BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana is home to many innovative artists. But some can face challenges in finding local places to showcase their work.
Briel Edmonds, the co-owner of Vaudeville Entertainment, and a longtime bartender at The Smiling Dog noticed this problem and decided to do something about it.
She collaborated with The Smiling Dog, 4215 South Sherwood Forest Blvd., Baton Rouge, to host a Saturday, June 3 art show at the tavern. Art Night will be free to the public and feature the work of approximately 45 local artists.
Edmonds said, “The inspiration for Art Night was really just to create a space for artists to be able to showcase their work, specifically local artists. We wanted them to get together and show their work and inspire each other.”
She explained that the number of art-centric and art-focused sites around Sherwood Forest has diminished recently. She hopes that events like this will drum up more public interest in creative endeavors and, eventually, expand the area’s art scene. “I really believe that it’s important to inspire and encourage people in our community to really get in touch with their creativity, get in touch with their entrepreneurial spirit. If we have more spaces and more people to come together to allow these types of things and more businesses who desire these kinds of events to take place, then it can easily become less of a hobby and less of a side hustle or a side business to someone’s main source of income,” Edmonds continued.
“We’ll have musical acts, fire dancing, and other circus acts,” Edmonds said.
“There’s everything from painting, digital art, oddities, woodwork, clay pottery, jewelry, plants, books. That’s mainly what you’ll find,” she continued.
Some pieces may feature insect pinning, taxidermy and unconventional ceramics or sculptures.
“There are some artists who make really freaky stuff, like doll heads with tentacle arms,” Edmonds said.
Ryan Schexnaydre, a Baton Rouge-based writer, said, “I’ve been writing poetry since I was 13 years old when I lost my best friend, and my love for writing grew from there.” He said it helped him by, “taking the pain and creating something more hopeful from it, and also learning to better understand the world.”
Schexnaydre is looking forward to participating. He said, “A few years ago I decided to finally complete something. So, I sat down with a friend of mine and compiled them (his poems) into a poetry book.”
“My book is called “Life on the Verge of Existing” and can be found on Amazon,” he said, adding that he’s looking forward to sharing it with the public during the event.
For Edmonds, it’s all about helping artists.
“I think these types of gatherings encourage people to continue working on their crafts and get in touch with their creativity and connect with their entrepreneurial spirit and with like-minded people in their community,” she said. “It also stimulates the economy.”
Art Night at The Smiling Dog typically occurs at least twice a year. If you want to share work at the next event, reach out to Edmonds on Facebook.
This weekend’s event will begin at 7 p.m. The first three hours are open to all ages. From 10 p.m. to midnight, attendees must be 21 or older.