Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tama Nathan on Norsworthy, Wallace, Brown, Connell, Borne, Reed, Gautier, Parker, et al

Tama & Ira Nathan
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Says multi-media artist Tama Nathan: "I became involved with the Loft via Gwen Norsworthy, as I had just started going to the Barnwell Center studio. Gwen and I shared a studio at the Loft, tho' neither of us did our work there.

I recall that first Open House when Gwen introduced me to the "art community". I especially remember Betty Wallace from down the hall. She was doing wonderful macrame pieces, and greeted me with open arms. Nevelyn Brown showed me how she organized her workspace. Clyde Connell gave me a warm welcome and talked about her newest pieces.

Berk Borne and his dear wife were the Loft's official "host and hostess," as I recall, for those marvelous, exciting Sundays. Berk and Lucille also tended the verdant plant life in the front room.

There I later met Lucille Reed, Lynn Gautier and Janet Parker. They were all awesome talents who became close friends. I didn't participate in the Loft's Judy Chicago weekend (ed: the group paid for a visit by the reknowned artist so as to deepen their insights into women and success in art), which influenced many of the local artists, especially Clyde. I remain under the spell of my undergrad mentors.

One of my highlighted Loft memories is the first poetry reading by David Love Lewis; we were all so delighted to be an audience for this sensitive soul. It was followed by other readings and became the core of a poetry writers' group.

Another highlight was the first Women's Week collaboration. The theme was auto-biography. As guests we had Henry Price and the young black man who later created the S'port logo. We had a great discussion re the theme and Women's Week. On that Sunday we exhibited our work specific to the theme, and had conversations led by each artist about each work. It was very cathartic.

Tho' I no longer kept a studio space there, I was on their Board of Directors.

The next year, we did a window on Texas St. that became a cause celebre and the first front page news coverage the art community had.

I recall a hot, hot day's visit and seeing Deborah Howard (painter and art prof at LSUS) working hard in her studio, stripped down to her slip. I think I have some photos taken during one of the yummy Lasagna lunches for some visiting art VIP. We set up long tables in the front room for those lunches.

After Willie Middlebrook's residency, the Loft participated in the one Open Studio event we've had. It was a delightful day of meeting and greeting visitors. It was orchestrated by Kathryn Usher.

I had a show of my "books" in the central gallery room and a few of my paintings, but don't recall the date.

As the Pyramid Group, Nevelyn Brown, Lucille Reed and I had a studio, starting in 1995. We usually met there for discussions and to store the equipment and supplies for our collaborative public art works.

That small front area had walls covered with art show announcements and news clippings. The layer of posted items had to be at least an inch thick by the close of At-the-Loft.

The latest and saddest was the day Lucille had her studio sale. She was selling her wonderful works at flea market prices. Her husband, George, was there as Lucille couldn't make it up the stairs."


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