50th Annual Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

50th Annual Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival

April 8-17, 2016


Although this review may appear too late to be of much practical use for potential viewers, it seems appropriate to review this year’s Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival.  Few arts activities in Central Louisiana have survived as long.  It is to the credit of the Peyton family and the First United Methodist Church of Alexandria that this festival continues to thrive.  Each year there is a juried art show and a number of other artistic activities, which vary from year to year.


Michael Mallard, Assistant Professor of Art at Darton State College in Albany, Georgia, juried the year’s art show.  He juried in 48 artists, mostly local or regional Louisianans, but also a handful of artists from Texas and Mississippi.  There was a good mix of painting, photography, and a smattering of mixed media, ceramic and other three-dimensional works.


I’ll mention of few works that caught my eye out of the many from the show.  Jerry Cook’s photos, usually without any manipulation with editing techniques, demonstrate a fine eye for subject and composition.  A Festival Purchase Award honored his “Tough Art,” a photo of a pair of hands.  His “Lost Message,” showed the juxtaposition of a billboard, almost lost amide a confusion of construction.  There were other notable photos by Peter Milder, Leslie and Michael Elliott-Smith Connie Guillory, Piper Wilson and other talented photographers from Central Louisiana.


Some paintings that stood out were Ronnie Collins’s “Roseate Spoonbill,” Amanda Craft’s nice technical works, John Malveto’s very characteristic stained-glass-like paintings, and the impressionistic works by Mary Louise Porter.  There were several works with animal subjects, including Jane Crowell’s “Hitching a Ride,” and an interesting drawing by Frankie Gould, “Christina Irene: How Do I look Upside Down.”


Especially pleasing were the three-dimensional works.  Ron Koehler’s “Stretched Tools,” and “Grammy Always Told Me That When I Was At Her House I could Play With My Food,” have a ludic quality.  Janet Ahrens shows her talent with “Red Bird and the Storyteller.”  Nate Theisen’s intriguing, illuminated plexi-glass globe with a flying bird (“Jail, Song, Free”) brought something more abstract and conceptual to a show with mostly representational art.  We can’t ignore Charlie Vier’s pine needle abstract baskets that bring something contemporary to a traditional Louisiana craft form.


Matt DeFord’s wire and cloth birds also brought a smile as did JoAnne Thompson “Floral Fireworks,” a study in blue and orange.  Debra Bynog’s “Ill-Tempered at the Alamo,” could not help but amuse anyone with adolescent children.  Her unconventional treatment of the subject deserves credit for being intrepid.


In short, there was a little something for everyone.  A School Art Exhibit, judged by Sara Fuhrer, graced the hallway.  And fine collection of Bill Bryant’s excellent watercolors filled the adjacent gallery.  Hopefully, everyone got an opportunity to catch the show and take in the art as well as the lovely concert by Kameryn Lueng, Katelyn Sooter Parks and Cara Waring on April 17, 2016.  These three fine vocalists, accompanied by Mei-En Chou of Louisiana College, demonstrated their skills with a collection of art songs and show songs, all a treat for an appreciative audience.


David J. Holcombe, M.D.




Dr. David Holcombe has demonstrated a life-long interest in the arts.  Starting with art courses at U.C. Davis during the turbulent 70’s, he continued painting and writing for the next five decades.  His works have been accepted in many local, regional and state juried shows and are found in collections all over the world.


David is one of TicketCentral’s volunteer bloggers for the 2015-16 season.


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