A Day in the Life of the Arts 2022

From left, photos by Sean Gasser, Sean Gasser and Jordan Hefler.

It might have seemed like a sleepy Saturday for some, but for the arts community of Baton Rouge, this date was full of possibilities and performances from dawn until long past dusk. For the fourth year in a row, inRegister sent a team of talented photographers out to explore and reveal exactly what our community’s cultural ambassadors are up to on any given day. From whisper-quiet brush strokes to blaring trumpets, we found each of them making a joyful noise. 


Photos by Collin Richie

The Baton Rouge Arts Market comes to life at the intersection of Fifth and Main streets downtown. On the first Saturday of every month, local artists like Antoine Mitchell, shown here putting the finishing touches on a sign for the booth featuring his “Sankofa’s Eymbrace” comic book series, assemble to showcase their creations to early risers. Sprouting up alongside this arts extravaganza is the Red Stick Farmers Market, a producers-only market that includes vendors from around the region.


Photos by Collin Richie

Walls Project team members and volunteers aim to make our world a better place all year long, so it’s fitting that we caught them repainting a massive globe on this Saturday morning. Morgan Udoh, Walls Project program coordinator for public art and placemaking, spearheaded the project and had help from a handful of young volunteers, including her own toddler daughter Edima. The rotating globe is owned by EMR Recycling and used as a centerpiece at local community events like Earth Day. “Scotlandville Community Development Corporation was gracious enough to partner with us as a location for its storage during the painting process,” says Udoh, “which also allowed us the opportunity to engage the Banks neighborhood and larger Scotlandville community in its restoration.”


Photo by Sean Gasser

Piety goes pop in the hands of Jacob Zumo, whose colorful “Mother Mary” series of paintings gives a nod to Andy Warhol and Hunt Slonem. Zumo, who studied at the Sacred Art School in Florence, Italy, opened his own gallery on Interline Avenue in late 2021. The second-story space makes the most of its high ceilings with suspended crosses and dangling rosaries above walls filled with his vibrant paintings and even furniture upholstered in his sacred art prints. A former elite basketball player, Zumo created the Pete Maravich mural on Government Street as well the larger-than-life praying hands that first provided a message of positivity on a wall of the GymFit facility during the early pandemic. “Over the last few years, I’ve made it a point to step out of my comfort zone not only in my personal spiritual life but also my career,” Zumo wrote on Instagram last November as he prepared to open the gallery. “God is good.”


Photo by Collin Richie

Curator Beth Welch puts the finishing touches on the “Art Flow” exhibition in the sun-filled Shell Gallery at the Cary Saurage Community Arts Center on St. Ferdinand Street. The new arts center officially opened in January and includes a black box theater, visual artist studios, a recording studio and other culture-centric spaces in addition to this prominent first-floor gallery. Ritter Maher Architects was responsible for the transformation of this former government building, including adding a glass-walled extension at the tip of the “triangle” that now serves as a focal point of the 727-square-foot gallery and a lens onto the city beyond. “Art Flow” will be on display here as well as at the Capitol Park Museum and the Gallery at Manship Theatre through April 10, culminating with the announcement of artist winners at the Ebb & Flow Festival downtown.


Photo by Collin Richie

Baton Rouge native Kaitlyn Stockwell (left) has acted on stages as far away as Seoul, South Korea, but now she shares her talent in her hometown as a school theater teacher as well as an instructor for Theatre Baton Rouge, where on this day she teaches improvisation techniques to 12-year-old Nathan D’Gerolamo and teens Roy Culotta and Reagan Daigle. This class involves improv games and exercises that explore listening, imagination and the use of the full body. Theatre Baton Rouge now gears up for its summer camps for kids and adults alike, on topics ranging from musical theater production to comedy.


