Leesville, La. (WNTZ) – Mark your calendars for November 4, 2023, as it promises to be a significant day for the arts in Vernon Parish. The Leesville Art Park on Abe Allen Memorial Drive will be the center of attention with the dedication of six remarkable new installations. Additionally, an exciting reception awaits at GALLERY ONE EIIIEVEN, featuring an exhibit showcasing the talents of artists from the Central Louisiana area.
The Art Park’s expansion showcases the dedication of the community to fostering creativity and honoring those who have passionately supported the arts. Let’s take a closer look at the six new installations:
Wisteria Towers: A serene space on the north end of the park, Wisteria Towers is a heartfelt tribute to the memory of Shirley Smith. Known for her unwavering support for the arts and the Leesville Art Park, Shirley’s family directed donations to the park in her name. This installation offers a Zen-like atmosphere, providing a peaceful vista overlooking West Leesville Elementary School in her honor.
Marci Joy’s Meadow: This space is dedicated to Marci Joy Cook, a stalwart advocate for the arts. The low berm on the southwest end of the park features community-planted greenery, complemented by a Bird and Butterfly pollinator meadow that will be left to flourish naturally.
Louisiana Totem: Created by gallery member artist Joey Governale, the Louisiana Totem stands as a vibrant centerpiece in the park. It anchors an area set to house architectural columns, each designed and installed by different artists. Joey’s whimsical and colorful artwork adds a burst of life to the Art Park, with more columns on the horizon.
Ode to the Pottery Gods: Artist, gallery volunteer, and military spouse Taylor Sund Peterson’s ongoing mosaic pyramid, “Ode to the Pottery Gods,” is a testament to the synergy between the military family and the local art scene. It reflects her active participation in numerous gallery events since her family’s relocation to the area.
The OTHER Sunshine Bridge: Initiated by the City of Leesville and the local Kiwanis Club, “The OTHER Sunshine Bridge” is a footbridge connecting West Leesville Elementary to the Art Park. Designed by Leila Pollard, it was constructed by the SOWELA Carpentry Class under Bobby Bordelon’s guidance. Funding was provided by the City of Leesville and the Kiwanis Club, showcasing the power of community collaboration.
KISATCHIE: A monumental sculpture gracing the South end of the Art Park, “KISATCHIE” is a product of collective efforts. Partially funded by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism through a grant, as well as the City of Leesville, the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission, and private donations, this striking sculpture was a labor of love. It involved the collaborative talents of four artists and craftsmen: Tony McDonald, Will Jenkins, Ben Moss, and Joey Governale. Four paintings by Joey Governale featured on the sculpture form a “gallery in the round,” offering captivating images of the Kisatchie National Forest.
The day will kick off with a public dedication ceremony for the six new Art Park installations at 3:00 PM. Following this celebration, the public is cordially invited to GALLERY ONE EIIIEVEN for a reception honoring “All Together Now,” an exhibit showcasing the works of nine talented artists from Central Louisiana. Catered delights will be provided by Kai’s Island Grill, with seafood graciously sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board and the office of the Lt. Governor.
Join the community in celebrating the growth of Vernon Parish’s thriving arts scene, where creativity knows no bounds, and artistic expression flourishes.