Content Produced in Partnership with Louisiana Travel
If you were to ask an artist, they'll tell you that Louisiana is more than a state — it's its own state of mind. A melting pot of cultures immersed in deep-rooted history and customs, the state is a natural breeding ground for artists itching to feature their work. Here's how you can take in their talents and support their endeavors during your visit:
Visit a Museum
Before diving into the local arts scene, gather your bearings with a visit to an art museum, where you can learn about the state's arts history and see work by George Rodrigue and Clementine Hunter. You don’t have to stick close to major cities like New Orleans or Baton Rouge to admire their work though. A number of museums across the state showcase their works, and one of the finest exhibits can be found at the Alexandria Museum of Art. From contemporary to Art Nouveau, The Connected Visions: Louisiana Artist Lineage exhibit presents the best Louisiana works from the past 100 years. Additional museums to visit include the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette, the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, and Louisiana Art & Science Museum in Baton Rouge. You can also see Clementine Hunter’s paintings at historic Melrose Plantation, where Hunter once served as a cook.
Check Out a Festival
With more than 400 different festivals throughout the year, Louisiana is easily the festival capital of the United States. Many of these cultural events include an arts section, giving artists of all types of backgrounds a platform to showcase their works. This is where Shreveport, located in the northwest corner of the state, really shines. Its annual Red River Revel Festival highlights more than 100 artists who specialize in woodworking, pottery and painting. Local art doesn’t have to stick to traditional mediums though. Shreveport also hosts Prize Fest, a festival devoted entirely to filmmakers, musicians and chefs. The culmination of the festival centers around the 20 filmmakers competing for a $50,000 grand prize. Because the cash prize is partially awarded through viewers’ choice with festivalgoers watching the film slates in designated theaters throughout the city so that they can submit their vote. Other festivals to check out are the Angola Prison Rodeo, the largest maximum security prison in the US. During April and October the inmates put on a no-holds barred rodeo and crafts show. Their artwork includes exquisite and intricate paintings, leatherwork and furniture. Additional festivals to check out would be the Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival and the Bayou Boogaloo, too.
Outside of festivals and museums, some of the best ways to uncover local artists is by exploring Louisiana’s eclectic cities. A road trip through the state will help you find many artists, but some good starting points would include a walk through the Bywater District of New Orleans, where you’ll want to make a special stop by Dr. Bob’s, or mural hopping in Shreveport, where you'll find the tallest mural in the US. Meanwhile, you can retrace naturalist and painter John James Audubon’s footsteps in West Feliciana. The parish served as a temporary home for Audubon as he painted 32 of the 435 images used in his book Birds of America, and some of his works are on display at the Audubon State Historic Site.
Bring Home a Unique Souvenir
The best way to support local artists is perhaps the simplest: buy their work. With galleries and festivals throughout the state, visitors have plenty of opportunities to select a one-of-a-kind souvenir that they can display proudly in their home. Ready to go? We don’t blame you. Start planning your Louisiana vacation today.