Friday, June 29, 2012

Best of the Best Exhibit Opens Tonight

Associated Louisiana Artists at Gallery By the Lake will host the opening reception for Best of the Best which brings together four talented artists in this group exhibit. The reception will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the exhibit will hang until August 31st, 2012. 
Jennifer Widener

Jennifer Widener is ALA’s newest Board Member. Wisconsin born, she came here from Florida 24 years ago.  An accounting supervisor at PPG, using her left brain, her love of art makes use of her right brain as she paints abstractions freely in the world of her own she creates on canvas.  No formal training, she is enjoying her mentoring by Lois Derise.  Her painting focus changes every couple of years.
Beth Fontenot is not only an excellent watercolor artist, but is the Outstanding Dietician of the Year, according to the annual Food and Nutrition Conference in Baton Rouge last month.  Additionally, Beth writes a weekly column for the Lake Charles American Press on the subject of nutrition.  She taught the subject for 17 years at McNeese University, and now she is inspired to paint food (and whatever else catches her eye!)  Art-wise, she has participated in 2 exhibits at Stellar Beans, owned by former ALA member Valerie Smith, and was the featured artist at an exhibit at the Art Institute of Houston.  In 2012, Beth was awarded first and honorable mention awards, and in 2011 she won 2nd and 3rd place awards for her watercolors in the Lone Star Art Guild region.  She contributed her work to ALA's "Foot by Foot" effort to save the Louisiana Wetlands as well.
Beth Fontenot
Barbara Dugas loves art.  An accomplished watercolorist, she travels around the world taking workshops from such notables as Tony Couch and Brenda Swenson. She’s been to Italy, Turkey, and France and beyond since she’s retired from Boeing.  She was a contributing artist in ALA’s Foot by Foot: Vanishing Wetlands Campaign.  She has no aspirations of fame for her work, instead considering it a hobby.  She enjoys her watercolor class under the tutelage of Sue Zimmermann. Her painting in The Best of the Best exhibit was painted at the Erbon Wise property in Sulphur.

Cindy Ottenweller  works full time as a mechanical draftsman for the Levingston Group at PPG.  Her sister’s friend from Baton Rouge included her in a Painting with a Twist class and she found she was a natural.  Friend Jennifer did the legwork and found ALA classes for them both to attend.  The only problem she has with painting is that she wants to keep every one of them.  Each of them has meaning to her and she gets attached.  Her bucket list of future paintings include portraits of her kids, vintage vehicles and architecture, (which will be second nature for her!) She loves her Tuesdays with Lois Derise and her painting classes. 
For more information, contact Associated Louisiana Artists at (337) 436-1008.

Friday, June 22, 2012

200 Years of Taste Exhibit Opens at Libraries

The Calcasieu Parish Public Library presents an excited exhibit that celebrates our culinary culture of Louisiana!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Pops Goes MoTown!

The Lake Charles Symphony and First Federal Bank present this year's exciting Summer Pops annual concert on Saturday, July 14th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Each year this event brings together symphonic music with contemporary genres, and Summer Pops 2012 is going MoTown!

The concert will unite the Lake Charles Symphony, conducted by Bohuslav Rattay, with guest artists Destan Owens, Ramona Keller, and Kimberly JaJuan, and this collaboration will offer top of the charts hits such as "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," "ABC," "Signed, Sealed, and Delivered," "My Girl," "Stop in the Name of Love," "RESPECT," and many more! Expect the party to go on throughout the night as they bring the songs to life with their talented vocals!

Several seating options are available for purchase starting at just $20 from the Lake Charles Symphony website: Pizza (8 slices for $10) and drinks will be available for purchase. Call the Symphony office at (337) 433-1611 for details.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pinnacle Foundation Sponsors Arts & Crabs Fest!

From left: Kerry Andersen; Paula Gillard; Erica McCreedy; Keith W. Henson
Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation, the parent company of L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles, committed to a sponsorship of $5,000 for the annual culinary event Arts & Crabs Fest. Kerry Andersen, Pinnacle Entertainment Director of Media Relations & Public Affairs, and Keith W. Henson, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of L'Auberge Lake Charles, presented a check to Erica McCreedy, executive director of the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA, and Paula Gillard, Arts Council board president. The event is coordinated jointly by the Arts Council and the Lake Charles/SWLA Convention & Visitors Bureau and celebrates the ties between local seafood and culture. Pinnacle's sponsorship ensures that this year's event creates a wider impact on our tourism and culture. Arts & Crabs Fest will be held on Saturday, August 18th, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center, and a limited number of $25 wristbands will be sold, which can be purchased at For details, call the Arts Council office at (337) 439-2787.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Children's Theatre Co. Presents Summer Workshops

