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Shreveport Regional Arts Council

Beloved Objects

Tour of homes explores the private art of Shreveport collectors

Beloved Objects

Photo by Casey Jones

Northwest Louisiana art collector Betty Black opens her home February 17, 2019, for the Art Collectors' Tour of Homes.

Discovering fields of oil and collecting fine art seem to be woven together through the history of Northwest Louisiana. Take, for example, Richard W. Norton Sr., whose vision, passion, and leadership is behind today’s R. W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport. Or Algur H. Meadows, who acquired a 360-piece collection of oil paintings and water colors by French Indochina artist Jean Despujols and built the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College of Louisiana to house it. O. Delton Harrison Jr. is another patron who has reshaped the state of the Shreveport arts community over the years. Harrison has served on the boards of the Shreveport Opera and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, in addition to serving as the President and current President Emeritus of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC).

Northwest Louisianans love their artists, some of whom have become beloved across the rest of the world, including Clementine Hunter, Louis Sicard, Clyde Connell, MC 5Cent Jones, Jerry Wray, and William Joyce. On February 17, SRAC, in partnership with collectors across Shreveport, will host a Tour of Homes of some of the private collections of the art of Northwest Louisiana artists, giving the public a glimpse at art that people don’t simply look at but also live with. This is an intimate sharing with the art and the collector, not possible to experience in a museum or a gallery, revealing the passion of the person who has chosen the art and the relationship that is embraced with the canvas and its creator.

SRAC’s mission with the Tour of Homes is to cultivate the next crop of Northwest Louisiana art collectors. Just how does one become a collector? SRAC has developed a program of “matching” collectors and juried artists that nationally acclaimed art critic Robert Pincus says “goes beyond what [he] has seen in most cities in the U.S., and makes a case, vigorously, for collecting and championing art in concept and practice.” The SRAC Collectors’ Tour of Homes kicks off the 2019 Collectible Art series with the opening of ten collectors’ homes to those interested in Northwest Louisiana art.

Northwest Louisiana art collector Betty Black’s home is one of those that will be on the February 17 Art Collectors’ Tour of Homes. She has collected many regional artists throughout her almost fifty years of collecting, including Clyde Connell, Jerry Wray, Jean Sartor, Sam Rigling, Rachel Stuart-Haas, Bertha Harris, Marilyn Couch, Zama Dexter, Lewis Kalmbach, Karen La Beau, and Pat Sewell, to name a few. “My greatest joy in collecting has been getting to know the artists, to hear about their lives and their passion to produce their art, and then to follow their journey in art throughout their lives,” said Black. “I am looking forward to sharing the art in our home during the Collectors’ Tour of Homes. It is always validating to me to watch people’s reaction to our eclectic collection and to be a part of opening their eyes to how vast the world of creating art is,” added Black.

Pincus, who is a contributor to ARTnews, Art in America, and the Wall Street Journal and who has been SRAC’s Curator of Critics since 2013, says that you collect art to bond with it and not simply to possess it. Pincus adds that art within your collection should be like a “beloved object—something you would miss if it weren’t on your wall.”

“There is a sense of community among the artists of Northwest Louisiana that creates a climate for creativity which I believe manifests itself in some very vibrant and dynamic art,” said Pincus. “It is a misconception to think that a huge metropolitan region with many artists necessarily yields greater artists than modestly populated regions. Some artists whose work I have experienced in Northwest Louisiana compare favorably to artists in any other part of the United States. Given that these artists are relatively unknown outside of the region, and their prices are modest, Northwest Louisiana presents a wonderful opportunity for the serious collector.”

SRAC invites you to the COLLECTORS’ TOUR OF HOMES on Saturday, February 17, 2019, to see how local art has enhanced the living spaces of local collectors and to hear how the collectors have built relationships with the artists to encourage their growth and success. Visit www.shrevearts.org for more information.