Fine and Functional sells local artwork for gift-giving season


Symiah Dorsey/The Lion's Roar

The Hammond Regional Arts Center hosted its annual Fine & Functional event to support local artists and allow visitors to purchase handmade gifts for the holiday season.

As the holiday season began, people sought out to buy original, handmade gifts.

The Hammond Regional Arts Center, located downtown, continued its holiday traditions by hosting its annual Fine and Functional show. The opening exhibition took place on Nov. 15 starting at 5 p.m. This event allowed artists in Tangipahoa Parish to sell and display original artwork and gave locals the opportunity to begin their Christmas shopping.

Along with a variety of artwork, visitors enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and live music from singer J. Rees. 

Tara Bennett, media coordinator at HRAC, explained what distinguishes the artwork in Fine and Functional from other gift ideas. 

“It’s something that you’re not going to find in every single store,” said Bennett. “It’s very unique, it’s handmade and it’s made with care, and the art can also be functional.” 

Bennett emphasized the significance of support local artists and their work. 

“I think it really brings the community together,” expressed Bennett. “It gives them something to do in their own town. It keeps everything local, and you really need that type of thriving community. When you’re supporting local art, it’s going into the pockets of someone you might know or something that you might work with in the future.”

Sharon Sledge, a local artist and retired art teacher in Tangipahoa Parish, has participated in the Fine and Functional event since it began.

Sledge described how people know when they have picked the right piece of artwork.

“It’s usually one of a kind,” said Sharon. “You pick the artwork to suit the person, so when you know the person and you find the artwork, it’s a good match.”

During the event, a university student displayed her “Reclamation Dreamscape” exhibition in the center’s Mezzanine art gallery.

Abigail Coleman, a senior art major, shared why she decided to exhibit her work during this year’s Fine and Functional.

“I wanted to present my artwork here because it’s a brand new emerging space in the Mezzanine gallery,” shared Coleman. “I thought it was an excellent opportunity for someone like me who’s about to come out of art school.”

Coleman discussed how people can benefit from observing the art.

“For me, if you see any of the things in here and see that someone put time and effort into creating this image, you can experience first hand that it enriches your life too,” expressed Coleman. “It’s important to experience somebody else’s experience.”

The Fine and Functional exhibition will continue through Dec. 20.