Art Exhibits Light Up Downtown Houma
by Jacqueline Weimer
Get a glimpse of what’s going on in the local art community by attending Art After Dark this Saturday, Sept. 8, from 6:30–9:30 p.m. This annual event is sponsored by the Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild.
“Art After Dark is an evening to spend with the arts,” said Karen Kelly, chairwoman of the event. “It’s a good night to get out and support the local artists and have a good time.”
The event is an art walk that is both free to the public and to artists who wish to exhibit their work. The majority of participating artists are from the Houma-Thibodaux area, with a few from as far away as New Orleans and Morgan City.
Main Street and a few surrounding streets, such as Barrow and Goode, will feature local artwork. Over 50 artists are expected to participate in Art After Dark this year. Some of the artists will set up their work inside of businesses. The open buildings will feature receptions with refreshments for event-goers. There will also be a few “phantom galleries” where artists’ work will be set up in the windows of businesses, though these businesses will not be open. Aside from the various media of art, participants will get a chance to hear the Houma-Terrebonne Community Stage Band playing on the courthouse steps, along with a few other local talents.
The nighttime art walk got its start in 2000. Kelly was the guild’s featured artist that September. At the time, a reception for the artist was typically held on a Sunday afternoon. Kelly decided that she would prefer a nighttime event. She realized that there was another reception for another artist the same evening that she wanted to schedule hers and decided to have the two receptions at the same time. Kelly then realized that there was also a sculpture display set up that very same night. Through a few local contacts, more participants were added and the event now known as Art After Dark was born.
“[The first year] it had five exhibits—it was very successful,” Kelly said. “The following year, with a grant, it grew.”
The guild puts on the event each September with funding from the parish. Kelly writes the grant that keeps the event free.
While the TFAG sponsors Art After Dark, participation is not exclusively for guild members. Anyone can submit his or her artwork to the guild for consideration. In fact, most of the artists featured at this event are not members of the guild.
Art After Dark is yet another great way to get out and see all that historic downtown Houma has to offer.
“It makes people realize that Main Street is not dead,” Kelly said.
This event not only allows people to see local artists’ work, but also to see the updates and growth the downtown area has been experiencing lately. Locals can get a fresh perspective on the businesses that Main and the surrounding streets feature.
“We are hoping that this can revitalize Main Street,” Kelly said.
Kelly attributes much of Art After Dark’s success to the fact that there are few events like it in the area. And it seems our area is receptive to the “cultural” activity of examining fine works of art created by the local community.