Home Life Bossier Arts Council paves the way for future artists

Bossier Arts Council paves the way for future artists

By Jennyne Pinter, jpinter@bossierpress.com

The arts are alive and thriving in Bossier this summer. 

Theaters, galleries and workshops keep artists buzzing as the summer presents opportunities for young artists to grow and gain experience with the Bossier Arts Council (BAC).   

The BAC building, located at 630 Barksdale Blvd, is home to displays of local artists. The main gallery presents a pairing of two different artists who have shown their work with the BAC in the past, while down a short stair set from the main floor leads to the Emerging Artist Gallery.  

The Emerging Artist Gallery offers rising artists a solo exhibition as well as tutelage in managing their business including advice in pricing, marketing, preparing artist statements, biographies and resumes.

Around 30 aspiring artists will submit their art for consideration, but only six each year will be chosen by the BAC’s Board of Directors to hang their pieces.  With no shortage of competition, the gallery books their artists two years in advance for their showings.

“The ones (artists) that you see now signed their contracts back in 2015,” explained Robin Jones, executive director of the BAC. “It’s cool to watch them progress and grow, especially when coming out of the Emerging Artist Gallery.  To watch their careers kind of blossom and they get the confidence that they need to apply outside of this area.”

The current Emerging Artist, Adena Helm, and her beautiful and vibrant mixed-media canvas and acrylic paintings will be moving out of the gallery this week to make room for Shreveport’s J. Ben Moss, a.k.a. PLOID, and his unique style.  In his artist statement, Moss wrote he is “always working to combine ‘low’ art with ‘high’ art” because he loves “the juxtaposition of comics, lowbrow, and graffiti with fine art.”

”Art is really personal,” Jones said.  “Someone, if you think of a traditional household, is not going to hang a piece of graffiti for their artwork.  But for that household there are five brand new millennial lofts who absolutely would hang a piece of graffiti in their offices or in their homes.”

3D printing is also beginning to make more appearances in the art world as the technology further develops and becomes financially feasible for everyday people to use.

“I think that it’s definitely an up-and-coming medium,” Jones reasoned, “The artists print something and then put it on their canvas and spray it. It’s really neat, the combination of the new and the old.”

Once an artist has gone through the Emerging Artist Gallery and the main gallery, some will be selected for 1800 Prime at Boomtown Casino, who works in collaboration with the BAC and Eagle Distributing to create an ‘outreach gallery’ for the artists.

“It’s a gallery that’s out in the community,” Jones said. “The goal is to reach a different audience: Someone who wouldn’t attend a traditional gallery but maybe would go and have dinner at the steakhouse and so they can see the artwork.”  Right now, a mother-daughter team of artists have their work on display at 1800 Prime with a show called “Two Peas in a Pod.” This exhibit will hang at 1800 Prime through June 30.

Aside from its art galleries, the BAC owns the only theater in Bossier, the East Bank Theater. The intimate theater seats 120 and boasts warm and beautiful acoustics from the stage and from a small group of floor-level musicians.  It has stood over 30 years and is regularly rented out to new playwrights.

“The rental on our space is a lot less expensive than other places,” said Jones. “So a playwright who may not have the means to rent a theater for 2 weeks could rent our theater for a few days and mount a production.”

The theater hosts about 24 plays each year to a variety of outside producers, but the BAC will itself be producing a play this year, Greater Tuna, in September.

Membership to the BAC is $25/year and this entitles the member to free classes offered in the BAC’s Artist One Stop.

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