Chalk creations highlight art encounter

Ray DeOliveria, left, and Tommy Folk, right, and Dean Kirby (not pictured) built the chalk boards for Saturday’s event.

By April Clark Honaker

Through a collaboration initiated by Ruston Artisans owner Judi Null, a unique series of art encounters is scheduled to engage viewers and delight the senses on the last Saturday of every other month beginning July 30.

The first Ruston Art Encounter will take place in downtown Ruston this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. with a walking trail featuring the work of over 100 artists and over 20 art-related businesses and organizations within a one-mile area. 

According to Null, this will not be a typical art walk. Together, Ruston’s art-related businesses, its downtown community and the Friends of Ruston Main Street have planned something truly special.

“Our vision has always been to create Ruston as an arts destination,” Null said. “It already is an art destination, but people don’t realize it.” 

This series of Ruston Art Encounters has been planned with the goal of raising awareness of Ruston as an arts destination both in the community and beyond. The following people comprised the planning committee: Ryan Botts and Dylan Sanders, Creative Exchange; Judy Copeland, Dixie Center for the Arts; Henry McCoy, Fine Line Supply Co.; Amy Stegall, Ruston Mainstreet; and Judi Null, Ruston Artisans. 

When the committee got together, Null said they asked, “How can we create a series of art walk events that are so compelling people come from all over?”  

The answer was to have a fresh and unique theme for every encounter and to include interactive, family friendly activities in an atmosphere that encourages creativity and engagement. Null said the idea was to make each event so different that no one would want to miss it.

The highlight of this first Encounter will be large chalk art pieces created by artists specifically for the event. These pieces will be created Saturday morning live, on site at businesses downtown on chalk boards made locally at the Ruston Community Men’s Shed. These pieces will then be on display starting at noon at businesses throughout downtown Ruston, and maps will be available at all participating businesses as well as Experience Ruston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Artists creating chalk art pieces include Jessica Ann (Creative Exchange); Ron Mckinney (Dixie Center for the Arts); Chlese Jiles (The Frame Up); Katelyn Vaughan, (The Fabric Shop); Keldrick Dunn (Cotton Top); Ruston Mirror by Creative Exchange (Railroad Park); Ashley Greer (Heard Freighthouse Food Park); Jean DeFreese Moore (The Depot Coffee House); Meredith Anderson (The Children’s Shoppe); Adam Williams (Limitless Grooming); Daniel Myers (Fine Line Supply Co.); Emily Ezell (No. 9 Books & Studio 301); and Noah Blessing (Ruston Artisans).

There will also be pop ups and activities along the walk to and at the Origin Depot Bank on Alabama and Monroe. At the bank, kids can create their own works of art, and everyone can vote on a favorite chalk artist. The winning artist will receive $500, and prints of all the chalk works will be available for purchase at Fine Line Supply Co. for $45 each.  

Null said she imagines the Ruston Art Encounters being the type of events people can plan a whole day of fun and leisure around. They can visit the Farmer’s Market, have lunch downtown, spend the afternoon on the art trail, have dinner afterward, and maybe stay the night. 

This Ruston Art Encounter is sponsored by Origin Bank, Century Next Bank, Experience Ruston, Ruston Cultural District, Ruston’s Main Street, Ruston Artisans, Fine Line, Creative Exchange, and an anonymous donor.


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