You may be familiar with LA Tech’s annual summer orientation program, where loads of incoming freshmen and their parents descend up on our community. This year the University, the City of Ruston, our hard-working Convention and Visitors Bureau, and numerous downtown business owners have teamed up to make orientation an even richer experience. Forty-four downtown merchants have agreed to stay open late on four dates this summer, two of which are still to come on July 9th and 30th. The orientation participants are “delivered” to downtown, and encouraged to check out our wonderful, welcoming downtown from 7-10pm. The “encouragement” is made sweeter for the students by the prospect of winning a prize if they visit each location. The response so far has been wonderful, with a lot of interest in what our town has to offer. NCLAC has been open here in the Dixie Center for the Arts and we’ve fielded questions about community band, what musicians perform at the Dixie, how to become involved in community theatre, when and what movies are shown, and what other types of art programs occur around town.
As part of the Dog Days project, several arts businesses are offering exhibitions for the summer. We are encouraging the public, as well as the orientation families, to join the Art Crawl, and see some of the talented artists we have here. An additional bonus event occurring at the July 9th Dog Days Art Crawl will be NCLAC’s drawing of our Keep the Arts Afloat winning donor. If you missed getting your ticket this year, you still have time! As our largest fundraiser, this drawing is essential to the lifeforce of the arts council. Grab a friend, split a ticket 50/50, and you could still win $2,500. The easiest way to donate is through our site with paypal: nclarts.org. You can also call our office at (318)255-1450 to make your $100 donation. We urge you to help support our organization, as we work hard to support the arts in our region.
In July, some of the featured artists will be: painter Nina Stephens at the Dixie Center for the Arts; photographer Jim Osborne at Fine Line/Stitchville; painter/photographer Peter Jones at Studio 301; Meagan Awalt of Creperenee at Kelly Moore Bag; photographer Shawn Hood at Frame of Mind; and ceramicist Amanda Ebarb at Main Street Exchange. Other Art Crawl locations include Makers Union, PAIR Gallery, and Pastry Moon, each of which will feature a number of artists, including Bonnie Ferguson, Morgan McGough, Whitney Caskey, and many more.
The road construction downtown is at a halt right now, the sound of cicadas is soon to fill the air, and the Louisiana warm summer nights have arrived. Treat yourself to an evening out and come check out the talent…and the students who are choosing your community as their own.