45th Annual River Road Show - 2014

A National Juried Exhibition

December 3 - December 29, 2014

Reception - December 12, 5:30-7:30pm

Judged by Morten Solberg

Entry Deadline - September 1, 2014

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Current Theatre Exhibit

Summer Judged Show

July 10 - September 4

Judged by Keith Andry

Reception on August 3

Independence Park Theatre

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Featured Artist

Don Rast - interviewed by Trish Poynot

Don Rast with Mayor Kip Holden

My visit with Don Rast at his home was possibly the most interesting hour-plus that I've ever spent! Don is "versatile," "rather eccentric" and "hyper" to the max, by his own admission, always planning future projects, and probably never having less than a dozen irons-in-the-fire at one time. To Don, life is simply not a spectator-sport, and he jumps right in and does whatever he feels led to do. This has resulted in several varied careers, some of which are: art, writing, 18-wheeler truck driving, roofing, and a six-year military career, where he always sketched, painted and wrote prolifically. During his time in the military, Don painted military posters, wrote regulations for the Army, as well as many other duties, and began entering art contests and doing exhibits. He still has a sketchbook of his drawings and watercolors from 1969-70 in Vietnam. In 1972, Don won an art contest and was chosen to exhibit at the National Gallery, and then in the Pentagon in Washington DC.

Paintings by Don Rast

Don doesn't remember a time when he wasn't creating art. He is basically self-taught, although through his V.A. Benefits, his tuition was paid to study under Larry Casso at Baton Rouge Academy of Fine Art in recent years. Whatever else Don does, he paints and writes every day for at least a couple hours, either under his carport or in his study/studio. He never gets writer's block, having "shopping lists" of projects and topics lined up to do, and always working on several paintings at any one time. He paints because he loves it, not to make money; he advises aspiring artists not to paint to get rich, but rather, because they're doing what they love to do! Don must have sold or given away upwards from 2-3,000 paintings, and has an estimated 1,000-plus presently in his home, which has the feel of an art gallery/warehouse. He is presently getting ready for more than one art show, and currently has work hanging at several venues: The Baton Rouge Gallery, the Mayor's Office, Old Hammond Library-to name a few.

South Louisiana Tidal Backwater Fishing Camp, Don Rast

Besides his passion for art, Don is the author of three books (Don's Nam, Ghosts in the Wire and Bayou Samurai) currently available for viewing on Amazon.com and other major book sites. His fourth book is in the works. He is also an extremely productive gardener, having tilled and planted a large portion of his back yard, and also having a multitude of vegetables growing in large containers; also a pear tree, a lemon tree, and a luscious Concord grape vine. It seems Don's thumbs are very "green," and that's not just from green paint!

Waiting For His Return, Don Rast

Don also shared that he has an abiding interest in Asian cultures from his military and Bureau of Customs years. He has a house and land in the Philippines where he has a goat farm, the goats producing milk that is then sold to the locals. His time in the Orient has influenced much of his painting. The styles of Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh have also been very influential in Don's painting style, which he terms as "abstract expressionism." His initial style back in the sixties was realism.

When I asked Don what was his worst painting nightmare, he answered that his worst nightmare is PTSD acquired during his military service. It requires him to get a once-a-month "happy shot," which helps to keep him on track and on an even keel. He says that he is most proud of the fact that he is 70 years old and still has his passion to paint and write and just be creative. He is also proud and happy to have witnessed children actually dancing in front of his artwork! Perhaps this is what Don hopes others "get" from his art: that it makes them happy enough to dance!

Upcoming Events

Summer Judged Show Reception

August 3

Independence Park Theatre

Picture Day

August 17

Studio in the Park

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Roberta Loflin Watercolor 911 Workshop

August 21, 9:30-noon

Studio in the Park

Life Drawing Sessions

Every Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Fee: $10.00 per night / $30.00 per month

Studio in the Park, 2490 Silverest Ave., BR

Sessions are open studio, no instruction provided.

Artists are invited to draw or paint a live model in different poses for various durations.

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Life Drawing

Basic Drawing Classes

Steve Shamburger

Last three Mondays of every month, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Fee: $60.00 members / $75.00 nonmembers

Classes held at the Studio in the Park, 2490 Silverest Ave., BR

To register contact Steve Shamburger at or 225-751-1049

Class Info

Sphere Cone Cube, Steve Shamburger

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