Excursion Weekend to present varied fine arts

When art does not come to you, you must go to it. This is the thought process of many from neighboring cities and even far away ones such as Chicago in relation to Hammond’s first P.3+ Excursion Weekend from Jan. 9-11.

“This is an excellent opportunity to have a day trip or weekend long excursion to Hammond to see many great art exhibits, live music, theatrical performances and our must-see world class installation of Giants in the City,” said Mike Kilgore, executive director of the Hammond Regional Arts Center. “It has brought together local, regional, national and international artists, including those participating in Giants in the City, to Hammond.”

The P.3+ showcases regional art is an attachment to Prospect 3, a contemporary art biennial in New Orleans. The HRAC is hosting an excursion weekend where art lovers can take a bus from New Orleans, carpool from other nearby cities and ride the train from Chicago, Memphis or Jackson.

“As part of this excursion, we have invited artists from all the major destinations on the train route through Hammond to represent their communities for Prospect 3,” said Kilgore. “This includes Acre TV from Chicago, Lester Merriweather and Kenneth Alexander from Memphis and Josh Hailey from Jackson. This provides us the opportunity to partner with our counterpart organizations in those cities so that they may help us promote the rail excursion to their audience members.”

At least 30 people are expected to arrive via train, 50 via bus and many more via various carpools from Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Mobile and more.

Rail travelers will be greeted by the Hammond Chamber of Commerce upon arrival and receive a special track-side reception. Bus excursion participants and independent travelers will receive a welcome reception at the HRAC.

The weekend begins with the First Friday Art Walk on Jan. 9 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The art walk will include a recycled fashion show, art exhibit and Tribal Happenings Belly Dancers. Live music, local dining and a live body painting demonstrations, sideshow and art will be provided at The People’s Art Pop Up Gallery.

The welcoming reception at the HRAC will take place Saturday, Jan. 10. Attendees will be able to see all of the exhibits, along with a second line parade as part of Feast of Flowers, performances and finally Giants in the City, a traveling exhibit of giant inflatable art sculptures created by international artists.

Giants in the City will be located outdoors of Hammond Eastside Apartments all weekend long. The inflatables are capable of reaching over 45 feet high.

“Giants in the City incorporates giant inflatable art sculptures within the city in public spaces, to propound the importance of art in the existing urban landscape and to celebrate the possibilities offered by this giant format, giving to the community and to the general public a contemporary visual art experience as never seen before,” said Kilgore.

The weekend will end for those who purchased the P.3+ package deal with a brunch at Tope Là Catering Sunday. The package will include a two night stay with continental breakfast, shuttle service to downtown, special closing reception at Hampton Inn and a Sunday brunch at Tope Là Catering before departing. Cost for a single person is $324 and $444 for a couple. Another available discount for P.3+ is 20 percent off the Amtrak.

Aside from cost of travel and room, all of the weekend exhibits are free and open to the public. To learn more about the excursion weekend, view hammondarts.org.