Tag Archives: artist

Black Bayou Paint Out – Artist Reception

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council invites all professional and amateur artists to paint outside at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge from dawn to dusk on November 3, 2018.

Anyone who enjoys painting outdoors – no matter their age, background, or artist level – is encouraged to participate. There is no fee to participate.

The Refuge will also present an artists’ reception at its visitor center from 4:30-6:30 p.m. November 8 to display the artwork created on Black Bayou Paint Out day. Both Paint Out day and its reception the following week are free and open to the public.

To be included in the artist reception, participants may drop off canvases 36×36 or smaller at the Refuge visitor center on Paint Out day. Artists may take home their art after the reception. Artists are responsible for their own supplies. Black Bayou Paint Out is hosted by the Refuge and the Arts Council.

Black Bayou Paint Out flyer

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Arts Council awarded grant to record oral history of Don Cincone

Don Cincone

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities awarded a $5,000 Rebirth grant to the Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana to record an oral history of local artist Don Cincone.

The project’s goal is to locate and document all known Cincone works in an online database, and to document Cincone speaking about his works and the inspiration behind them. The project will also support public programming where Louisiana residents can view Cincone’s artwork and interact with the artist.

The first public programming event is An Evening with Don Cincone from 6-8 p.m. November 13 at the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens. Former journalist and current art curator Kay LaFrance-Knight will interview Cincone about four paintings featured in the Biedenharn’s Images of Christ exhibit. Admission is free, but an RSVP is required as space is limited. Guests may call the Biedenharn to reserve their seats.

“I’m lucky I get to view Don’s artwork every day at our office,” said Barry C. Stevens, Arts Council president. “Don is not only a talented painter, but he is one of northeast Louisiana’s treasures. I’m so glad the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is recognizing his contributions to our state’s arts and culture.”

Cincone was born Don Wills in a sharecropper’s home in Alto, La. in 1936. Denied access to study at Northeast Louisiana University due to segregation, he attended Southern University, joined the Navy, toured Europe and studied the Masters in the great museums and cathedrals while on break. After his service, he moved to California and worked with an art dealer who “renamed” him Don Cincone for marketing purposes. His work was used in the Dick Van Dyke film The Art of Love (in which he was not credited), and his work is featured in personal collections and museums around the nation. He has influenced dozens of young artists in the region, and is revered as a painter, minister, and veteran.

Other public programming activities include a grand re-opening reception of the Arts Council’s collection, a biographic exhibit opening at the Northeast Louisiana Delta African-American Heritage Museum, a screening of The Art of Love during the 2019 Northeast Louisiana Summer Film Series, and an interview focusing on his military service at the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum.

These programs are funded under a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The opinions expressed in the programs do not necessarily represent the views of either the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council

The Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana seeks to nurture a vibrant regional arts culture through support, promotion and education. The Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana strives to be a transformative force for the community by encouraging a passion for the arts, promoting partnerships and collaboration, and ensuring access to the arts for all. 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.

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Herons on the Bayou – Artist Info Meeting

Have you heard? An exciting public art project called Herons on the Bayou will be coming to northeast Louisiana. There will be an informational meeting for interested artists on at 8 p.m. September 27 at The Palace. All artists interested in submitting designs are encouraged to attend.

This project will revolve around unique sculptures that will stand 6-7 feet tall and act as beacons throughout our community. Memphis has Tigers, New Orleans has Bead Dogs and Street Cars, and Slidell has Pelicans. Our sculpture will be a Heron, inspired by the Blue Heron that can be found in this area.

Our community will be invited to submit possible designs for the Herons. We will host a competition for our local schools, art programs, art instructors, college art students, university art students and any community member young and old that has an original design concept that they can bring to fruition in paint or mosaic. Artists will submit design ideas and our Sponsors will be given the opportunity to select the design that best suits them. As an incentive to our sponsors, we are allowing the sponsors to select from the submitted and approved designs based on the order in which we receive their sponsorship.

Click here for details on how to become a sponsor for a heron, or more information on the entire project.

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Lunch & Learn: PR 101

Lunch & Learn

As part of its Arts Entrepreneurial Training Program, the Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana is offering Lunch & Learn, a series of lectures and presentations for artists and arts organizations so that they may better their business skills.

The first Lunch & Learn is September 6 from noon to 1 p.m. at the West Monroe Convention Center. Danielle Kelley Tolbird, community development coordinator for the Arts Council, will lead a session on public relations. She will cover how to write a press release, how to approach journalists, and how to use traditional and non-traditional marketing channels to promote the arts.

