayou Pointe Event Center.

There are different ticket options for you to choose from:

General Admission

General admission tickets* give you access to all the food and wine at the Grand Tasting from 6-9 p.m. October 12 at Bayou Pointe. Enjoy live music with a beautiful view of Bayou Desiard. Advanced tickets are $55 and can be bought online here. Don’t wait to buy your tickets! They will be $65 at the door.

Host Committee

As a Host Committee member, your name will appear on the festival’s website and Facebook event. In return, we ask that you invoke true North Delta hospitality and invite your friends, colleagues and family to the Grand Tasting.

Why join? As a leader in our community, we know you are dedicated to the continued growth of the arts and culture scene in northeast Louisiana. Your early support of the festival is an investment of the Arts Council’s mission to nurture a vibrant regional arts culture through support, promotion and education.

So what’s the commitment? We ask Host Committee members to make a financial commitment of $250, which includes two tickets* to the Grand Tasting, as well as entrance to the Sponsor Preview Gala, where you will get the opportunity to mix and mingle with chefs as they prepare for the Grand Tasting. Join the Host Committee by clicking here.

Tensas River Table Sponsor

Why go to the North Delta Food & Wine Festival alone when you can go with your best friends? Eat in style at your own private, reserved table for 8. For $600, the Tensas River Table Sponsor allows entry for 8 people* from 6-9 p.m. October 12 at Bayou Pointe for the festival’s Grand Tasting. Reserve your table here.

To be listed as a sponsor on our website and be included in limited marketing materials, email your name or logo to Danielle at region8cdc@gmail.com.

Ouachita River Table Sponsor

Kick the party off an hour earlier than general admission guests* at the Sponsor Preview Gala preceding the Grand Tasting on October 12 at Bayou Pointe. For $1,200, you’ll get your own private table for 8, which allows entry to both the Sponsor Preview Gala (where you’ll get to mix and mingle with the chefs as they prepare for the Grand Tasting) and the Grand Tasting itself.  Reserve your table today here.

To be listed as a sponsor on our website and be included in limited marketing materials, email your name or logo to Danielle at region8cdc@gmail.com.

 

*IDs are required upon entry. Sorry, no one under the age of 21 is permitted to attend the Grand Tasting.  This includes toddlers and infants.  The Arts Council urges all adults to consume alcoholic products responsibly. Tickets are non-refundable.

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Downtown Gallery Crawl this August 2nd

Get excited! The Downtown Gallery Crawl is once again sweeping through the 318 bringing captivating art, marvelous live music, and the most scrumptious of foods. Absolutely free to the public, this dynamic event is located in Downtown Monroe and West Monroe and consists of 9 galleries featuring our most talented local artists and photographers.

Also, be sure to check out our special pop-up exhibit at the Baker Building during the Downtown Gallery Crawl. We as the Arts Council will debut Leigh Buffington’s poster for the 2018 North Delta Food & Wine Festival where signed posters will be for sale.

Come celebrate the arts and our creative community on Thursday, August 2nd from 5-9 p.m. This is an event you will not want to miss! If you can’t attend the Crawl this time, don’t worry. This event occurs on the first Thursday of every other month. For more information about the Downtown Art Gallery click here.

-Joanna Calhoun

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“Fishing Fantasy” public art sculpture to be installed in Farmerville

A permanent sculpture entitled “Fishing Fantasy” designed by local artist Jamie Anderson will soon grace the south lawn of the Union Parish Courthouse. The Union Museum of History and Art is guiding the art installation project as a gift to the community. The seven-foot-tall sculpture will feature a sparkling glass tile mosaic image depicting the beauty of Union Parish waters and fish life. Construction of the concrete form will be led by James Gatson beginning the week of July 30. The project is expected to be completed by late September.

Union Parish Courthouse public art rendering

Commemorative bricks at the base of the sculpture are available for sale. Donations for bricks will range from $125-$200 for 4×8 inch bricks. For information about purchasing a brick, call Brittany Unkel at 318.368.5400.

This public art installation is funded in part by the Arts Council’s decentralized arts funding (DAF) grant program. Activities of the Union Museum of History and Art are supported by a grant from the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council,  Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.Activities of the Arts Council are supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.

