Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center will open a new exhibit, “Hitnes, The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon,” at 5:30-8 p.m. Friday on the third floor gallery, 1001 Ryan St.

Hitnes, an Italian artist, spent three months retracing Audubon’s original journey, taken 200 years ago, cataloging American wildlife. He traveled through 15 states, including treks from Florida to Louisiana and through Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Matt Young, historic city hall director of cultural affairs, said that Hitnes’ work “amplifies Audubon’s original vision” through works that are both large scale and intricately small.

“Hitnes’ trek, which breathes new life into Audubon’s work, resulted in paintings that are sharp, vivid pieces of naturalism,” he said.

Paintings of birds, fish and various other wildlife native to the southern and eastern United States, are on display, including scenes unique to Louisiana. The state inspired some of Audubon’s most memorable images, and two of Hitnes’ murals depict scenes from New Orleans, Young said.

Hitnes’ use of bright colors and multi-dimension shadowboxes create exaggerated pieces that let viewers connect with the various landscapes he explored. Some murals are up to 8 feet tall, Young said.

“You don’t need an arts background to appreciate the color, detail and fascinating imagery in this exhibition,” he said.

Young called the Hitnes exhibit “one of the most visually impressive shows at 1911” because it includes a variety of mediums, a feature-length documentary on the journey and artifacts taken from the nature he observed.

Filling the entire third floor gallery, which once housed a courtroom, was a challenge, he said.

The opening reception is free and will include light refreshments. The exhibit will be on display through April 27.

For more, call 491-9147 or visit cityoflakecharles.com.

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