Monday, September 22, 2008

"Draw the Line" Reviewed on!

Read the review from here!

Thank you all who came out that night! Don't forget about the closing reception on Friday, Oct, 10 from 6 -8pm!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Draw the Line: An Artists' Invitational: Three years post Katrina in Olde Towne Slidell

The Olde Towne Arts Center presents Draw the Line: an Artists ' Invitational from Sept. 12 through Oct. 10, 2008 at 300 Robert St. in Slidell, Louisiana. Three years post Hurricane Katrina, the exhibit will feature 10 top artists who have lived, worked or created in Slidell.

Exhibiting will be George Dunbar, Patricia Whitty, Blake Boyd, Nancy Rhodes, Martin Needom, Nolan Lefort, La Nelle Landry, Susan Needom, Phil Galatas and Kathleen DesHotel.

An Artists' Gala Reception will be held Friday, Oct. 10, 6-8 p.m. The public is invited to celebrate the creative works by these impressive artists, and have a chance to hear about their work during the Gala. This will be the closing event for the exhibit, scheduled as a Louisiana Passport Event and part of the World Cultural Economic Forum sponsored by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. LA Passport events will spotlight the cultural economy throughout the state for the month of October, 2008.

The opening night of Draw the Line, Sept. 12, 6-9 p.m., will feature Poetry Storm, at 7:30 p.m., an evening of poets from Slidell, an open reading and book signing. Special guest artist will be satirist and performer Chris Champagne, reading from his book, "Roach Opera," published by Portals Press.

Opening night will also feature the first public viewing of the Olde Towne Arts Center's upper gallery, studios and class room space. There will be an exhibit of artwork by board members and instructors from the Olde Towne Arts Center to showcase the space. Exhibiting upstairs will be board members Charlotte Collins, Dennis Formento, Patricia Hart, Mia Kaplan and instructors Jane Hill, Darlene Powell, Michael Jolley and others.

The Olde Towne Arts Center was formed to provide opportunities for artists where Hurricane Katrina destroyed Slidell Cleaners. The water line drawn on the front of the building suggested the title for this exhibition which allows the invited artists to display works that represent a range of situational contexts at this point in their professional and personal lives, three years after Katrina.
Some have moved on, while others have not been so fortunate. Their work may have been influenced by this catastrophic event, or not. Slidell experienced the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina which pushed a 23-foot tidal surge ahead of it, bringing the lake into much of the city. Many artists lost everything. Their works will represent a chosen vision and some were created specifically for this show.

The cornerstone of the exhibit will be international artist George Dunbar. "We are relieved that he completely rebuilt his destroyed studio in Slidell, where he created so much of his art and where he mentored so many of the artists in this show," Olde Towne Arts Center Director Charlotte Lowry Collins said.

Dunbar continues to show his work through museums and galleries in Louisiana, New York and most recently New Mexico. His abstract work pays homage to the Bayou Bonfouca area, particularly in the Coin du Lestin, Marshgrass and Bonfouca series, Collins said.

Artist Nancy Rhodes now lives in Tucson, Arizona and was recently the subject of a retrospective exhibit of her work titled "The Slidell Years, 1977 to 2006." Draw the Line will be the first showing of her Tucson work which Rhodes said expresses "I have definitely moved beyond the line.".

Photographer Kathleen DesHotel found her home was spared. But, her work will incorporate the praying hands of all those she knew who lost their homes and more in the storm.

The family of the late Patricia Whitty and her friend Boni Johnson have arranged for a piece of Whitty's work to be included in this exhibition. Whitty was a major part of the art scene in Slidell, and her artistic contribution will be honored in this exhibit.

Both Poetry Storm, Sept. 12 and the Artists' Gala Reception on Oct. 10 are part of the events for the City of Slidell's Olde Towne Alive block party, held the second Friday of each month from 6-9 p.m. with food, music and events along First Street in Olde Towne Slidell. For information on Olde Towne Arts Center classes, exhibits and events, call 985.649.0555, email or visit the blog site at

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Student Show dazzles at OTAC

Second Fridays are heating up!

Last night, though, I don't recall anyone who appeared to be miserable.

Afterall, being surrounded by the talents of our community is something worth celebrating. The Student Show at OTAC featured artwork from Mia Kaplan's Drawing Workshop, Patricia Hart & Jane Hill's Clay classes, and Dennis Formento's Poetry Workshop. Students ranged in age, but all came together harmoniously for the exhibition.

Dennis Formento's performance was especially moving. Many of his poems use local references such as Carr Drive, St. Joe Bricks, life preservers, crawfish, etc. A collection of his writings should not be overlooked, and will hopefully find their way onto this blog in the near future!

If you haven't already, add the OTAC blog to your favorites so you can stay informed. We have more classes coming up. Contact us if you would like to be notified when something comes up that you're interested in.

Here is a link to more photos from the Student Show:

See you next month!
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Opening This Friday, 6 -8pm

The instructors at OTAC are proud to announce their first exhibition of student works!

Students in Dennis Formento's Poetry Class, Mia Kaplan's Drawing Workshop, and Sharon Sharpe's New Media Class will be sharing their work created while taking courses at OTAC.

The exhibition opens on Friday, July 11, from 6 - 8pm, for one night only.

Congratulations and a big thank you to all the students who made the first round of classes a wonderful experience!

See you on Friday!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer Classes at OTAC

Beat the heat with
cool summer art classes
at the
OldeTowne Arts Center!

For more information, contact
Charlotte Collins, Director of OTAC,
via e-mail at or by calling 985-649-0555.


OTAC Pottery Studio
New classes forming for children and adults

Michael Jolley: Wednesdays, 2-4 p.m. for six sessions beginning July 2.

The class will focus on techniques to explore a range of ways to use clay creatively, and fire and glaze ware. $35 supplies fee includes 25 pounds of clay, firing and glaze. Limit 6.

Introducing Jane Hill's Summer Clay Camps

Jane Hill: moved to New Orleans in 1991, teaching in the Talented Visual Arts Program until Hurricane Katrina. She returns to teach at OTAC this summer from Baltimore, MD, where she teaches part time at Maryland Institute College of Art, and Baltimore Clayworks. She is the recipient of a "Restoration Residency" Fellowship at A Studio In The Woods-A Program of Tulane University, and grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation. Ms Hill has an MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute of Art, and extensive experience teaching two and three dimensional media to students of all ages and backgrounds.

Her passion is helping students of all backgrounds discover and nurture their unique creative voice. For her class offerings, all materials are provided. All clay work will be fired and available for pickup within one to two weeks of the course's end.

CHILDREN: June 9-June 13, morning & afternoon sessions
Clay for Kids Session I: "How my Garden Grows"
Class time: 10:00 am-12:00 noon, daily.
Ages: 5-7
In this introductory clay class, little hands will examine things big and small-all from the garden. From beautiful flowers to the insects and animals found in their own backyard, young clay artists will learn simple hand-building ceramic techniques while exploring in sculpture the beauties of the ordinary-yet extraordinary-garden.
Clay For Kids Session I: "Tall Tales and Fairy Tales-Stories in Clay"
Class Time: 1:30-3:30 daily
Ages: 8-12
Come learn how to sculpt your favorite stories. From Cinderella's castle, to a fire breathing dragon, students will use favorite tales to create a rich array of sculptural forms, while learning the basics of hand-built clay construction and surface decoration.

CHILDREN: June 16th-June 20th, morning & afternoon sessions
Clay for Kids Session II: "Feather and Fin"
Ages: 5-7
Class Time; 10:00am-12:00 noon, daily
In this class, young students will explore in clay the imagery of birds, fish, and other animal friends. Students will release their creativity using simple pinch, coil and slab techniques in the exploration of all manner of creatures that swim and fly.
Clay for Kids, Session II: "Facing the Figure"
Ages: 8-12
Class Time: 1:30-3:30, daily
How do you build a head? A super-hero? An action figure in motion? In this class teen students will use the human-and sometimes inhuman-form as the basis of examining sculptural ceramic techniques and surface decoration.

CHILDREN: June 23rd-June 27th, morning & afternoon sessions
Clay for Kids, Session III: "Dans La Louisianne!"
Ages: 5-7
Class Time: 10:00 am to 12:00noon, daily
Louisiana is one of the most interesting places on earth. From the food, the people and the fascinating natural world, there's a lot about our state to explore in clay. Young clay artists will learn how to make an alligator, sculpt a swamp, and enjoy their creativity while celebrating Louisiana.
Clay for Kids, Session III: "Masks and Myths"
Ages: 8-12
Class Time: 1:30-3:30 daily
Stories from myth and legend will serve as the inspiration for this class, where students will create masks and sculpt mythological creatures. Ceramic skills will build as students work to bring legend to life.

ADULTS AND KIDS: one-day workshops:
Family Explorer Session I: Father's Day Celebration
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 1-3 pm
Ages: Child ages 5-12 and an adult helper
In this special adult-child workshop, participants will create a double self portrait-"Me and My Dad". Kids will learn the basics of making a face in clay and will create with their adult helper a fired and glazed ceramic piece to celebrate Father's Day.
Family Explorer Session II: On the Street Where I live.
Date: Sunday, June 22
Time: 1-3 pm
Ages: Child ages 5-12 and an adult helper.
In this special adult-child workshop, kids, and their adult helpers will work together to create a relief tile showing themselves and their neighborhood. Both a family and neighborhood portrait, children and parents will create together to produce a fired and glazed work of ceramic art.

Adult/Teen Basic Hand-building
Date: June 12-July 3rd (Thursdays)
Time: 7-9:30 PM
This class will introduce students to basic hand-building skills in ceramics. Focusing on functional and non functional ceramic forms, students will learn pinch, coil and slab techniques as well as low fire glaze techniques. Open to adults and interested teens over the age of 13. Excellent to familiarize students with clay before beginning on the wheel.

