Warhawks, community unite in appreciation of art

Warhawks, Monroe and the West Monroe community united as they celebrated art at the monthly Downtown Gallery Crawl last week.

The crawl is hosted by the Downtown Arts Alliance—a non-profit board comprised of volunteers—six times a year. 

The DAA strives to advocate for visual and performance art by hosting the Downtown Gallery Crawl with the community as its biggest supporter. 

On thursday, locals flocked to the downtown galleries to admire the art of fellow Louisianans. 

The featured artists consisted of Monroe and West Monroe natives as well as artists who traveled from other areas in the state.

Participating galleries included the Anapole, Outside, Palace, Sugar, Neville House, Flying Tiger, La’Bella and Revival. 

Chris Salsbury, a local crawler, believes the Downtown Gallery Crawl is important for the community. 

“It’s a great opportunity for local artists to show their work and for us to support them,” Salsbury said. “It helps bring artists together too.” 

Ruby Taylor, a senior art major, sees it as a better means of receiving exposure as an artist. 

“It allows artists, small businesses, and makers to grow and be seen by the public instead of hoping to be noticed on social media,” Taylor said.

Jordan Ritchie, another Monroe local, said the crawl values the hard work and dedication the DAA and local artists bring to the community.

“I am happy the crawl is happening again because it helps grow downtown Monroe and West Monroe,” Ritchie said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”  

Many of the artists that participate in the crawls are ULM faculty, students or alumni. 

“During this pandemic, we can feel so divided, but with events like the crawl happening again, we feel reunited,” Salsbury said.

Lexi Smith, a local ceramics artist and ULM graduate, is thankful for the opportunity to display her work at the crawl. 

“At the Downtown Gallery Crawl, artists get the exposure they normally wouldn’t get on social media, and this helps bring us together,” Smith said. 

Asja Jordan, a public administration graduate student, believes the crawl enhances the community and the culture of Monroe and West Monroe. 

“Events like the Downtown Gallery Crawl are important because it inspires connectedness,” Jordan said. “It’s good reassurance for the community.”