Herons on the Bayou is a public art project coordinated by Brooke Foy, ULM assistant professor of art. Foy’s goal was to represent and uplift the local community with art.
“I have wanted to bring something like this to our community for a while and seeing so many people support this idea gives me so much inspiration,” Foy said.
Foy dreamed of coordinating Herons on the Bayou since 2017. She diligently worked toward making the project a reality for the past two years. Now, there are herons popping up all across Monroe and West Monroe.
Foy began the process by writing grants to get funding, putting together a creative team, promoting the project and working with sponsors to find each 6-to 7-foot tall heron a “home.”
In the end, 51 heron statues painted by 37 local artists were selected to decorate the “Twin Cities.”
“The artistic talent and the interest in art, especially public art, in northeast Louisiana is phenomenal,” Foy said. “People want art to be part of our life here.”
One heron, titled “Discombobulation,” has already found a home on ULM’s campus. It was painted by Katelyn Vaughan, senior fine arts major, and can be found in front of Brown Auditorium.
Vaughan has spent her entire life in Monroe. After graduation, she plans on moving away but believes Monroe will always be home. So, when her art was selected to be placed on campus, Vaughan was happy to make her mark at ULM.
“It’s great that a piece of me gets to stay behind in the community that raised me,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan found inspiration for her design from one of her old drawings.
“I love seeing art take over a space or a canvas and transform it into something new,” Vaughan said.
Last semester, ULM’s sculpture garden lost funding and was dismantled. Many students were upset by the loss of art on campus. Senior art major, Tréy Gordan, was glad to hear that new art was being installed on campus.
“I think the heron is a great addition to the décor of the campus,” Gordan said. “ULM should invest in more creative projects like this in the near future.”
A second heron, titled “Fleuty Bird,” will be placed near the fountain in Scott Plaza. It was designed by Erica Dean, a local artist and owner of the Fat Mermaid Tattoo Boutique.