_artscape_ artist lori gomez honors military in new ‘freedom’ show _ ______nola. com

Artist Lori Gomez created the mixed media piece “Beaded Eagle” using recycled Mardi Gras beads. It will be displayed along with other artworks honoring the military in “Freedom.” The exhibition opens Nov. 11 from 7 to 9 p. m. at the Slidell Cultural Center. Courtesy of Lori Gomez

But the spark had been ignited long before when family friend Gina Guillory’s son, Marine Sgt. Michael Guillory, was killed in action in Afghanistan in December 2012. He was the first person laid to rest in the Southeast

Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Slidell.

“When he passed away I started thinking about how I could do it because it’s not my normal thing to paint,” Gomez said. “When we had the experience at the Veteran’s Festival, I called Gina that day and told her ‘I’m doing a show’.”

Fulfilling that decision became quite a challenge for the energetic artist, who tends to paint vibrantly-colored artwork that she calls “a celebration of Louisiana.”

She had to accurately depict the intricate details of military equipment and had a limited color palette.

“Everything is beige or green. It was difficult,” Gomez said.

She used photographs from local veterans Troy Brackett, Dan Crowley and Darren Darby as inspiration for most of the stirring paintings. Some capture soldiers remembering their comrades, fulfilling their duties, and taking time to pause in the midst of their assignments.

She infused blues and reds through the images of American flags, the sea and sky and Marine marching bands.

Gomez restored and painted this 1960s piano to include images from World War II. It is the third piano project she done. Sarah Bonnette

The show’s signature piece is a 1960s piano Gomez restored and painted with images from WWII. The front is covered with a waving American flag and a depiction of the Marines who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. The sides feature iconic war images, while the back is covered with snapshots of famous veterans and others who served, including Gomez’s father-in-law.

The back of Gomez’s “WWII Piano” features an image of her father-in-law, Glynn Gomez, left. The artist also painted the medals he was awarded during his service in the war. Sarah Bonnette

“I was shocked at some of the (famous) people that served. … That was a time when actors took pride in our country, and they actually took time out to go serve and come back,” Gomez said.

Friend Barney Floyd helped restore the WWII piano to working order. Floyd also assisted Gomez on two previous piano projects: one colorfully painted with Louisiana musicians and the Beatles-themed piano signed by Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It brought in nearly $99,000 for ESTHFH’s Veterans Build program during an online auction earlier this year.

The opening reception for “Freedom” will feature a performance by Floyd, as well as members of the National World War II Museum’s Victory Belles.

Another highlight of the night will be the chance to see the nearly 100 digital images of military members displayed on one wall in the gallery. Veterans who attend the reception also will be honored.

Three military-focused groups — Bring It Home Northshore, Slidell Ladies for Liberty and the Daughters of the American Revolution – will split donations collected during the exhibition.

With the “Freedom” artwork completed, Gomez now will focus her pursuits on painting more images of musicians and creating miniature versions of the painted pianos for which she has become known. Each is a music box and features a different theme. There are future plans to produce a cookbook combining her love of cooking and her Louisiana artwork.

She also will continue her efforts leading Camellia City Arts Advocates. The civic group developed the idea for Slidell’s first three-day music and arts festival, Festival Bonfouca.

That event will take place March 18 to 20 at Heritage Park and is being produced by the Mothership Foundation, a non-profit whose flagship program is the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo.

“I think people don’t realize how much income the cultural arts, whether it’s restaurants or it’s festivals or artists or musicians, brings to our city. That’s really the whole reason for me wanting to do the festival,” Gomez said.

“Freedom” will be on display until Dec. 19 at the Cultural Center, 2055 Second St., Slidell. Gallery hours are Wednesdays to Fridays 12 to 4 p. m. Admission is free.

For more information, visit myslidell. com. For more information on Gomez, visit www. lorigomezart. com.

