Tag Archives: nela

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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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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Meet the Board Member: Jay Yates

We as the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council have had the privilege to recently elect multiple wonderful people onto our board, so we will be starting up a short blog post series called Meet the Board Member. We think it would be a great for the community to get to know our new board members better and to learn what they are doing in our area! This week we had the pleasure of interviewing one of our newest board members, Jay Yates.

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

A: I was born in Monroe in 1982. When I was young, my mother Nancy King and I moved to Harvey, which is on the west bank of New Orleans.  I grew up happy and loved living in New Orleans. Regularly we would come back to Monroe to visit family and I always enjoyed that too. My mother remarried before I got to high school, and we then moved back to West Monroe permanently. My stepfather Terry King has always been and continues to be a big influence on my life. After high school I took my time through college and ended up finishing up at North Texas in Dallas in 2006. My father moved to the Florida Keys when I was young, so I spent my formative summers there on the ocean working for his various water sports businesses. The ocean called me back after college, and I spent the next few years mostly in Key West Florida, where I eventually met my beautiful wife Heather.  We have been back in Monroe almost 10 years now. We have a 9-year-old daughter Emma and a 6-year-old son Isaak.    
Q: What is your current job?
A: I am the Director of Sales and Marketing for Kingsland Ranch.
Q: Can you tell me more about Kingsland Ranch and what makes Kingsland Ranch special?
A: Kingsland is a 900 acre cattle ranch in West Monroe. We provide all natural retail beef to the area via private sale and grocery stores.
Q: What are some things most people do not know you are passionate about?
A: The ocean or really any water will do.  I love going to the beach and being on Lake Claiborne with my family. 
Q: Why are you passionate about the arts in Northeast Louisiana?
A:  I’ve always loved art. Growing up if you’d asked me what I wanted to do for a living I would have said “Comic Book Artist.”  Nowadays the only time I draw is with my kids.  But I do love the arts culture I’ve watched develop over the last decade or so in Monroe.
Q: What made you decide to accept the position as a board member for the NELA Arts Council?
A:  I’m 35 and through the most time-consuming part of raising children, I figured it was a good way to get involved with the community.
Q: What special asset do you believe you can bring to the table as a board member?
A:  I’ve always been a people person. I enjoy meeting new people and having fun. 

We are very excited to have Jay Yates as one of our new board members, and we know he will be a wonderful contribution to our Board and towards the arts community.

-Joanna Calhoun

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Meet Talented Art Student Camryn Price

One of our ultimate goals as the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is to promote and provide quality arts education to our local schools. Whether it be theater, band, dance, choir, orchestra, or visual arts, we believe that all children should have the opportunity to partake in the amazing world of creativity. However, our research has shown that there are still several rural parishes in northeast Louisiana that are not able to provide any opportunities for their students to study the arts.

We were fortunate enough to get know high-school student, Camryn Price, and talk about her personal experiences with the arts education programs in Franklin Parish. Camryn is a qualified Talented Art student and currently takes art classes at her high-school. She first explained how she began doodling at a young age and had always enjoyed drawing.

“I’ve always liked art throughout my whole life. When I was a kid I’d draw princesses. And whenever I got older, I didn’t really see it being realistic as a career until I got into Talented Art,” said Camryn.

Camryn Price

However, she was never given the opportunity to explore her talent in elementary or middle-school. When she finally got to high-school, she was recommended for and tested into the Talented Art program and was able to enroll in her very first visual arts class at the age of 16. With her face glowing, Camryn expressed how that single art class had completely opened her eyes to a world of possibilities.

“So many possibilities and opportunities with art opened up to me. I didn’t really think I was ever good enough,” said Camryn.

Before the class, Camryn had only known how to draw with a plain No. 2 pencil. She gave huge regards to her art instructor, Mary Marr Nelson, who taught her how to paint with lively watercolors and acrylics. Camryn shared that her absolute favorite part of the day was to enter her art classroom, escape the world, and do what she was there to do and loved to do: paint. In the same way a grey pencil transformed into the endless pigments of paints, Camryn’s mindset and future did as well through the arts. A year ago, Camryn had no idea that someone, particularly herself, had the talent to pursue art as a career. Now she’s designing school logos, starting a t-shirt line, and has the dream of becoming a graphic designer!

“The best thing about art in general is that you have a chance to express yourself, and no one can really say anything different,” said Camryn.