Union Parish art ground breaking

 

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Arts Council Privacy Policy

The Arts Council board approved the following privacy policy at its July 18, 2018 board meeting:

 

“The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council (NLAC) respects your privacy and is committed to protecting it.  The nelaarts.org website site may collect, store, and use personal information submitted via the site.

  1. Collection of Information

Certain applications on the NLAC website may require users to register or to provide personal information in order to become members of the Council.  Such personal information is not sold to third parties.  Members also have the option of choosing not to be listed in our publications.  That option is clearly stated on the membership application.

  1. Mailing Lists

If you provide your email or mailing address, NLAC may periodically contact you with special offers, updated information, and new services.  Any emails sent to you by NLAC offer you the option to be removed from the email mailing list.

Selected applications on our website allow visitors to subscribe to our newsletter by providing their names and addresses to NLAC.  If you provide NLAC with your mailing address or telephone number, NLAC in addition to providing you with the newsletter, may also use this information to alert you to updated information, new services or events.  If you wish to be removed from the email mailing list, you may do so by contacting NLAC or by using the option provided in the email.

  1. Information to third parties

NLAC will never sell your information to other companies.  Occasionally, other Region 8 non-profit arts organizations may request use of our mailing list to promote a specific one-time event, provide information or promote their upcoming season.  You may choose to opt out of the list for these purposes, and to do so, please contact NLAC directly.

  1. Financial information

Our online store is hosted by Square.  Our on-line ticket sales are through BonTempTix.  Processing of online payments are through either Square or PayPal. These services automatically collect order information but may only use this information in the aggregate. Information about these services privacy policies can be found at https://squareup.com/help/us/en/article/3796-privacy-and-security and https://bontempstix.com/about/privacy and https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ua/privacy-full

  1. Information Security

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is committed to maintaining the security of personal information. We employ reasonable security measures to secure and protect the information we receive. Please remember, though, that no method of electronic transmission or storage is 100% secure.

  1. Links

Our site may include links to other websites.  We do not control the privacy policies of the destination sites.  Once you leave our servers (you can check where you are by checking the URL in the location bar on your browser), use of any information you provide is governed by the privacy policy of the operator of the site you are visiting.  That policy may differ from ours.  If you can’t find the privacy policy of any of these sites via a link from the site’s homepage, you should contact the manager of that site for more information.  NLAC is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of websites other than nelaarts.com.

  1. Children

We do not solicit personal information from children.  Sites specifically geared toward children will not request any personal or contact information.

  1. Changes to this Privacy Policy

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council has the discretion to modify or amend this privacy policy at any time, without notice.  We encourage Users to read this policy each time you use the website to stay up-to-date and informed about how we are helping to protect the personal information collected on our website.  You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this privacy policy periodically and become aware of modifications.

  1. Your Acceptance of these Terms

By using this site, you signify your acceptance of this policy.  If you do not agree to this policy, please do not use our site.  Your continued use of the site following the posting of changes to this policy will be deemed your acceptance of those changes.

  1. Contact Us / How to update your personal information

You can help NLAC maintain the accuracy of your personal information by notifying us when you change your address, title, phone number, or email address.  Contact us via the information on the nelaarts.org contacts page if you wish to update your information or if you no longer wish to receive communications from NLAC or selected arts organizations in the community. “

Letter from the President/CEO

From the Arts Council’s 2018-18 annual report:

2017-18 Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana annual report

“What a great year!

To our members,

Thank you! Thank you for your generous support. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for believing in the arts. Stepping into this role in late 2016, I hoped to find a way to provide a synopsis of the accomplishments of the Arts Council on a periodic basis. What better way to do that than to provide you with an Annual Report. The arts are alive and well in northeast Louisiana, and here at the Arts Council we are working hard to get that word out. We have much to celebrate as you will see when you look through this report.

It’s been a busy year. If you haven’t noticed, the Arts Council has a fresh new look, a new logo, and new colors. We spent much time in 2017 designing our new logo. With that decision made came a new website. Following the new website emerged an e-newsletter that comes to you every other week. This is a great way to keep up with the exciting activities going on in our region. If you’re not receiving that email, it’s easy to signup online at www.nelaarts.org.

