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Johnny Segura works on his painting during the Art Battle at Art Walk. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Johnny Segura works on his painting during the Art Battle at Art Walk. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)

Art Walk great at showing off downtown’s talent

Last Modified: Thursday, May 02, 2013 1:25 PM

By Alex Onken / American Press

Forget about walks in the park.

The Spring Art Walk took place last week in downtown Lake Charles. Many people from the area came to support local artists. Live music cascaded down Ryan Street. A bit further down the road, dancers from the International Dance Company & Drum Circle performed outside Historic City Hall.

“It’s great that it gets people out to downtown. There’s new stores and restaurants coming up, so I think that it’s great that it gets people out here,” said Tracy LeMieux, local artist and student at McNeese State University.

Pottery, jewelry, clothing, paintings, and photographs were among some items being sold. Some artists were creating work on the street as people walked on.

“I do think this will help revitalize downtown. It’s very charming here and you can see everyone’s very comfortable here just walking around,” said Mischelle Jasken, a local artist and proprietor of Pottery by Mischelle.

“This shows people what we have to offer as a city,” said Alex Hoffpauir. “We have more than just Cajun food here. I think it’s a step in the right direction for downtown.”

Many of the local venues opened their doors and offered free food and drink to many passersby. The Gallery of Fine Wines and Spirits offered wine tastings. Pujo Street Café gave out pieces of cake.

Local artists also took place in “art battles” along Ryan Street for both adult artists and children.

“The artists have one hour to make something, and you get voted on by tips, people come by and put them in your bucket,” said LeMieux. “Then, you can sell your artwork in a silent auction, your artwork.”

“The Art Walk shows that art is alive in this community,” said Anna Sprigg, a student at McNeese State University. “It’s never out there enough. There is a lot is going on, people just need to be aware of it.”

“[Downtown] they’re very big on promoting the arts,” said Jasken.

Many downtown businesses, such as Pujo Street Café, Stellar Beans Coffee House, 505 Bazaar, Salon Lindsay, among others, opened their doors for artists to show and sell their work. Dharma, a new venue hosted works by McNeese art students. Later in the evening, Patrick Sheng and the McNeese Jazz Combos preformed live.

“This is the first time we’ve had art at Dharma,” said Alyssa DiNatale, co-owner of Dharma. “And it’s just the beginning of much more art to come.”

“(The Art Walk) it gets rid of the idea that there is nothing to do in Lake Charles,” said Sprigg.

“Downtown is no longer dead town,” said Justin LeBrun.

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