Art Talk Monday… Ruston Reflections

Today’s Art Talk Monday is written by Jessica Slaughter, NCLAC Executive Director.

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I was filled with so many positive emotions last week at Ruston’s first Downtown Gallery Crawl. I simply could not stop smiling. As a former resident of Monroe, and as an arts-worker, I am very familiar with the Downtown Monroe Gallery Crawls. They are fun, they’re well attended, they get great publicity– and they use a LOT of Lincoln parish talent. So when Bonnie Ferguson of Pastry Moon told me a couple of months ago that she and some other arts-businesses were planning a Spring Gallery Crawl in Ruston, I was thrilled. In working for NCLAC, and with my relationship to Louisiana Tech’s College of Liberal Arts, I see firsthand the abundance of talent we have in our area. We have the artists, we have a beautiful downtown, and we have a community of people who support cultural programming, so it’s befitting that we should have art crawls.

One of my favorite NCLAC events is our long-running Holiday Arts Tour. One reason I enjoy it so much is that it allows me to interact with our artists and merchants in a personal way, and I get to invite others to share this experience. I feel a tremendous sense of pride in being a Ruston resident, and I really enjoy working downtown. For many of you, though, downtown isn’t part of your routine. You work elsewhere, you shop across town, you get caught up in life’s tight schedule, and before long you realize the flowers have changed in the planters and there are two new shops you didn’t know existed.

So back to the Crawl. Being with the public in our lovely downtown on a beautiful Louisiana spring evening looking at art, listening to music, and visiting with creatives was just what I needed. Apparently it was what many of us needed, as I’ve heard people talking about it all week. Ruston’s first Spring Gallery Crawl was a wonderful blend of community and university, and there was a mix of people both familiar and unfamiliar. I felt so proud for the arts-related merchants who joined together to build this evening. I was pleased with our residents, in that crowds of people came out to show support, many of whom made unique purchases that directly affect the lives of people in our community. I was excited for the artists who sold artwork. I was happy to be able to bring my kids to an event that was fun for me as well as them. And when it was over, I was grateful to be in MY town, not on the road driving home from Monroe.

There are plans underway for other Ruston “art crawls,” and NCLAC will help inform you of these in our weekly Art Talk article. If you missed last Friday’s event, be sure you don’t miss the next one. And if you attended last week, thanks for helping to make such a perfect night for so many, myself included. 

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