Lunch & Learn is free for Arts Council members. To join the Arts Council at the special artist rate ($31.80), click here. The fee for non-members is $10. Space is limited, so RSVP by emailing region8cdc@gmail.com. RSVP required to attend. Lunch & Learn is brown bag style, and guests are invited to bring a bagged lunch to the lectures.

About the speaker: Danielle Kelley Tolbird received her Master of Mass Communication with a concentration in strategic relations from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. She successfully defended a thesis on non-profit fundraising, and is passionate about building mutually beneficial relationships with donors, journalists and patrons. Tolbird is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, and currently is the community development coordinator for the Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana. A lover of the arts, Tolbird works for artists and arts organizations professionally, but enjoys dancing, singing, painting and acting in her private life.

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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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DAF Grant Application Period Closes

The Decentralized Arts Funding (DAF) grant application period opens May 1 and closes July 13. Stay tuned for details. To review previous DAF recipients, click here.

Activities of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council are supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

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Meet Talented Music Student Deterrius Johnson

One of the biggest goals of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is to bring access to arts education into the public school systems of all the parishes we serve. Whether it be marching band, dance, visual arts, orchestra, or choir, we believe it is our community’s obligation to provide our students with these life-changing opportunities which cultivate imagination and creativity. Yet after conducting research, we found that there are still currently 9,922 rural public school students without a single opportunity for an arts education class.

We were happy to have the chance to visit Franklin Parish High School and get to know student Deterrius Johnson, also known as DJ, who is a qualified Talented Music student. DJ is currently a rising senior and has been enrolled in his school’s choir classes through middle school and high school. DJ first shared with us that music has always been a huge influence in his life. His mother was in their church’s choir at King Jesus Worship Center since he was born; he joined that choir as well when he was 9-years-old and continued singing ever since.

“I’ve been singing most of my life. My momma said when she used to sing in the choir, she could feel me jumping in her stomach when she was pregnant with me,” said DJ.

DJ Johnson

DJ explained that that he was so thankful for the Talented Music program and for his school’s choir program because he felt as if it gave him a time to shine and grow in his overall confidence. He paid regards to his choir director who taught him several techniques such as how to control his breathing and how to conduct his warm-up exercises. Not only is DJ a singer at his home church and high school, he is also a music minister for three other local churches where he plays piano and organ. Music is clearly such a huge part of DJ’s life, and he wants to keep it that way. After graduating, he plans to attend college and major in classical voice performance where he will focus on the genres of opera and gospel.

Some ideas that DJ wants to make known to the community is how much of a positive impact arts education provides. He wishes there were more public support for arts programs because they are continually cut short and neglected versus other aspects in school systems. He wishes that people did not view music as short-lived flashy concerts and focused more inwardly on how the arts can transform one’s inner spirit like it does to his.

“It’s not just about shows- it’s really about what you feel on the inside. Music is like a way to escape. If I’m in a bad mood, all I have to do is sing and I’ll be alright. It uplifts me,” said DJ.

Just as it does for DJ, arts education literally changes one’s being and one’s future. The Arts Council is creating many initiatives to bring the gift of arts into schools, and one way we are doing that is by the creation of a 2018-2019 Arts Teachers’ Wish Lists. We gave teachers around the 318 the opportunity to share items they need to complete their arts classrooms.  When you give, 100% of your donation will go directly towards the completion of the teachers’ classrooms.

Complete an arts teacher’s wish list today by clicking here.

-Joanna Calhoun

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Meet the Artist: Courtney Wetzel

Continuing our newest blog series, Meet the Artist, we believe it would be such a pleasure for our community to personally get to know its hometown artists and what awesome achievements they are making to transform the 318! This week, we had the pleasure to interview the talented local artist, Courtney Wetzel.

Courtney Wetzel

Photo by Kelly Moore-Clark

Q: Tell me about your background; what was your childhood like, when did your interest in art begin, what’s your family like?
A: Growing up my family moved around a lot. When I got into high school, I had a hard time finding friends- that is until I was introduced to the Meridian, MS Little Theatre. It was there that I was introduced to art through a local artist named Greg Cartmell. I began working at his art gallery/frame shop. He was an incredible teacher; however, it wasn’t until college that I actually tried my hand at it. I graduated with a B.S. in Graphic Communications and a M.A. in Art.

My husband, Zeke, completed his military obligation in the U.S. Navy five years ago then took a job here at St. Francis. We made our family transition to Monroe, and couldn’t be happier to call ourselves locals. I have two busy, creative kiddos, Genevieve and Vaughn, who are both newly involved with Strauss Youth Academy for the Arts, another incredible arts organization. There is never a dull moment in the Wetzel house.

