Tag Archives: west monroe

Monroe Symphony Orchestra – Sports Spectacular

November 17, 2018 – 7:00pm

A Night at the Movies: Sports Spectacular     (The Assembly, West Monroe)

The MSO brings the world of sports to the concert hall with movie selections from Rocky, Chariots of Fire, Rudy, Hoosiers, and many more iconic films.  Rounding out the program will be a series of familiar college fight songs along with a few other surprises.

General admission tickets are $25. Student tickets are $5.

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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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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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