Tag Archives: northeast louisiana


Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Masur Museum

Raku pottery meets BBQ at Raku-B-Q. Raku is a low-fire method in which the ceramic ware is heated quickly to 1800 degrees F, removed from the kiln when the glaze has melted and the pieces are still glowing hot, and placed in combustible material which burns around the ware staining it with smoke. Participants in the workshop will receive a pre-bisque fired decorative vessel, thrown by Alyssa Guidry of Wild Phlox Pottery, to paint with Raku glaze however they choose. Participants will glaze their vessels using crayon wax resist, masking tape resist and a variety of painting techniques. The ware will be glazed and fired in two batches at the Raku-B-Q from 3-7 pm on November 10. Each firing takes about an hour so enjoy a hamburger or veggie burger and kick back with a beer while the kiln is doing all the work!

Chief Taylor of the Monroe Fire department will be on site cooking up some delicious hamburgers on the grill at 4:00 p.m.! Beer is being generously provided for us by Marsala Beverage. Participation in the Raku Workshop is $40 and spaces are limited. Participants MUST be at the event by no later than 3:30 p.m. to guarantee enough time to glaze and fire the ware. Pre-registration is required, so sign up now! If rain is forecast to douse our fun, we will re-schedule Raku-B-Q!

Don’t want to get your hands dirty? Come out to the event anyway to watch the process and eat some BBQ! Tickets for those who are “just here for the food” are $15. Find a nice spot on one of our picnic blankets to sit and observe the festivities or have some fun with our yard games!

*Please note: You must be 21+ to drink alcoholic beverages. Please bring your I.D.

Event Schedule:

3-4 p.m.: Workshop participants glaze pieces
3:30 p.m.: First Firing Starts
4 p.m.: BBQ Time!
5 p.m.: Second Firing Starts


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Film screening: 20 Feet from Stardom

American blues vocalist Dr. Mable John returns to northeast Louisiana for the celebration of her 88th birthday in her hometown of Bastrop.

John’s performing career spans more than four decades, with touring performances with Billie Holiday, Jimmy Reed, Sam Cooke, and B.B. King. She later became a performing member and musical director of Ray Charles’ backup group, the Raelettes, and went on to co-write more than 50 songs with Charles.

John was discovered in research to uncover northeast Louisiana’s rich blues history as part of the 90.3 KEDM Public Radio Byway Blues project, which includes a local blues trail as well as radio and online storytelling segments featuring the lives and accomplishments of famous local artists.

Now a minister in Los Angeles, California, John is working with local officials to form a foundation in her name to serve Bastrop.

The community of Bastrop will celebrate John’s 88th birthday at a celebration at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, 2018, at Evans Business Plaza, 710 South Washington Street. Admission is free, and the community is invited to attend.

At 6:30 p.m., The historic Rose Theatre in Bastrop will host a screening of the Academy and Grammy Award-winning 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom. The documentary film features John and other performers who served as backup singers to famous artists. Tickets to the screening are $15 and are available by calling the West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber office at 318-325-1961 or at www.westmonroechamber.org.

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Edgar Allan Poe-try Night

The Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana and the Ouachita Parish Public Library invite all literary arts fans to Edgar Allan Poe-try Night from 5:30-7 p.m. November 1 at Miss Kay’s Sweets & Eats.

During the festivities, guests will listen to dramatic readings of Poe’s best work, and will mix and mingle with local poets, authors, and literary artists. November 1 is National Authors’ Day, and local authors will have their own work on display in the coffee shop.

Edgar Allan Poe-try Night is free to attend, and Miss Kay’s will be selling coffee and baked goods. All local authors wishing to participate in the evening may contact Jade Wheeler at jwheeler@oplib.org.


edgar allan poe-try

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Meet the Artist: Linda Lavender Ford

No matter who they are, every person in Northeast Louisiana can immediately recognize the name Linda Lavender. When I heard that name, I thought of the all the flashy Twin City Ballet recitals I have attended, the iconic Ballet Under the Stars performances in Kiroli Park, and of course the famous Christmas Gala plays I went to every year of elementary school; to sum it all up, I thought of extravagance and the biggest arts powerhouse in our area. However, I realized when I was presented with that name, I thought of literally everything other than an actual individual, and that made me start to think. The name just felt like an unattainable and unidentifiable person; why did everyone know the name Linda Lavender but they did not know Linda Lavender?

As it is the last week of my summer internship for the Northeast Arts Council, my final assignment was to “write about whatever I wanted to and to have fun with it.” Not to mention, I was also finally given the approval to write in first person. I racked my brain for an underrated event I have always wanted to share about or an influential artist I’ve always wanted to know more about, and then it came to me: Linda Lavender.

