Tracy Hebert’s painting “Joie de Vivre” is featured in this year's show.

On Exhibit: ‘River Road Show’ at the Louisiana State Archives

On August 3, the Art Guild of Louisiana opens its 53rd annual River Road Show at the Louisiana State Archives Gallery. 

“This year is particularly special to us because this is the Guild’s 70th anniversary,” says Leah Schwartzman, chair of the River Road Show. “As far as we know, we’re the oldest Louisiana organization for artists.”

Just the like Art Guild, the River Road Show traces roots to the mid-20th century. For years, the Mississippi River Parkway Commission held an annual art competition as part of its national convention. The featured works were selected by arts organizations based in the 10 states bordering the Mississippi River as well as two Canadian provinces. 

By the 1970s, the Art Guild was the only state organization that continued the tradition. It soon rebranded the exhibition as the River Road Art Show, A National Juried Exhibition.

“River Road is our premier event of the year, and it is open nationally to anybody who wants to enter two-dimensional art,” Schwartzman says. “We always try to get a judge of national or international acclaim who lives out of state.”

This year, the Art Guild received approximately 300 entries from 98 artists across the country. 

Kansas artist Kim Casebeer judged the works, which were created in everything from pastels, colored pencil, oil and acrylics to watercolor, egg tempera paint and multi-media collage.

One of only 65 pieces accepted into exhibit, Port Allen artist Tracy Hebert’s “Joie de Vivre” is displayed in this year’s show. Since she joined the Art Guild in 2019, Hebert’s work has been featured in the show multiple times.

“It’s a great honor to have a piece accepted into this national show,” she explains. “Only the top 10 to 15% of the submitted works get in, so it lets you know where you stand as an artist among your peers.”

Based on the response from past years, Schwartzman expects the exhibit’s pedigree and talent to impress the area’s art afficionados. 

“People I’ve invited to previous shows have been just blown away by variety of artists represented and the quality of work,” says Hebert.

The River Road Show will remain on exhibit until September 25. The gallery is free and open to the public on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend the reception, which takes place on August 31 from 5 to 7 p.m.