Just this little glimpse into one student’s life shows how much a single arts class can transform someone’s world. However, there are still 9,922 rural public school students in northeast Louisiana who go through an entire school year with no access to any arts class. We are creating many initiatives to bring the gift of arts into schools; one way to help is to visit our 2018-2019 Arts Teachers’ Wish Lists. By purchasing an item, 100% of the dollar amount will go directly towards building their classroom.  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.

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Strauss Presents: Smoke on the Mountain, June 14 -15

Running June 14th and 15th, you will be able to relive Smoke on the Mountain, a Strauss Theatre production that was so popular they revived it as a dinner theatre production.

Set in the 1930s, this musical tale introduces the singing Sanders family, who perform their traditional and bluegrass gospel songs for the members of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, NC. Pastor Oglethorpe welcomes the family to the church, where their individual stories and beliefs are shared during the concert.

The audience serves as the members of the congregation. They will experience live music in an intimate and interactive setting. Lasting approx 2.5 hours, the cast is comprised of Josh Madden (Stanley Sanders), Jacob Branson (Dennis Sanders), Hannah Matherne  (Denise Sanders), Nicole Goode (June Sanders), Kelly Flores (Vera Sanders), Spence Young (Burl Sanders), and Alex Matherne (Pastor Oglethorpe).  The dinner portion of the show will be catered by Chef Pat Nolan.

The show is being held in the Strauss Main Stage lobby June 14th and 15th at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets are $45 (+tax) and can be purchased by calling the box office at (318) 323-6681 or by following this link. Stay informed about events at Strauss here.

smoke on the mountain cast

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Downtown Gallery Crawl celebrates its 10th Anniversary

That’s a wrap! The 10th Season of the Downtown Gallery Crawl wrapped up Thursday, and it was a success! Free to the public, this dynamic event located in downtown Monroe and West Monroe consisted of 9 stunning galleries, delicious food trucks, handmade market vendors,  and multiple live performances by talented musicians.

The Palace Gallery featured photographer Caleb Bostick’s work. Coinciding with his show was finalists’ photographs of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau and BayouLife Magazine’s annual Photo the ‘Roe photography contest, which Bostick won last year. Best of Show winner, RJ Ojeda, will have his breath-taking photo featured as the July cover of BayouLife.

The Downtown Arts Alliance, a non-profit organization, organizes every Crawl and ensures there is “new fine art from local, regional, and national artists 6 times a year.” Its goal is to allow the arts and community in the 318 to grow and prosper, and they surely are going above and beyond.

The Downtown Gallery Crawl occurs on the first Thursday of every other month, so be sure to mark your calendars for August 2 – you won’t want to miss out! For more information about the Downtown Gallery Crawl, click here.

-Joanna Calhoun

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Valentine’s Date Night Ideas

Valentine's Day

Love is in the air. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one you love at the opera, symphony or theatre.

Louisiana Opera presents The Merry Widow

Celebrate Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras with the Louisiana Opera at their Mardi Gras celebratory fundraiser. Grab that special someone and listen to beautiful music at 7 p.m. February 9 at the romantic Ouachita Grand Plaza. Regional musicians will present excerpts from The Merry Widow in English with a theatrical presentation with dancing. Singers include Betsy Uschkrat, Corey McKern, Tyler Smith, Claire Vangelisti, Ron Ulen, Julian Jones and the ULM Chorus.

Individual tickets are $40. Tables are $250. More information here.

Monroe Symphony Orchestra Valentine Pops Concert

Dance the night away to classic romance songs with your sweetheart at 7 p.m. February 10. Don’t miss the Monroe Symphony Orchestra pops concert featuring the smooth, baritone vocals of Irvin Caesar as he sings the classics of Nat “King” Cole and many more. Enjoy the concert from a reserved table and bring your own spread. A cash bar will be available and the dance floor will be open!

Individual tickets are $30. More information here.


Strauss Theatre presents Smoke on the Mountain

smoke on the mountainGive your special someone tickets to the theatre for Valentine’s Day. This February, Strauss Theatre will show Smoke on the Mountain, a musical comedy featuring nearly two dozen bluegrass songs. Sponsored by the Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana, laugh your way through date night at Smoke on the Mountain.

Choose the date night that works best for you; Strauss Theatre will present Smoke on the Mountain on February 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, and 24. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students. More information here.

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NELA Celtic Festival

A day-long celebration of Celtic heritage and music accompanied by the St. Baldrick’s group hosting their annual Brave the Shave event.  The day rounds out with a music finale on the main stage followed by a showing of the children’s movie Brave hosted by Ouachita Green and Centric Federal Credit Union.


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