On exhibit: Kinetics at Baton Rouge Gallery

Anita Cooke, "Fire on the Horizon," 16 x 20 inches, acrylic-painted canvas, thread (left) and David Horton, “Jacob’s Ladder,” 36 x 36 inches, oil on canvas (right).

Perusing art in a gallery or museum is usually a pretty quiet endeavor. Not so on the evening of Baton Rouge Gallery’s annual Kinetics art auction, when the pursuit of the perfect piece of art can turn into quite a lively affair.

The 55-year-old gallery tucked within BREC’s City Park has long welcomed locals to its monthly art shows, but for Kinetics, that crowd is clamoring for a piece of their own to take home—all in support of the nonprofit’s mission.

Typically an in-person event, this year’s virtual version will take place on November 19, but not before the more than 30 new and original works are viewable in person at the gallery beginning November 1. Paintings, photographs, textiles and encaustic work will all be part of the array. After seeing the options for themselves—ranging from Anita Cooke’s “Fire on the Horizon” textile piece to Jacqueline Dee Parker’s “She’ll Till Until” collage—art lovers can register to bid during the hour-long online auction, where each piece will open at $100. 

“This is our one annual fundraiser, the night that makes the rest of the year possible,” says Jason Andreasen, the gallery’s president and CEO. “Every piece in the auction is from a Baton Rouge Gallery artist member, in almost any media you can think of, and with options every bit as diverse as the members themselves.”

The gallery and local collectors aren’t the only ones who benefit. Participating artists will also earn a percentage of each winning bid, meaning that each purchase directly supports the work of artists like David Horton, who created his painting “Jacob’s Ladder” during the pandemic as a way to address the political and emotional turmoil that evolved in COVID-19’s wake. Rife with color and symbolism, the piece stands as only one example of the high-concept, of-the-moment art typically celebrated within the walls of the gallery—and soon, in someone’s personal collection. 

“I think in many cases, people tend to feel intimidated or nervous when they walk into a museum or gallery space,” says Andreasen, “but we view the gallery as a community resource. We’re free and open to the public six days a week so that we can be accessible and welcoming to people who come to see new works from local and regional artists. You don’t need to have an art history degree to enjoy art. And that’s something that Kinetics makes possible.”