Photo by Sean Gasser

Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre company member Kate Harris, Youth Ballet member Lauraelis Williams, Dancers’ Workshop student Mariana Scott and Youth Ballet member Eliza Bodin get a little “tangled” as they take part in a rehearsal for the ballet company’s production of Rapunzel. Choreographed by Rebecca Acosta and Jonna Cox, the happily-ever-after ballet drew audiences to the renovated River Center Theatre on March 26 and 27. It was Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s final mainstage production of the season. On the heels of those performances, BRBT hosts its “Pointe & Click” online auction April 1-10; access it via batonrougeballet.org. 


Photo by Jordan Hefler

Her degree may be in engineering and her day job in corporate marketing and account management, but Anna Pereira of Anna B Calligraphy is just as comfortable in the creative realm, hand-lettering and watercoloring miniature works of art for her clients. The two aren’t so far apart, she says. “Building letters in calligraphy is a methodical process using basic strokes, so my analytical brain is always searching for ways to improve consistency and style,” she notes on her website, through which she offers her services to brides, entertainers and corporate clients alike. “This beautiful, meditative symmetry is what drew my engineering mind in to learning calligraphy.”


Photo by Sean Gasser

The Cook Hotel on LSU’s campus is transformed into a movie set as student producer Brendan Pyron (center) oversees the production of the psychological drama 783 Bowman Avenue. “The movie follows four different groups of individuals as they enter a hotel by choice or happenstance,” Pyron says. “That evening, they all become witnesses to and victims of a shooting, except for one—the murderer who entered the hotel with them.” This film, directed by Jenika Kolacz, is part of LSU’s Geaux Film program, through which the filmmakers were awarded a grant of $3,000 to fund its creation.


Photo by Jordan Hefler

The plaza at the Main Library at Goodwood is rockin’ as the Lafayette-based zydeco band RJ & Kreole Smoove gets the kickoff party for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s “One Book, One Community” program started on a high note. This year’s “One Book, One Community” selection is Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp by Gwen Roland. The initiative continues this month with an author talk by Roland at the Main Library on April 23, and the book itself is available to borrow at local library branches as well as through the OverDrive app.


Photo by Sean Gasser

Jimmy Nguyen, chef and co-owner of Umami Japanese Bistro, puts the finishing touches on his Toro sashimi featuring bluefin fatty tuna, Tamari sauce, caviar, Japanese golden eye snapper and yuzu paste. This dish is often featured on the restaurant’s Omakase menu—otherwise known as the “In chef, we trust” tasting experience. Umami’s menu is centered around creative and modern twists on sushi and Japanese cuisine, with dishes ranging from spiky sea urchin to vibrant green tea crepe cake.


Photo by Jordan Hefler

Grammy-nominated blues legend Marcia Ball is in the spotlight as she plays to a packed house from the Manship Theatre stage. Though she hails from the small southwest Louisiana town of Vinton and attended LSU, this is a rare chance to hear and see the singer, songwriter and pianist in the Capital City. Ball’s 50-year career has taken her from the clubs of Austin in the early 1970s to performing at the White House and appearing in films and TV series, and she will be part of this year’s Jazz Fest lineup May 5. This Manship show is presented by Red Dragon Productions—an arm of the same entity that brings unique musical talents from around the country to a much more intimate venue, the nonprofit and residential Red Dragon Listening Room on Florida Street. 


Photo by Jordan Hefler

It’s time to laugh as Los Angeles-based touring comedian Dave Waite takes the stage at Hartley/Vey Studio Theatre at Manship Theatre. Waite, a self-described “charismatic oddball” who has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Last Comic Standing, is the first performer in the venue’s new Stand Up Comedy Series. Hartley/Vey—billed as a “cultural laboratory” for emerging artists—will next host the blues/funk/soul band Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears on May 6, guitarist and songwriter Tommy Prine on May 14, and a standing-room-only show with Southern rock band Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ on July 8.


Photo by Sean Gasser

Our day comes to a triumphant close at the finale concert of the LSU Trumpet Festival. This show is the culmination of a two-day event that drew world-renowned trumpet and jazz artists for masterclasses and public performances both on the university campus and at First United Methodist Church. For this, the final tune of the finale concert, a group of some 20 trumpet artists and faculty members lines the front of the stage at the LSU Union Theatre. Now that’s music to our ears!