On the Horizon

Artist Bernard Mattox is offering private and semi-private (two individuals) classes on the potter’s wheel. The hour-and-a-half long classes are open to any skill level. Mattox has 37 years of experience teaching graduate and undergraduate students at Tulane University and children at his former STAA Mudbug sessions. The cost is $90 for private sessions or $50 per person for semi-private lessons. A minimum of eight classes is suggested. Tools, clay, glazes and firing will be offered at cost, and hand-building techniques are offered upon request. For more information, call 985.796.4114.

There’s another opportunity for kids to get creative: Brushworks Academy of Art has opened at 330 Falconer Drive, Covington. It offers painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture classes for ages 4 to 17, as well as private parties and camps. For more information, call 985.868.0580 or visit brushworksacademy. com.

Tickets for Ballet Apetrei’s 27

th annual performance of the “The Nutcracker” are on sale at Pineapple Gallery, 829 Asbury Drive, Mandeville. Store hours are 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. The performances will take place Dec. 4 at 7 p. m. and Dec. 5 at 2 and 7 p. m. at Mandeville High School. For more information, visit facebook. com/balletapetrei.

The St. Tammany Photographic Society will meet Nov. 12 from 7 to 9 p. m. at the Art House, 320 N. Columbia St., Covington. The group is open to all interested professional and amateur photographers and meets on a regular basis to engage in activities intended to enhance creativity and technical skills and to promote the understanding of photography as an art. For more information, visit www. stphotosociety. org.

The Olde Towne Slidell Main Street program presents “Through the Years” Nov. 13 from 11:30 a. m. to 1:30 p. m., with a presentation at noon, at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2065 Second St. The event will take guests back in time as the city celebrates its 127

th birthday. There will be period-decorated tables, food from time-worn recipes, music from 14 decades, a vintage fashion show, a holiday gift showcase and the chance to vote on the site for a Main St. Improvement Grant. Tickets are $35 per person or $400 for a reserved table, and are available at the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, 1808 Front St., Slidell. For more information, visit oldetowneslidellmainstreet. org.

Maison Blues presents Brisket and Broadway’s production of “Gutenberg! The Musical!” Nov. 13 and 14 at the music venue, 2144 First St., Slidell. Doors open at 6:30 p. m.; the all-you-can-eat dinner is at 7p. m.; the show begins at 8 p. m. David Jacobs and Rickie Luke portray 20 different characters in a musical farce about Johann Gutenberg. Tickets are $48 per person. Reservations required and can be made at 985.645.9131.

The Necessary Gentlemen will perform Nov. 14 at 1 p. m. at Marsolan’s Feed and Seed Store, 316 E. Gibson St., Covington. Admission is free.

Cancel your other plans so you don’t miss this event! The Three Rivers Art Festival takes place Nov. 14 and 15 from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. along Columbia Street in Covington. The cultural event features 200 artists’ booths, children’s activities, live music, artist demonstrations and a food area. Admission is free. Pets are not allowed. For more information, visit threeriversartfestival. com.

Art House Boston will hold an open house during Three Rivers Art Festival Nov. 14 and 15 from 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. at their studio, 832 E. Boston St., Suite 5 (in Boston Commons), Covington. Resident artists Virginia Barach, Melissa “Missy” Bean, Cissy Carville, Jacqueline Guillot, Kris Muntan, and Cynthia Webb will be on hand working on current projects and showing off recently completed pieces of fine art. For more information, visit arthousebostonstreet. com.

The St. Tammany Art Association will launch its annual members’ exhibition “Put Your Best Ft² Forward” Nov. 14 during the Three Rivers Art Festival. The exhibition continues until Dec. 5. For more information, visit sttammanyartassociation. org.

The Louisiana Watercolor Society presents its “Fall Juried Member Show” Nov. 14 to Dec. 28 at The Atrium Gallery at Christwood, 100 Christwood Blvd., Covington. The exhibition will open with a reception Nov. 14 from 4:30 to 6:30 p. m. and will honor long-time St. Tammany artist Claire Rohrbough, who celebrated her 100

th birthday this year. For more information, visit louisianawatercolorsociety. org.