The Children’s Theatre Company begins its 2012 Summer Theatre Workshops with “Wild Things” for children ages 5-8.  This workshop introduces children to theatre through the use of creative drama, theatre games, creative movement, stage makeup, costumes and musical theatre. The workshop cost is $65.00 and is held on July 9-11 from 10:00AM to 11:15AM.  The afternoon workshop session is entitled “Acting for the Camera” for children ages 8-18.  This workshop covers auditioning for commercials, reading commercial scripts, exploring different commercial techniques, and beginning improvisational skills. Information and samples are shared on doing resumes, head shots and finding the best agent or manager. The workshop cost is $85.00 and is held July 9-11 from 12:00-1:30PM.  No experience is needed for the workshops.  All workshops have limited enrollment and are held at Central School of the Arts & Humanities Center at 809 Kirby Street.  For registration information, contact the theatre at 337.433.7323 or visit the website at and click on Summer Starz Series.

Bayou Bash This Saturday!

This Saturday, June 23rd, the Arts Council will host a beer garden at the first annual Bayou Bash at the Prien Lake Mall. The bash will be from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and it'll feature live music from some of the best talents around. Drop by and enjoy the event! All beer sales benefit the arts in SWLA.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

20th Annual Red, White, Blue & You! Celebration

LAKE CHARLES, La.—The City of Lake Charles is making plans for the 20th annual Red White Blue & You Celebration. As part of the home-spun celebration, participants and spectators are invited to join in the fun for the parade, concerts and fireworks.

On Wednesday, July 4th at 6 p.m., the street parade will be lead by 10 year old Grand Marshal Devin Scott Fontenot, who will represent the Children's Miracle Network and the Southwest Louisiana Sickle Cell Foundation. The parade will roll from Mill Street heading south on Lakeshore Drive, east on Clarence, north on Ryan, west on Broad, returning to the origin.  Anyone who would like to join in the parade is invited to decorate their floats, vehicles, golf carts, bicycles, marching units, etc. Denise Fasske, event manager said “This route is the perfect distance for kids to participate by decorating their bikes and wagons and filing in line.”  Spectators are encouraged to line the streets for beads and candy.

Follow the parade to front lawn of the Lake Charles Civic Center for a patriotic program beginning at 7:15 p.m. with the sounds of “Market Blue”, bluegrass band. The Lake Charles Community Band and conductor Leo Murray will also take the stage featuring a salute to the U.S. Armed Forces and a sing-a-long with the Louisiana Choral Foundation and friends. There will be face painting, balloon clowns and food vendors. This year’s festival t-shirt was designed by Miss Tori Viator, who will be entering the 8th grade. Audience members are encouraged to bring their blankets or lawn chairs and wave their complimentary flags. If inclement weather prevails, the program will be moved into the Civic Center Coliseum. The fireworks extravaganza will begin at 9:15 p.m. Tune into Fun Radio 92.9 FM or Gator 99 for the soundtrack simulcast.   

Red White Blue & You has been voted one of the “Top 20 Events” among 11 states for the month of July by the Southeast Tourism Society which promotes travel to and within the Southeastern part of the United States. For more information and parade entry forms call 337-491-9159 or  

Jazz in the Arts Concert

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Arts Council Executive Director Named!

For the past several weeks, the board of directors for the Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana conducted a search for a new executive director for the organization by forming a selection committee and a hiring committee. After reviewing 30 resumes and performing a thorough interviewing process, the board chose Erica McCreedy as the executive director.

McCreedy has served as the special projects coordinator for the Arts & Humanities Council for the past two years, beginning her career on a volunteer basis. She brings her experience in program development, public relations, and promotions to her new position.

“I am both thrilled and honored to be charged with this task,” said McCreedy, the new executive director of the Arts & Humanities Council. “I am eager to explore how we can better serve Southwest Louisiana’s culture, economy, and tourism.”

McCreedy is involved with the Louisiana Citizens for the Arts, Friends of Central School, the Arts Associates of Lake Charles, Fusion Five, Yellow Flag Press, McNeese Banners Cultural Series, and the annual Vision/Verse poetry and art exhibition.

She has received many awards and honors, being the recipient of the Lynn & Richard Reid Award, the William J. Dore Writing & Research Award, the Joy Scantlebury Poetry Prize as well as being nominated for the Intro Journal Award of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and the Best New Poets Anthology. 

McCreedy earned a Bachelors of Arts in English from Louisiana State University with a concentration in creative writing and minors in theatre and classical studies, a Masters of Arts in English from McNeese State University and a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from McNeese State University.  Prior to working with the Arts Council, she served as a docent with the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, and she worked for six years as a visiting lecturer at McNeese State University.