New programs have been and are being developed. Our Visual Artist Business Boot Camp and Northeast Louisiana Arts Summit are part of our new Arts Entrepreneurial Training initiative. The Northeast Louisiana Summer Film Series is an exciting new effort to bring documentary films to our area. Arts Council Café is a monthly gathering of major arts organization leaders where we discuss important issues we all face. Our rural arts education research has focused a bright light on the situation facing half of our school-age children in the 10 rural parishes that we serve. These are all efforts the Arts Council began in 2017-2018. On the horizon are additional programs aimed at enhancing the outreach of the Arts Council.

Your support of these efforts is what makes this all possible. Without you, we would not be able to accomplish this important work that is targeted at enhancing the art community we all enjoy and benefit from. Your participation in and support of the cultural activities that abound will help move our region to a new level. Thank you for joining with us on this journey.

Barry C. Stevens
President/CEO”

Meet the Artist: Doug Breckenridge

As we continue our new blog series, Meet the Artist, we believe it would be an absolute pleasure for our community to get to know its hometown artists of all disciplines and what awesome feats they are accomplishing to transform our 318! This week, we had the privilege of interviewing local artist and architect, Doug Breckenridge.

Blend of the Bayou 2018 Doug Breckenridge

Q: Tell me about your background; where are you from, what was your childhood like, what is your family like?

A: I was born and raised in Monroe, but spent several years in both Longview and Houston, Texas. I have been around the building industry all my life; my grandfather owned a building supply business and my Dad was a commercial building contractor. My father had studied architecture before going to WWII, but finished in Industrial Management in order to get out of school and start life, as he put it – in essence, he had a high degree of design talent that you do not typically find in a contractor. My early homes were designed by my Dad and were what is referred to today as “Mid-Century Modern”. When we would travel, we usually spent a good bit of time evaluating the local architecture. I guess you could say that I cultivated a sense of design from a very early age. My mother was always in the process of re-educating herself and taking on new careers when it was not the norm for women to do so. She did not retire until she was 88 and probably had 5 or 6 careers under her belt. She did everything from teach English at Neville High School to manage an office building in Atlanta.

Q: When did your passion for painting begin, and why are you so passionate about it?

A: I had a passion for art and architecture beginning at a very early age. For my 7th birthday, I got an easel, a pad of paper and some water colors, where I proceeded to unintentionally paint abstracts not fully understanding gravity and the nature of water colors. The school system in those days had an art appreciation program where students learned 5 paintings and their artist, and were then presented with a little painting in a booklet. I absolutely loved this and recall getting “View of Toledo”  by El Greco in the first grade.  I have loved landscapes ever since. Through the years I never lost interest in art, especially when it pertained to cityscapes and landscapes. Later, I would sit for hours drawing people from my mother’s magazines and got where I could draw people from memory – this came in handy when I became an architect and began to do renderings to illustrate my designs. I briefly painted in the mid 70’s and then picked it up again early in this century. I have noticed that with me, any kind of creative process sets off some kind of chemistry in my brain that is highly addictive. A doctor friend of mine, once told me that he had this internal passion to help people; I have found that I have an internal passion to create, whether it be through art, architecture or writing. I have also noticed that every hobby in which I am involved, has to have some level of artistic quality. For example, I prefer sailing to motor boating and fly fishing to bait casting.

View of Toledo by El Greco

View of Toledo by El Greco

Q: Can you talk about your affiliation with the Downtown Gallery Crawl and what the Crawl means to you?

A: I became involved in the Art Crawl in October of 2017 and was uncertain about it at first in that I did not think that I would have the time to keep up with my painting; however, I have found that you can just about find time for anything if you challenge yourself to do so. I think that it is important for anyone involved in art to have a community presence no matter if they sell something or not and that is what the Art Crawl does – it puts you out there in all your glory or lack of. I love to talk with people who are looking at my art and quiz them on what they like or do not like.  I like to see where they are coming from and if I ever hear the statement, “It speaks to me”, then I have a sell – not that I hear that a lot.  Another aspect of the Art Crawl I have found is that while my on site sales are very limited, I get a fair amount of people calling me at later dates who have been either thinking of a piece they saw or are curious to see other pieces I have done. This actually happens quite often.

Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in architecture?

A: As stated before, I have had a lifelong experience with architecture and it is a true passion. I originally graduated in Business and went to work for my Dad’s construction firm, but he unfortunately passed away shortly after I began work.  My family sold the construction firm roughly 4 years later and I then decided to return to school in architecture. I found that my passion for architecture and design in general far exceeded that for construction. I just had the aptitudes for it. I don’t think it is as financially lucrative as construction, but you can’t fight innate desires. I have heard architecture described as the most lucrative of the arts and the least lucrative of the professions – I agree with this from both sides. Architecture is an art when practiced to its most sincere level. I read a piece in the back of an Art’s magazine where they interviewed several young artist and asked them, “If you were not an artist, what would you be?”  To my surprise, well over half of them said either an architect or a writer – there is a common thread here.

Q: How would you describe your personal style for art and architecture?  

A: I definitely like certain styles and such, but I am really not hung up in following trends of any kind. In both regards, I kind of set my own path and have found varying degrees of success with both disciplines. I designed shopping malls and life style centers all across the country for many years and while most legitimate architects did not really consider this to be “true” architecture; I had a blast, because I could come up with any design I wished and most developers would buy off on it. Being creative is very important in highly competitive retail arenas. Before doing a life style center in Lake Havasu, Arizona, I rode around in the desert and photographed the desert landscape and then by computer arranged a color palette of 16 colors derived from the photos. I applied these colors to my buildings and when completed, the center looked like it emerged directly from the desert. In my painting, and since it is basically an avocation and not a profession, I really apply my rule of doing what I want and what makes me feel good in lieu of attempting to set the art world on fire. I like genre painting in the since of painting everyday people doing everyday things and knowing just who these people are. I like local cityscapes and I adore landscapes, particularly those out West where I do most of my fly fishing. This certainly not to say that I don’t appreciate “non-objective art” because I really do, as I do all design; it just does not satisfy whatever in me needs to be satisfied.

Doug Breckenridge - railroad bridge

Q: I know you serve on the board for the Cooley House Foundation; can you tell me about the Foundation’s mission and your involvement?

A: I am the current President of the Cooley House Foundation and this piece of architecture is truly one of the most important buildings in Louisiana. It is the 1908 collaboration of the husband/wife architectural team of Walter B. Griffin and Marion Mahony, who were out of Frank L. Wrights Oak Park Studio. It is not a steamboat as per local folk lore, but Prairie Style, which is the only true American architectural style. I once had a guy ask me just how they got that boat out of the river and up here on dry land. Most importantly, we at the Cooley House Foundation serve the community by teaching the significance of architectural style and preservation. It is our contribution to the arts of Northeast Louisiana.

Q: What was the first piece of art you ever sold?  

A: Several years back I came up with the idea of taking photos of people at the Blend of the Bayou and doing little oil sketches of them to sell at the coming years event. Well, it went over like wildfire, much to my amazement. I continued to do this for several years or until I noticed people running from me when they saw me with my camera;  I figured that this was a good sign that I needed to find a new protocol.

Doug Breckenridge - Blend of the Bayou

Q: What are some things most people do not know you are passionate about? 

A: Most people who know me know exactly what I am passionate about – this is a difficult thing for me to hide. I have written poetry. I saw on Facebook the other day where this big brawny guy I know writes poetry, so I guess I can say this now. I actually gave it up for painting, much like I once gave up golf for helping my sons at T-Ball. Everyone has their priorities.

Q:  What is one piece of advice you would give to all the artists out there?  

A: I am not sure I would be qualified to address professional artist, but here goes – work like hell.  I read once in one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books about the “Rule of Ten Thousand Hours”, which in essence, means work so hard at something that it becomes second nature.

 

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is unbelievably thankful for what Doug is doing to promote our area, and we admire his hard work and dedication to what he is so passionate about.

-Joanna Calhoun

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