Mayors face off in Town Showdown

October 13, 2016

Dillon Nelson

Staff Reporter | djn005@latech.edu

Ruston mayor Ronny Walker and Garnett Robinson work on their winning painting. Photo by Colin Fontenot

Ruston mayor Ronny Walker and Garnett Robinson work on their winning painting. Photo by Colin Fontenot.


As artisans showcased their wares around the Ruston Makers Fair Oct. 8, teams of artists led by mayors from Ruston, Grambling, Vienna, Dubach and Choudrant put paintbrush to canvas and competed in a live paint-off referred to as the Town Showdown.


“Even though this is a competition, the point is to bring together people through art by seeing the artistic process happening live and in person,” said Jessica Slaughter, executive director of the Louisiana Arts Council. “Attendees are allowed to vote on their favorite paintings by donating, and, at the end of the month, we’ll auction off these paintings,”


Landon Sims, a junior biology major, was in attendance to support his sister’s booth and watch the competition. He said he enjoyed the first fair last year and thought the showdown was a smart addition to the festivities.


“I think getting all the mayors to come and have them directly interact and chat with everyone inspires a sense of community,” Sims said. “The painting idea fits right in and gives people something to do when they’re not checking out the booths.”


Each mayor and his hand-picked team of artists took varying approaches and philosophies to their paintings.


Eric Jones, mayor of Grambling, and Jessica Key, a junior art major at Grambling, were there to represent his or her hometown. They said their goal was to emphasize the town motto with their painting.


“Our emblem for Grambling states that we are a great place to live, learn, work and play,” Jones said.


Key said their technique with their painting was to make sure the town motto is complemented by a careful choice of colors.


“We wanted to let the art speak for itself and tried to take the colors that go with Grambling and pair them so as to make them extra vivid and pop,” Key said.


Dubach mayor Bob Jensen’s teammate, Lauren Dixon, said she thought their painting would win if the competition was based solely on originality.


“We think ours is the most unique hands down,” said Dixon, an art teacher at Dubach Elementary School. “We used different mediums like oil pastels, collage and acrylic paint which everyone else only used without anything else.”


Ronny Walker, mayor of Ruston, and his teammate ultimately won with their painting of a bulldog holding a peach. Garnett Robinson, a junior studio art major, said it was their calculated vision which compelled people to donate and help her team win.


“We had the best concept, and we were able to manage our time the best,” Robinson said. “We made sure to go in order, sketching it out, blacking it in and carefully putting the finishing touches on it as time ran out.”


Walker said he saw his team’s painting as emblematic of the strong leadership and teamwork which can be found in his city.


“A good leader knows who to appoint when he needs stuff done, so that’s what I tried to do,” Walker said. “I’m not a polished artist, but I think we assembled a great enough team to make our town shine.”


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