“I’m not so serious,” Adrienne Connelly Adams says, grabbing her telephone purse. Her bright and lighthearted aesthetic is what’s driving her endeavor to engage more people in the process of art collecting. Photo by Jordan Hefler

Adrienne Connelly Adams cultivates art as an experience through the new Studio Annex

Adrienne Connelly Adams’ rainbow nails wrap around a neon pink telephone receiver that’s attached not to the wall but to her purse. If you’re wondering, yes, the old-fashioned phone does work. And yes, the art curator and hair stylist uses it daily.

“There’s a good chance that if you call me, I’m talking to you on this,” she says with a laugh. “I just love fun stuff like this. It makes me smile.”

Dressed in a bright tweed blazer and jeans for our photo shoot in her new event and art space Studio Annex, it’s clear that Adams’ take on business relies heavily on her philosophy for fun. But according to her, that’s what makes it work. 

Since her move back to Baton Rouge earlier this year, she has become part of her mother’s Ann Connelly Fine Art team, working as an extension of the gallery in her new endeavor, Studio Annex. Part physical space and part art curation, the venture places Adams’ playful aesthetic at the center of an effort to get younger audiences engaged in art collecting.

“My aesthetic is different. It’s a little brighter and it has a younger vibe,” she explains. “I want to show people that art collecting doesn’t have to be something that you wait to start until later in life.”

A scroll through the Studio Annex Instagram reveals an array of vibrant and offbeat works from artists like Gino Belassen, Kathleen Lemoine and Demond Matsuo accompanied by captions like #TastefullyExtra and #CollectAuthentic. Adams’ inaugural show in the lofted Annex, which sits—relatively hidden—above Martin’s Wine Cellar in Studio Park, featured the neon light work of Nate Sheaffer, the graffiti art of German artist KEF and the “deep folk art” of Patrick-Earl.

Underneath vaulted ceilings, everything in the Studio Annex space is moveable. “It can be completely curated to get the vibe we want or a client wants,” Adams says. Photo by Jordan Hefler

“It’s hard to put into words, but I love that art, and Studio Annex, can be anything,” Adams says. “Sky’s the limit.”

This limitless outlook is helping to transform the physical Annex space with every event. After teaming up with event planner Leslie Campbell for her own wedding that was hosted in the space, Adams has extended their relationship, naming Campbell the unofficial Studio Annex event coordinator. Given the Annex’s size, it is best suited for intimate events of 50 or less. However, Campbell says the space’s potential is only enhanced by its physical limitations.

“It’s not your traditional venue, and it definitely won’t work for everyone, but that’s what really makes it interesting,” notes Campbell. “Since the space is curated by Adrienne for each specific event, it makes the space different every time and for every client. It’s so unique for Baton Rouge to have something like this.”

Campbell recently helped to host a rehearsal dinner for Thomas Chauvin and Rebecca Louviere in the Annex. Working with Studio Park vendors Gourmet Girls and Red Onion, the night was complete with pastel works by George Marks, a favorite of the couple, which created a romantic backdrop for the special night. “It was such a magical evening,” says the groom’s mother Leslie Chauvin.

But it’s not all wedding related. Bright pink birthday celebrations have also taken place within the Annex walls. And when artist KEF comes into town, not only does the space host live painting demonstrations, but it also acts as a light-filled home base for him.

“You should see it at night,” Adams says, walking out onto the loft’s patio, string lights overhead. “It’s serene but also perfect for a party. And it’s sophisticated but it isn’t pretentious.”

That overall impression is also what Adams aims to bring to the art she curates for clients outside of the walls of the physical Studio Annex. It’s not just about buying and displaying, it’s about the process of finding works that speak to individuals and the joy and fulfillment that can bring.

“Mine is an exploratory approach to art collecting,” she explains. “I want to help people find their taste, help them figure out what they like and why. And that process is such a fun one that can lead to so many different styles and artists.”

She’s brought together gallery walls with everything from taxidermy to a collection of custom and empty frames. She’s even created her own pieces with the help of the Ann Connelly Fine Art team, some of which you’ve likely seen glistening on the walls of Basel’s Market.

“Those are made from images that my mom and I scouted while we were in Paris,” she notes. “We created digital images, mounted them onto panels and covered them in finely ground glass to give the sparkling affect.”

Adams herself is transformed through this pursuit to create exciting and accessible art, and it spills over into all aspects of her life. Even her work as a hair stylist at EGGIE Salon Studio brings with it new inspirations and creative opportunities.

“I love meeting with clients, being in their homes and helping them find what inspires them,” Adams says. “We’re still in the super beginning phases with Studio Annex, but I can’t wait to see where it goes next. It’s exciting.”