I emailed a couple questions to Linda with the mindset she would never reply; where would an unbelievably successful local celebrity find the time to type out lengthy answers for a teenage intern? And then I got an email informing me Linda Lavender Ford wanted to have a phone interview with me. With my heart pounding out of my chest, I grabbed my phone and dialed her number. I expected to have a speedy five minute Q and A where I read off the questions and she rapidly gave her answers, but I ended up having a lengthy heartfelt conversation which I will remember for the rest of my life:

So now, what do I think of when I hear the name Linda Lavender Ford?

I think of a small girl who was born in Mississippi and grew up in West Monroe- a little girl who was from a very poor family with a mother who was a factory worker and a father who was a mechanic. That little girl’s parents made sure they could give their daughter the best training in the best dance studio available. When the little girl grew up to be a teenager, she was discovered and was invited to become a dancer and hostess for the KNOE television show, Happiness Exchange.

I picture a stubborn teenager telling her mother she didn’t want to teach dance when she graduated high school because she was going to school in New York City to be a performer, even though her family could not afford to send her to the dance academy. However, when that recent West Monroe High School graduate began to teach dance, she knew it was her calling.

I see a young woman who built Linda Lavender School of Dance from the ground up and founded the Twin City Ballet Company. That company is now an honor member of Regional Dance America and has four directors and three season performances. In addition, it gives dancers the opportunities for scholarships and the ability to further their dance careers.

I hear a woman, who has taught dance for 57 years, asking me about myself and telling me how she is proud of me for aspiring to be an arts educator one day. I hear her giving me the advice to make every effort to bring the best I can to my students and to continually keep my mind open to learning.

Most importantly, I know a strong and driven woman who recognizes the talent every individual possesses and who utilizes art to allow them to see the worth in themselves. She is a kindhearted and humble woman who pays respect not to herself, but to the power of the arts and to divine intervention.

“I still say that this area is especially gifted with talent. I always say I can’t imagine a child not getting to dance. I just feel like it’s a terrible mistake when they do not get to because I know what it has meant to me and what it means to so many people.” -Linda Lavender Ford

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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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Ouachita River inspires artists at Brew on the Bridge

Beginning in the mountains in Arkansas, the Ouachita River meanders through Louisiana’s delta into the Mighty Mississippi. In the parish that shares its name, the Ouachita River cuts between the cities of Monroe and West Monroe. Many residents view the river as a divider between the two communities, but the Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana and local artists are working to change that mindset. The Ouachita River is not a divider, but a unifying factor connecting people together.

Brew on the Bridge literally bridged the gap between the two towns on Endom Bridge spanning the Ouachita River on October 13. As part of the North Delta Food & Wine Festival, Brew on the Bridge is a family-friendly party with craft beer, makers, artisans, and live music.

This year, the Arts Council added the element of live paintings, with local artists participating in “Paint the Ouachita.” The finished works from Paint the Ouachita will travel around the region as part of an exhibit as part of Year of the River 2019, a bicentennial celebration of the first steamboat trip up the Ouachita River, changing the economy and livelihood of residents.

Liz Zanca at Brew on the Bridge


Monroe mayor representative Rod Washington and West Monroe Mayor Staci Albritton Mitchell participated in a cook-off at Brew on the Bridge. Blind panelists tasted both dishes, and declared Mayor Mitchell the winner. As a trophy, the Arts Council asked local artist Kyle Snellenberger to create a piece representative of the river. He donated his finished mixed media piece to the Arts Council to loan each year to the winning mayor.

Snellenberger, who owns Ouachita Antique Woods, fused together two pieces of Sinker Cypress wood found from the Ouachita River to represent the cities of Monroe and West Monroe. He then added art resin to emulate the river. Mayor Mitchell will hang the artwork in West Monroe City Hall until the next cook-off.

Kyle Snellenberger


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NELA Children’s Museum 20th Birthday Celebration

Come celebrate the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum 20th birthday with fun family activities all day. Eat cake, lego mural building, make party hats!  Saturday night, there’s a concert featuring TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is proud to sponsor the Children Museum’s 20th birthday party.

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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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Northeast Louisiana Summer Film Series

Northeast Louisiana Summer Film Series

The Northeast Louisiana Summer Film Series continues August 15 with the screening of I Am the Blues. The delta is the birthplace of America’s music, and this film honors the original men and women who created the art of blues. Filmed across the Louisiana and Mississippi delta, this film explores the music and musicians of the famed Chitlin’ Circuit. The Arts Council partners with KEDM to screen this documentary.

The film will begin at 7 p.m. Prior to the screening, The Lady & the Trouble will be performing live music, starting at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. The Arts Council will also be collecting instruments for the Let’s Band Together! campaign at Flying Tiger Brewery.

I Am the Blues is 106 minutes in length. Tickets for non-members are $5. Arts Council members will receive free tickets. To become a member of the Arts Council, click here.

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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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