The board of directors for the Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana includes Paula Gillard, president; Jason Martinez, first vice president; Mindy Schwarzauer, second vice president; Amanda White, treasurer; and Sally Cappel, secretary. Board members include James Babin, Jason Barnes, Kaysie Bolton, John Boykin, Kristin Broussard, Mary Donaldson, Anjo Elsbury, Beverly Gott, Peggy Griffith, Katie Harrington, Terry Hebert, Daniel Ieyoub, Jordan LeLeux, Angie Manning, Shonda Manuel, Laura Moreau, Chantelle Richardson, Nancy Sanner, Patricia Schmidt, Tom Shea, Sharon Steinman, Dr. Michelle Swift, Mia Vick and Amanda Winterbottom.

For more information on the Council, visit  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Downtown at Sundown Closes this Friday with City Heat!

The 2012 season of Downtown at Sundown concludes this Friday, June 8th, with a performance by local favorite City Heat. Be sure to head out to the 600 block of Ryan Street across from Sha Sha's of Creole to get your dose of downtown! From live music and downtown food to vendors and art, you're sure to experience the best of Lake Charles! All beverage sales benefit Harbour House which offers a haven for at risk youth in the Lake Area. The City of Lake Charles coordinates this concert series, and it features local and regional bands for four Fridays in the summer. Call (337) 491-9159 for details.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Art Associates Announces Juried Show

Art Associates of Lake Charles is proud to announce a call for artists for its 6th annual Lydia & Joe Cash Juried Competition. The exhibit will hang in Art Associates Gallery at Central School October 5th through October 25th, 2012. The deadline for receipt of all entries, plus a $15 entry fee, is August 1st. The theme of the exhibit is “Sweet Tooth,” and artists are encouraged to submit work that shows their interpretation of the theme. Artists may submit up to five pieces to be juried.

The exhibit’s juror will be Luz Maria Lopez who is a Honduran-born artist and a graduate of Southeastern University in Hammond. Lopez, whose work is collected and published internationally, was the recipient of the Louisiana Division of the Arts Artist Fellowship and is the author and illustrator of the 2011 book How the Gods Created the Finger People.

The first place winner will be awarded $200, and second place will receive $100. All works in traditional art media such as painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, etc. are accepted, and the artwork must have been produced in the last five years and must not have been in a previous Art Associates juried exhibit.

The entry fee includes a year-long Art Associates membership. Art Associates of Lake Charles is dedicated to nurturing the public’s involvement in local art while providing opportunities for artists to exhibit work in the area. Guidelines and entry forms can be downloaded at

Monday, June 4, 2012

Catch A Concert Series Begins!

The Lake Charles Community Band is nearing the close of its 2011-2012 season with the Catch-A-Concert series every Monday in June at 7 p.m. Traditionally the concerts are held at the Civic Center Arcade Pavilion, however, due to construction in the pavilion area, this year’s series will be held on the shady front lawn of the Lake Charles Civic Center. The audience is encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs and a picnic dinner for a relaxing afternoon.

 This concert series leads up to the Red White Blue & You Patriotic Program during the Fourth of July Festival. In case of rain, the concerts will be held in the 2nd floor Civic Center Mezzanine. 

The Lake Charles Community Band is supported by a partnership grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, the City of Lake Charles, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. For more information call 337-491-9159 or visit

Friday, June 1, 2012

Vision/Verse to Open Saturday

Hecate by Heather Ryan Kelley
It's back! Vision/Verse returns for a fourth year to unite the literary and visual arts in a one-of-a-kind exhibition. Ten artists and ten poets are selected each fall, and what follows is a six month journey in examining the role and impact of inspiration on art.

Join us on Saturday, June 2nd, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the exhibit's opening reception at Art Associates Gallery at Central School. A reading of the poetry will be held in the Benjamin W. Mount Auditorium at Central School at 7 p.m. An after party will be held at the Porch Coffee House & Cafe at 8:30 p.m., and it will feature music by Paul Gonsoulin and Angie Manning who were inspired by pieces from the exhibit.

Tin Man by Karen Wink
Each artist chose one of the submitted poems as inspiration for a new piece of art; simultaneously, each poet chose one of the submitted pieces of art as the focus for a new poem. Each of the participants creates a new poem or piece of visual art for the exhibit, and at the end of the process, Yellow Flag Press creates broadsides of each poem, and the poetry and artwork are hung side by side at Art Associates Gallery.

Poets include Maya Beerbower, William Lusk Coppage, David Havird, Hillary Joubert, Clare L. Martin, Patrice Melnick, Stella Nesanovich, Philana Omorotionmwan, M. Rather, Jr., Kevin Thomason
Pollination by John Martel

Artists include Martin Castillo, Jessica Gayle, Heather Ryan Kelley, John Martel, Skyler Pham, Lee Richard, Valerie Smith, Blake Soto, Karen Wink, Sue Zimmermann

Art Associates Gallery is located at Central School Arts & Humanities Center at 809 Kirby Street in Lake Charles. For more information on Vision/Verse, call 337-304-1798.