Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lafayette: 2nd Saturday Art Walk: December 2013

Donald Leblanc, Gallery 549, Lafayette, Louisiana

A new friend took me to Lafayette's 2nd Saturday ArtWalk.  It's downtown and goes from 6-8 p.m.. There's a featured music performance, free wine/apps at the various galleries, and an open house with artist & writer tables at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

2nd Saturday ArtWalk, Lafayette, Louisiana. December 2013.

ArtWalk is a concentrated gathering of creative people, so it's, as Dr. Phil liked to say, a "target-rich environment" for interesting conversations.  

In addition to ArtWalk's visual feast, an artist, Darryl Demourelle, gave me a lead on some good boat-related stories to follow up on. A tidbit: Fishermen used to sink their boats in the off-season to avoid paying taxes on same. Federal agents knew this and often searched the waterways for the sunken boats. (Keeping the boats submerged also preserved the wood during the off-season.)

About Mr. Demourelle, well, I'll be damned if he isn't the artist who painted this, which I snapped on my 2011/2012 road trip.

Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Artwork: Darryl Demourelle.

We lingered in the good-smelling Benoit Gallery, talking with artist Bryant Benoit and his wife/business manager, Joey Benoit. Mr. Benoit is moved to layer his work figuratively and literally, an approach that jibes with all of the layers that comprise southern Louisiana.    

Bryant Benoit, Benoit Gallery, Lafayette, Louisiana

We moved on to the brightly-lit, open-spaced Gallery 549, owned by Donald Leblanc. Lots of folks there, plus what looked like a goodly assortment of artists' works represented. One assembly of work really pulled me in:

Donald Leblanc, Gallery 549, Lafayette, Louisiana

It was so amusing to learn later that this was Mr. Leblanc's work!

Over at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, artist-in-residence, Keaton R. Smith, gave a sneak preview of an upcoming presentation:


Also at the ACA was an exhibit by Luis Cruz Azaceta:

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, Louisiana

I'm a sucker for his Godzilla:

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, Louisiana

When we walked by the artists and writers tables, my friend cried out, "Mon Dieu!" (She is French.) There in front of us, though I didn't appreciate it at the time, was Zachary Richard. Who I in short order learned is a legendary songwriter. His book, The History of the Acadians of Louisiana, was just published, in English and French.

To help me out, Mr. Richard noted that he'd written Colinda (a very famous cajun song and which is on The Big Easy soundtrack). When he mentioned that song, I mentally cocked my head like a dog does when it's hearing something it kinda gets, but which remains elusive. It wasn't til I looked it up and found this video that I realized I'd heard the very same song earlier the same day because it is on my mp3 player. Doh.

At the same table was St. Martinville artist, Dennis Paul Williams. In partnership with a photographer, he created a book of his paintings. (Mr. Williams is also a musician.)

Soul Exchange, Dennis Paul Williams. Credit: University of Louisiana Press

Some beautiful work there. The cover painting and his connection with St. Martinville reminded me of the floating Christmas angels in the trees in front of the church in that town.

Christmas angels, St. Martinville, Louisiana. December 2011.

It was a good way to spend a Saturday night.

I drank a little too much wine, though. 

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