November 4, 2023, will be a big day for the Arts in Vernon Parish. Six new installations will be dedicated at the Leesville Art Park on Abe Allen Memorial Drive, and a reception will be held that evening at GALLERY ONE EIIIEVEN for a new exhibit featuring artists from the Central Louisiana area.
The six new installations at the Art Park include: “Wisteria Towers”, a special area on the north end of the park in memory of Shirley Smith. Shirley was an ardent supporter of the arts throughout her life, and a staunch supporter of the Leesville Art Park. Upon her death, the family requested that donations go to the park in her name, and this installation is a spot of Zen overlooking West Leesville Elementary School, in her memory and honor.
“Marci Joy’s Meadow” is another space created in honor and memory of a strong supporter of the Arts that has left us, Marci Joy Cook. The space is a low berm on the southwest end of the park that has plantings by the community, backed up by a Bird and Butterfly pollinator meadow that will be left to grow wild and natural.”
“Louisiana Totem” is a work by gallery member artist Joey Governale. It sits in the center of the park and is the anchor for a planned space of architectural columns, each painted and installed by a different artist. Joey’s whimsical and colorful images provide a real pop of color and activity to the Art Park and we look forward to the other columns going up soon.
“Ode to the Pottery Gods” is a work in progress of a mosaic pyramid conceived and created by local artist, gallery volunteer and military spouse Taylor Sund Peterson. Taylor has participated in many gallery events since her family was stationed here, and she is a testament of how the military family and the local art scene mesh well.
“The OTHER Sunshine Bridge” came about by the suggestion of the City of Leesville and the local Kiwanis Club. Designed by Leila Pollard, the footbridge that connects West Leesville Elementary to the Art Park was built by the SOWELA Carpentry Class under the leadership of Bobby Bordelon and funded by the City of Leesville and the Kiwanis Club of Leesville. This is a wonderful example of good people creating good things for the community.
“KISATCHIE” is a monumental sculpture installed on the South end of the Art Park. This work was funded in part by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism through a grant, the City of Leesville, the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission, and private donations. Four artists and craftsmen worked on the sculpture; Tony McDonald designed and provide some painting on the work, Will Jenkins provided welding, lighting and logistical input, Ben Moss provided design and painting, and Joey Governale provided four paintings for a “gallery in the round” on the sculpture that provide images of the Kisatchie National Forest.
After the 3 p.m. public dedication of these six new investments in the Leesville Art Park, the public is invited to GALLERY ONE EIIIEVEN where a reception will be held for “All Together Now” – an exhibit of new work by nine artists from the Central Louisiana area. Food will be catered by Kai’s Island Grill with seafood provided by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board and the Office of the Lt. Governor.