BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The 8th annual Art Melt hosted by Forum 35 was held this weekend. Even though there was a little rain to start off the day, that didn’t dampen the good times.
An estimated 4,500 people attended the main attraction on Saturday, July 16. From performance art, to live music and tasty food, there was a little something for everyone, even a few surprises.
"Some fire throwers and we have a graffiti wall so you'll be actually able to paint with our artists this year," Scott Higgins, Chairman for the 2011 Art Melt, said.
The first Art Melt was held 8 years ago. Local artist and juror for this year’s competition, Kelli Scott Kelley, was also a juror for the first event. She says the event now is a far cry from the original event.
"It was held in kind of a make-shift warehouse building," Kelley recalled with a smile.
The main focus has always been the juried art competition. Each year more and more artists from across the state take on the challenge, hoping to be accepted.
"I think it's fabulous,” Muffin Bernstein, a New Orleans-based artist selected in the 2011 competition, said when asked why she chose to enter. “So every year I try to apply."
An exclusive group of 63 artists were chosen to hang on the wall space at the Louisiana State Museum this year, but only one could take home the top prize.
"I'm ready to fall over, but I'm exhilarated," Maggie McConnel, a Covington-based artist who took home the grand prize, said with joy.
The Art Melt is the first competition McConnel ever entered, which is exactly what the show is all about.
"We have all the way from the professional artists with huge resumes; all the way down to the person who did one piece their entire life and they're in Art Melt," Higgins concluded.
By the close of the event on Saturday, 15 painting were sold, which is a great boost for the local community. The exhibit will remain on display at the Louisiana State Museum through August 27.