Drawing Workshop

Begins June 1 and June 2 with an closing reception for student showing, July 11, 6-9 p.m.

Level I:
9-12 year olds Sunday or Monday, 2 - 4pm

Level II:

13+ year olds Sunday or Monday, 4:30 - 6:30pm

This course focuses on the fundamental strategies used in drawing with a variety of media. Working from observation, students will compose three finished drawings throughout the
course, introducing new techniques and materials to incorporate into their work.

$35 supply fee for materials. Limit 8 students.

Topics Covered: contour line drawing, line variation, blind contours, modeling/massing, proportion and scale, positive and negative space, life drawing, using color, mixing media, uncommon techniques in drawing
art history.


we are hunters after things unseen
players of sounds unheard

give us a myth and we will move

-Dennis Formento

DENNIS FORMENTO: Poet, performer, publisher of Surregional Press. He teaches English at Delgado Community College in Slidell. A New Orleans native, he lives Post-K, in Slidell, La., with his wife, Patricia Hart. He has appeared at Dramarama with his performance ensemble The Frank Zappatistas and dancer Nanette Ledet. Formento got his introduction to multidisciplinary collaboration at the Naropa Institute and has a graduate degree from the University of Colorado. He is the author of eight chapbooks of poetry. Most recently, Dennis provided the 'afterward' to "Full Moon Night," a collection of John Sinclair's mid-60s poetry on jazz giant John Coltrane.

POETRY WORKSHOP: Ages 18 and up, Saturdays, 1-3 p.m. Six weeks beginning June 7. No session July 5. Poetry reading in conjunction with student show, July 11, 6-9 p.m. $15 supply fee for anthology.

Textile & Fiber Arts

Cherie Bills is a returning local artist, just graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with a degree in textile design and a love for all things fiber.

Intro to knitting: Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. with six sessions beginning June 19.
The class is an introduction to the basic techniques and materials of hand knitting. Students will complete a dishcloth and their choice of a scarf or hat. Needles and yarn included in $20 supply fee. Limit 6.

Market bag knit-along: Thursdays, 6-8 p.m. beginning July 24.
Who needs plastic bags to go the new Camellia City Market in Olde Towne Slidell? Fight the battle of the plastic bag by knitting an expanding market bag. The bag is designed to fold up and carry in a purse or stash in a car until needed. A basic knowledge of hand knitting is required. The $20 supply fee includes needles, yarn, and a copy of the pattern. Limit 6.

Want to know more about the new Camellia City Market? Open Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 333 Erlanger St., Griffith Park in Olde Towne Slidell, more information is available at the Web site.
Click here:

New Media

A Digital Arts initiative begun this spring with the exhibition Eyes on Olde Towne continues as a multimedia collaboration with artists, educators, historians, residents and others involved in the rebuilding taking place throughout the Olde Towne Historic Preservation District. From the bayous of Bonfouca to the train depot; early trading posts to the homes of city fathers; historic churches and educational sites to the merchent center - the Preservation District encompasses much of Slidell's history and is an area where intensive efforts are being made to reshape its future since Hurricane Katrina.


Eyes on Olde Towne Project Director Sharon Sharpe will conduct six, two-hour sessions in shooting and editing video, audio and photography in a variety of projects. Participants will have the opportunity to explore their interest in the Digital Arts through this hands-on workshop. Ages 13 years and older. OPEN HOUSE May 31, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for information and registration. Interested students can come find out more about the project. $35 supply fee required. Limit 6. Classes begin in June.

ADVANCED MEDIA STUDIES: Students and artists of all ages can work on self- directed media projects to pursue their own interests and for assistance in completing or furthuring their own work. OPEN HOUSE May 31, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to arrange course of study with instructor. Six, two-hour sessions. $35 supply fee required. Limit 6.

Sharon Sharpe works in digital media creating pieces for the web. She is a communications major in radio television film from the univeristy of texas and has taught Media Arts in a variety of settings for high school and college age youth. She has directed multi-cultural initiatives in Texas and the southwest to bring diversity into media production.

"Eyes on Old Towne" Opening Reception Photos

From left: Artist Daniel Kirk, artist & OTAC instructor Patricia Hart, poet & OTAC instructor Dennis Formento

The crowd!!

Local artist Susan Needom enjoys a glass of wine among friends at OTAC
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"Eyes on Old Towne" exhibit a real eye opener!

If you were lucky enough to make it out to Old Towne a few weeks ago for the first opening at OTAC, chances are you enjoyed the live music, dug the amazing cars and crafts on the street, and were reminded of how charming the historic downtown area of Slidell really is.

Here are some photos from opening night! Congrats to all the jury winners, and to everyone who made the exhibition possible.

Don't miss the next opening at Old Towne Art Center. Get out, bring the kids, and be part of the new art scene in Slidell!