Last year, Harris presented a solo exhibit at gallery that included portraits of those who made a difference in her life.
“I wanted the exhibit to be more than a collection of paintings; it had to say something,” she said, and so she created 30 paintings around one theme.
“After the show, many of my friends who are also artists said that they had always wanted to do the same thing but they never had the time to get a show together,” Harris said.
Reflecting on the comments, Harris invited her friends and family to create art that reflects who they are as citizens of Louisiana.
“Our environment is so unique,” she said. “The rich blend of ethnic groups and their cultural influences strongly affect the outlook of the people who live and work here. Even among the Southern states, Louisiana stands out. Religious differences, Cajun influences, Texas cowboy connections, the north/south division that occurs around Alexandria, and, of course, our wonderful food and mysterious swamplands all conspire to give us a voice as individual as our music. That voice — and the artistic vision expressed through it — is the focus of the exhibit currently on display at RealArt DeRidder.”
Participating artists include Sheri Bennett and Susan Jaques, sculptors from Central Louisiana; Melissa and William Harris, photographers from Natchitoches; photographer Terri Landry of Abbeville; and members of the Beauregard Artists Guild, Boo Morvan, James Freeman, Annie Simmons, Margo Roll, Marguerite Wood, Wanda Motichek, D’Evelyn Cooley, Tammie Cothran and Harris.
The show represents a wide range of ages and styles. William Harris, 3, took a camera to show his world “down low” while his mother, Melissa, ranged out from their home and shot familiar scenes — swamps, oil rigs, family pets.
Freeman, the oldest member of the group, painted Asian-influenced scenes reminiscent of his travels in military service before retiring to DeRidder.
Jaques, a landscaper from Woodworth, created the iron sculpture called “Lilies in a Hurricane.”
The show also features Wood’s art quilts, Bennett’s copper chandelier created with the slab glass left to her by her grandmother and a variety of paintings spotlighting hunting scenes, wildlife, friendly neighbors, pets, barnyard animals, fruit and flowers.
The gallery will host a reception honoring the artists 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.
Regular gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday