Natitoches, LA (KMSS) — The Cane River National Heritage Area and the City of Natchitoches will hold a press conference to reveal the concept for Bead Town Natchitoches, a 48-foot mural that will commemorate the city’s 2014 tricentennial. The press conference will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 24 at Northwestern State University’s Orville Hanchey Gallery with Bead Town artist Stephan Wanger and local officials placing the first beads on the mural. NSU’s School of Creating and Performing Art/Department of Fine + Graphic Art is the official host to Bead Town Natchitoches activities and the Natchitoches Legacy Art Project, a trust fund initiative to benefit education for future generations.
Wanger, a German artist who has been living in New Orleans for several years, creates art pieces that represent Louisiana and its cultural traditions using discarded Mardi Gras beads. The large Natchitoches piece will be his longest mural to date. The mosaic will be unveiled in November and will be showcased in Hanchey Gallery, the project’s home base and workshop headquarters, during the annual Christmas Gala in December.
“It’s so very exciting to have this incredible opportunity to work together as a community on this project,” said Leslie Gregory Gruesbeck, gallery director and assistant professor or art. “Northwestern and CAPA are pleased to partner with our friends and neighbors in Natchitoches and around our state to make art together today and help create a lasting educational opportunity for our children tomorrow.”
Last month Wanger began hosting workshops for children and adults Tuesday through Fridays in Hanchey Gallery. Workshops are free and open to all volunteers, including groups, who would like to participate in creating the Natchitoches mural. Private and/or corporate workshops are also available. To participate in a workshop, call the Natchitoches Main Street office at (318) 352-2746.
Wanger began working with bead art after Hurricane Katrina. Bead Town murals pay tribute to Louisiana history, character and geography and raise awareness of using upcycled materials in fine art. His work has appeared in several Main Street communities in Louisiana, and can be seen locally at Hanchey Gallery, the Natchitoches Main Street Office and at businesses throughout Natchitoches.
Samples of Wanger’s work can be viewed at galeriaalegria.com and at Bead Town Natchitoches on Facebook. His work is also the subject of a documentary currently being filmed by Cataclysm Pictures.