Art lecture series to feature unique topics

Enticing and enlightening stories about the world of art come together each semester for the “Let’s Talk Art” series. 

The series ranges from lectures on art-related topics such as the recent “The Theft of the Mona Lisa” to art technique and history. The Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Hammond Regional Arts Center and Friends of Sims Library are sponsoring the series. 

For the first time, the spring series will be a combination of both “Let’s Talk Art” and the HRAC’s past art lecture lunch series. Instead of having a couple of art lectures, there will be six this semester. The spring series began in February and will end in June.

“If we can get more people coming, get people interested and excited, then we are doing our job,” said Eric Johnson, director of Sims Memorial Library. “That was the intent of our program: to incite interest. The biggest thing is exposure to different aspects of art, whether art history or techniques of art. It’s interesting to hear what an artist has to say about his or her work. It’s fun to hear the side stories like ‘The Theft of the Mona Lisa.’”

The series started about five years ago with the help of Johnson, Dr. Irene Nero of the Fine and Performing Arts department and Dr. Amy Morris of the Art department.

 “We like doing it because we think art is very important in one’s life and the appreciation for art increases and expands one’s life,” said Johnson. “Because a lot of schools aren’t teaching art anymore, many don’t have an appreciation. So we’re trying to bring a little of that in. For me, it was something that always enhanced my life, an enjoyment that I could easily have access to.”

Johnson spoke on “The Theft of the Mona Lisa” in February, with nearly 50 attendees. Artist Blake Boyd followed him with “Katrina Zombies.” The following lecture, “Establishing a Parallel Practice” by photography instructor Leah Floyd, will take place March 25 in the Contemporary Art Gallery at 5 p.m.

Senior art history major Dillon Raborn will speak on “Max Ernst’s Collage Novels: The Alchemical Reassemblage of a New World Mythology” on April 29 at 5 p.m. Johnson offered praise for Raborn’s abilities as a lecturer.

“He’s very intelligent. I would say he’s brilliant,” said Johnson. “He throws himself into the work, and he’s fascinating. He’s a really good lecturer.”

May 13 will be the “Hammond Art Guild Panel Discussion” moderated by Roland Guidry, and photographer Phillip Colwart will finish up the series June 10 with “Mardi Gras Subcultures.”

“I encourage people to come out to the arts center or to the Contemporary Art Gallery and experience it. If you’ve never been to an art museum, then come to a lecture. See if you like the art, see if we peek your interest and go down to New Orleans. Go to the art museum there,” said Johnson. “I say to everybody, immerse yourself in art because it brings so much joy and pleasure, and it’s such a wonderful experience. “

Johnson feels art broadens one’s mind, above all.

“[Art] makes you think,” said Johnson. “People need to look at art and ask, ‘What does that mean to me? How does that affect me? Do I like it? Do I dislike it? Why?’ We have so much handed to us, and I’d hate to see people lose their imagination. No matter what it is, it’s going to bring something new to your life.”

For further details, contact Johnson at 985-549-3962 or visit hammondarts.org/lectures.