Spring art fest blossoms in West Monroe

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Spring art fest blossoms in West Monroe

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Music filled the air and art filled Antique Alley at this year’s Downtown Spring Art Festival. Last Saturday, downtown West Monroe hosted local artists, groups, organizations and food vendors. The event was free to the public and featured over 60 booths, each different from the last.

Heather Gill, featured artist at the festival and a ULM alum, was working the event with her family and friends. Her unique wooden dinosaurs caught the attention of many.

“My favorite part is seeing how my dinos bring out the ‘nerd’ in people, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. For instance, there was a young kid who properly identified the four different dinos I had on display, then proceeded to tell me a fact about each one. I love that stuff,” Gill said.

Gill, who received her Bachelors in Fine Arts with a concentration in ceramics, hasn’t touched clay since graduating.

“My passions lately have been wood-working and sewing,” she said and although some might not consider that to be fine art, Gill begs to differ.

“The same decisions and principles of design are utilized,” Gill said.

ULM art and honors students made up the staff at the festival.

Decked out in #ArtFest318 shirts, they helped with arts and crafts booths, face-painting stations and welcomed people to the festival with a map of every booth.

Sophomore graphic design major Angelica Luttrull worked at the “KID CRAFT” station at the festival. She helped kids make spin drums out of beads, twine, cardboard and popsicle sticks.

“I think the art fest went beautifully. I loved seeing so many creative people in one spot. It’s a positive atmosphere for the community to get to know each other,” Luttrull said.

Richard Tosh and Pat Pingel travelled all the way from Ithaca, New York to volunteer at the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Tosh, who worked a booth for the refuge, was happy to be out of the cold. As a retired pastor, Tosh said he felt compelled to help with the “stewardship of the earth.”

Pingel, an avid bird and flower enthusiast, spent her time at the festival informing people about the different kinds of wildlife found in Louisiana.

Some of the vendors included: Caster & Chicory Beignets, Cajon Corndog, Southern Mixing Pot, Hot Diggity and Rustique Gator.

Art students from ULM and LA Tech were allowed to sell their works at the festival, which is important for young artists to gain exposure.

The art community in this area is thriving because of local interest and support. The art festival wouldn’t have been possible without the support of its sponsors, several of which are artists themselves.

The Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group, CC’s Coffee House, Monroe Renaissance, ARROW Public Art and Centurylink were among some of the sponsors.

Other than the occasional runaway tents from wind, the art festival went smoothly. Family and friends browsed the booths and stores, made art, ate good food and listened to live music.