Q: I know you have a specialty in printmaking; can you tell me a little more about the method and why you love this process over other media?
A: In college I experimented with all kinds of media only to find I was at best mediocre.  During this exploration, I took a printmaking class. The deconstruction of subjects into shapes and curves and lines is something I found interesting. Working with the extremes of positive and negative space is easier to communicate with printmaking rather than with painting.

Carving and printmaking is a slow and steady process. I can zone out for hours.  I use traditional carving tools on a wood or linoleum block to create a “stamp” for prints.  After the image is carved, the block is inked. Paper is then pressed on top and the ink is massaged into the paper. I can make as many prints as needed from a single block. Once the series of prints are completed the block is painted and sealed thus ending the life of the “stamp.”

Q: How/ when did you become affiliated with the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, and what do you do serving as a board member for the Arts Council?
A: It didn’t take long to discover the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council and the amazing efforts being made by the organization to promote and celebrate the arts in this community. Right away I knew I wanted to be involved, and I was given the opportunity in 2015. I like to think of myself as the Arts Council idea fairy and worker bee.

Q: You attended an entrepreneurial training program organized by the Arts Council in February; can you share some concepts you learned there and how your business has changed because of the program?
A: This was an Art Business Boot Camp presented by the Ella Project brought to NELA by the Arts Council to help visual artists navigate through business management and marketing. As an artist, I have zero experience with business, and I am not alone. The boot camp covered many areas of art including copyrights, tax matters, and marketing/promotion. Wow! Who knew social media could give an artist such exposure! I think many artists have concerns about putting their work on this public forum. For me, the training program highlighted the importance of understanding the business aspect of being an artist.

Q: When looking at your website, I read you went through a 13-year art hiatus. Do you mind sharing what you were doing during that time and what compelled you to reenter the world of art?
A: I often joke that it occurred to me in my mid-20s that I needed health insurance which was not included in the benefits package for independent artist. Though that does have some truth, simply put, life happened. I relocated, got married, relocated, went back to school and got a master’s in Teaching: Special Education; relocated, had children, relocated, relocated, relocated, went back to school this time to be an Educational Diagnostician, and relocated. My life wasn’t settled for many years. About two years ago, I finally felt like I was firmly planted. The desire and need to create came back. I started producing work again to have something that was mine.

Q: Where do you go or what do you do to get inspired?
A: The inspiration comes from daily life, the people around, and the places I go. I’m simple. Recently, silence and the journey to finding peace has provided some inspiration.

Q: Other than art, what are some things most people do not know you are passionate about?
A: I have discovered a spiritual teacher/author named Anthony de Mello.  His studies and philosophies of spirituality are fascinating. Also, I really like dogs, sponge textured deserts particularly with fruit, Nina Simone, discount stores, and exploring new places.

Q: What was your first artwork you ever sold?
A: It was a nude print that was included in an all black and white group show at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans at White Linen Night in 2001. A man bought it for his wife who was a ballerina. I ate that week.

Q: What is the most touching or rewarding moment you have experienced in your art career?
A: It may sound silly, but anytime anyone positively acknowledges my work, I am thrilled! I would never be so bold as to think that others should like anything I make. I’m tickled when they do.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to all the artists out there?
A: Here’s more than one:

  1. Hone your craft. Become an expert at what you do.
  2. Ask questions to experienced artists. Ask lots of questions.
  3. LISTEN to the answers they give you and apply them where you can.
  4. While you are working your way up, sometimes you have to paint chickens and magnolias. What I mean is sometimes you have to paint what pays the bills.
  5. If you put the brush down for a while, even 13 years, pick it up again. You’ll know how to use it.
  6. Go to an art business boot camp sooner rather than later.
Courtney Wetzel

Photo by Kelly Moore-Clark

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is so thankful for having Courtney on our board and for all the hard work she contributes for artist relations and strategic planning. We are inspired by her enthusiasm for what she is so passionate about, and we cannot wait to see what great achievements she will be making in the near future.

-Joanna Calhoun

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Don Cincone exhibit closes soon

The Schepis Museum located in Columbia is showcasing a captivating selection of Don Cincone’s artwork. Be sure to visit the museum soon because the exhibit closes on July 5.

Don Cincone was born in Alto, Louisiana and is still currently a Louisiana resident. He is an internationally acclaimed African American artist whose pieces have been included in collections of noteworthy art collectors such as Walt Disney and Leonard Bernstein. He has studied art at the Louvre Museum in Paris and has hosted a one-man sellout show in Paris as well. His whimsical and fantasy-like paintings hang in galleries all across the world, and it is such a special delight to have the opportunity to view his works absolutely free of charge right here in our area!

The Schepis Museum of Caldwell Parish is open for viewing Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free.

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