Enjoy art and entertainment when SALADINO Gallery celebrates its grand opening Nov. 14 from 6 to 9 p. m. at the gallery, 409 E. Boston St., Covington. For more information, visit facebook. com/SALADINOgallery/.

Armbruster Artworks will hold its 2015 Fine Art Show Nov. 14 from 6 to 9 p. m. at Old Rail Brewing Co., 639 Girod St., Mandeville. More than 30 artists who have been students of painter and art teacher Gretchen Armbruster will have their work for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Red Cross. For more information, visit armbrusterartworks. com.

The Rolland Golden Gallery will hold a special opening in honor of the Three Rivers Art Festival Nov. 14 from 6 to 9 at 325 E. Lockwood St. For more information, call 985.888.6588 or email rollandgolden@aol. com.

Don’t miss a performance of “The Soldier’s Story” during Christ Episcopal Church’s Third Sunday concert series Nov. 15 at 5 p. m. at the church, 120 S. New Hampshire St., Covington. “The Soldier’s Story” is an original musical drama with dance written by Terry Mahady and Robert Jahncke based on Igor Stravinsky’s original work. Admission is free; doors open at 4:30 p. m. A reception will follow the one-hour concert.

The Life Drawing group will meet Nov. 17 from 6:30 to 9 p. m. at STAA’s Art House, 320 N. Columbia St., Covington. Bring your own drawing utensils and paper/newsprint or whatever you wish to draw on. All levels of experience welcome. Adults only; under 18 with parent permission There is no instructor. Cost is $20 for STAA members and $25 for non-members. It includes rental facility, life model, wine and cheese. For information, call Bill Badon at 504.812.0973 or e-mail lthrart@hotmail. com.

The Lacombe Art Guild will hold its next member meeting Nov. 17 at the Lacombe VFW, 28000 Main St., Lacombe. The meeting will start at 6:30 p. m. with an eat-and-greet, followed by the meeting at 7 p. m. For more information, visit www. lacombeartguild. com.

Enjoy wine, live music and artwork at Artists’ Galleries de Juneau’s Third Thursday reception Nov. 19 from 5 to 7 p. m. at 2143 First St., Slidell. For more information, visit juneaugallery. com.

Tickets are on sale now for East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity’s 8

th annual “Home is Where the Art Is” gala Nov. 20 from 7:30 to 11:30 p. m. at the Northshore Harbor Center, 100 Harbor Blvd., Slidell. The annual event will feature food, music and numerous pieces of art available through silent auctions. Tickets are $50 per person or $75 per couple and may be purchased by calling the ESTHFH office at 985.639.0656.

STAA has announced the dates for its holiday art camps at the Art House, 320 N. Columbia St., Covington. The Thanksgiving Art Camp for ages 6 to 12 will take place Nov. 23, 24 and 25 from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. Cost is $120 for members and $140 for non-members. The Winter Holiday Art Camp for ages 6 to 12 will take place Dec. 21 and 22 or Dec. 28 and 29 from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. Cost is $80 for members and $95 for non-members. For more information or to register, email education@sttammanyartassociation. org or call 985.892.8650.

Tickets are on sale for Christ Church’s fun new event, Jazz in January, which will take place Jan. 22 to 24, 2016. The weekend will feature music by Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Greta Matassa, Clipper Anderson, Philip Hall, Matt Lemmler’s New Orleans Jazz Revival Band, and The Gospel Divas with Barbara Johnson Tucker, Hedreich Nichols, April Hubert and Joan Hubert. There will be ticketed concerts on Friday and Saturday evening, with two Jazz Masses on Sunday morning. For more information, visit biddingforgood. com/auction/auctionhome. action? vhost=CCCovington

Sarah Bonnette is a freelance writer on Louisiana arts and culture. She may be contacted at sgbonnette@gmail. com.

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