While crowds are gathering for FestForAll’s live music lineup, Anita Lejeune will be drawing her own audience.
It’ll happen throughout the day as she stands before a large canvas, painting one of her idyllic south Louisiana swamp scenes.
Lejeune will be among 100 artists and craftsmen either demonstrating or selling their work. This will be Lejeune’s third year to participate in FestForAll.
Though these artists will be creating one-of-a-kind works at the festival, most won’t be maintaining booths.
“It would be difficult for me to paint and maintain a booth at the same time,” Lejeune says. “I’ll just concentrate on my work.
“People walk by and watch as I paint from start to finish,” says Lejeune, who also is one of the Arts Council’s community artists. “There are times when I take a break to talk to them. They usually want to know how long I’ve been painting, and some ask questions about technique.”
There also will be demonstrations in pottery wheel throwing and hand-building techniques at the Southern Pottery Clay Mobile, and chainsaw artist Burt Fleming will take a blank log and turn it into a work of art.
The demonstrators will be answering the same kinds of questions that may be running through festivalgoers’ minds as they peruse artists’ booths along North Boulevard and on the grounds of Louisiana’s Old State Capitol and the Shaw Center for the Arts, the main question being, “How do they do that?”
FestForAll’s diverse field of artisans includes painters, potters, jewelry makers, woodworkers, even stained glass artists.
“And they’ll be coming to FestForAll from throughout the United States,” says Sandy Dokka Parfait, the Arts Council’s projects and technology director. “In addition to Louisiana, artists will be traveling from 15 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.”
And along the way, FestForAll’s 2015 Distinguished Judge Kitty Pheney will be choosing which artists’ work will win the Best of Show award, along with other honors, when the festival draws to a close on Sunday.
The Best of Show winner will receive a cash award of $2,000. Other awards are: Award of Excellence, $1,000; three Awards of Distinction, $500 each; and two Awards of Achievement, $250 each.
Five artists also will receive Awards of Merit, which carry complimentary booths at FestForAll 2016.
Pheney is the director of New Initiatives for the LSU School of Art and has been an arts administrator for 21 years with experience in public art, grant writing, strategic and long range planning and nonprofit administration.
She has served as director for the Louisiana Percent for Art public art program and director of state and local partnerships with the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Pheney began her career in Louisiana as the executive director for the Baton Rouge Gallery where she served for eight years.
Finally, rounding out FestForAll’s visual art activities, will be the Velo des Artes bicycle tour of public art in downtown Baton Rouge and surrounding neighborhoods from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, starting at the Capitol Park Museum, 660 N. Fourth St. at Spanish Town Road. The tour is coordinated by Bike Baton Rouge, and participants can park their bicycles at the Baton Rouge bicycle corral afterward.
“The Arts Council is proud to present FestForAll, a showcase of all the great things that are going on in Baton Rouge,” Parfait says. “Children and adults can experience visual arts, music, and dance in a wonderful festival atmosphere as FestForAll celebrates the creative energy of our great community.”
They can also ask a few questions along the way such as, “How do they do that?”
And Anita Lejeune will be ready with the answer.