American Press

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,
(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

'Place' open throughout November

Last Modified: Monday, November 10, 2014 11:08 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

This month, residents can view a vacant building in downtown Lake Charles that has been transformed into “Place,” a program started by a local artist that lets artists use the uniqueness of the space to create an interactive experience for visitors.

Place No. 1 is located at the old Social Security building, 825 Ryan St., and will be open through Nov. 26. It is open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with performances from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is free to attend.

The site will feature work by Chicago-based artist Jessica Cornish and local artist Tracy LeMieux, who were given a month to work on the space. There are six galleries at the 12,000-square-foot space, and ideas for the art came from researching how the building was used, along with materials left behind and its architecture.

Local artist Victoria Bradford said she came up with the idea after living in downtown Chicago for several years. While artists there would use vacant storefronts as galleries to give them an unconventional area to display their work, she said that doing so also helped to market the space for real estate purposes.

After searching the local area, Bradford said she eventually found the old Social Security building on Ryan Street to use for the exhibit.

“It’s not just about art,” she said. “It’s about addressing these spaces that are vacant and are underused. It’s like a mini contemporary art museum.”

Bradford said she wanted to bring in artists from larger cities to collaborate with local artists and challenge each other. She said bringing in artists from outside Louisiana could attract a larger audience.

While some people may think of art exhibits as viewing paintings, drawings or sculptures, Bradford said her art, and the art featured at Place, is more interactive.

“I wanted to offer a new experience for people,” Bradford said. “Not only is this place growing, but why not have something different and interesting on the horizon?”

Bradford said she recently started Free Swim, an organization that is dedicated to community-driven programs that promote creativity. She said her goal with Place is to have another showcase at a different location each quarter.


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