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Art Rocks | Season 11

Robert Dafford | Art Rocks!

Meet renowned artist, Robert Dafford, who has painted a collection of murals at Louisiana State University that span three floors of the College of Art & Design. The murals honor architect Julian T. White, the first African American professor at LSU. Dafford is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, and has been designing and painting primarily outdoor works professionally since 1970. He is one the most prolific and successful muralists in America, with over 350 large scale public works completed throughout the U.S., as well as France, Belgium, England, and Canada. Plus, see stories about artists from around the country.

Inventing Acadia: Painting and Place in Louisiana | Art Rocks!

Louisiana is a natural wonder with ethereal waterways, primeval forests, and an abundance of flora and fauna. The exhibition Inventing Acadia: Painting and Place in Louisiana at the New Orleans Museum of Art lets us see Louisiana through the eyes of the first European and South American settlers, who arrived more than 300 years ago. Curator Katie Pfohl guides us through the earliest paintings of Louisiana.

Kyle Snellenberger | Art Rocks!

Meet Monroe woodworker, Kyle Snellenberger, who repurposes fallen trees and reclaimed timber to create one-of-a-kind and coveted custom tables. Plus: The Hunts are siblings in Virginia who are wooing audiences with their signature vocals, and New Mexico photographer, Philip Augustine pushes the boundaries of the photographic process.

Therese Knowles | Art Rocks

Baton Rouge, Louisiana ceramicist and painter, Therese Knowles, found inspiration in the beauty of New Orleans cemetery art. Her grandfather was a stone cutter there and created many of the angels that adorn the tombs. This greatly influenced Therese's work, and today, whether she's working in clay or on canvas, her art exhibits reflective expressions of life, and people's connections to one another, which she conveys through imagery, form, and words

Sherry Tamburo | Art Rocks

Sherry Tamburo of Shreveport, Louisiana has mastered the art of turning wool into garments via experimental processes akin to alchemy that she describes as magical.

Whooping Crane Exhibit | Art Rocks!

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has teamed up with artists across Louisiana to shine a spotlight on the endangered whooping crane. With plans to create additional artistic opportunities, future exhibitions will highlight other endangered species, coastal erosion, and more environmental issues in order to educate and inspire. Plus: a window cartoonist in Reno, Nevada; intricate Asian pottery in Groveport, Ohio; and a Lake Tahoe, California company constructing instruments out of reclaimed materials.

Demond Matsuo | Art Rocks!

Meet Louisiana artist, Demond Matsuo, who is inspired by the artistry of Asian Geishas and their elaborate wardrobes. Influenced by ancient mythology, he is also known for his amazing depictions of adorned stags. Plus: American composer, Michael Torke, incorporates jazz into an unforgettable soundscape for ten pianos, and Colorado's Creede Repertory Theatre, founded over 50 years ago, encourages economic growth in what was once a mining town.

Lil' Jimmy Reed | Art Rocks!

In his late eighties, Lil' Jimmy Reed remains an international Blues star, playing gigs across Europe and traveling to festivals throughout the United States.

Afton Villa | Art Rocks!

In rural West Feliciana Parish, the founders of Afton Villa sought the help of a French landscape designer to create a garden of lasting beauty. Over 150 years later and thanks to committed caretakers, this Louisiana treasure continues to be preserved and enhanced to the delight of lovers of elegant outdoor spaces. Plus: ice sculptures in upstate New York; a tour of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City, including its 1885 flagship made of iron; and nostalgic hand-painted signs in Reno, Nevada.

African American Portrait Gallery | Art Rocks!

Alexandria, Louisiana artist and retired educator, Morris Taft Thomas, has joined forces with area artists and the Rapides Parish Library to introduce young people to giants in Central Louisiana's African American history. At Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch Library, they've assembled a portrait gallery that showcases the achievements of some of the city's most accomplished native sons and daughters. PLUS: Glass sculpture honoring outstanding literary achievement by Cleveland, Ohio's Earl James, and the exhibition, Distinctly Paramount: Fashion and Costume from the Paramount Pictures Archive.

Amber Voorhies | Art Rocks!

This week on Art Rocks!, meet Central Louisiana artist, Amber Voorhies, who is just as skilled at the painter's easel as she is at the potter's wheel. Her paintings and ceramic vessels equally and impressively capture nature's elemental forces. Using clay from the region, Voorhies also teaches pottery at the River Oaks Square Arts Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. PLUS: the Sierra Nevada Ballet performs The Last Unicorn; Ohio painter, Marilyn Shaker; and glass bead mosaic art from Nevada's Sabrina Frey.

Art Rocks | Kenneth Baskin

Meet Lake Charles, Louisiana ceramicist and McNeese State University Professor of Art, Kenneth Baskin. Baskin devotes his work to exploring the dynamic interplay of mechanized processes using clay sculpture to express concepts including balance, stability, tension, and ease. Plus: Seventy years of philanthropy delivers a distinguished concert series in America's Dairyland; Nevada highways celebrate their surrounding landscapes thanks to a collaborative of artists, architects, and designers; and Ohio artist, Brenden Spivey creates canvases that are full of life. 

Art Rocks! - Episode 820

This week on Art Rocks!, meet New Orleans glassblower, James Vella, whose realistic glass fish and delicate orchids demonstrate the striking versatility of glass as a medium. Plus: We visit American Realism painter Amy Sherald of Baltimore, whose artwork graces the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and we see the American Indian beadwork of Colorado artist Chela Lujan.

Art Rocks | Sue Zimmerman

This week on Art Rocks!, we meet Lake Charles watercolorist, Sue Zimmermann, who paints what she refers to as, 'glimpses of beauty,' pleasing patterns and textures in nature and the built environments of her native hometown. Plus: Burned wood printmaking in Reno, Nevada; relationships between sound, art, and architecture in Miami, Florida; and unique and creative tattooing in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Art Rocks | Bill Iles

Meet Lake Charles painter, Bill Iles, who was raised on a 135-year-old homestead in nearby Dry Creek and was inspired by long walks through the woodlands around his hometown. His forest scenes are painted from memory and have great visual impact with their small - almost pointillist - brushstrokes, saturated color palette, and graphic aesthetic. Plus: wearable art inspired by nature from fiber artist Inna Schoeler and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Art Rocks | Ed Smith

Meet painter Ed Smith, whose passionate environmentalism is expressed in the gorgeous and color-saturated birds he paints, teeming multitudes huddled together in improbable profusion. Plus: The 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland; pottery at Dearborn, Michigan's Liberty Craftworks; the murals of Conrad Albrizio; and a pioneering chocolatier in Houston, Texas.

Art Rocks | Mary Monk

We meet Mary Monk of Abita Springs, Louisiana, a prolific plein air painter whose palette includes pastels. No matter the subject, mood and light are always the true focus of her paintings. Her choices of color and subject matter are influenced by growing up in the city and moving to the country to raise her family. Monk captures the many moods of Louisiana's lush landscapes, all painted out of doors with her tableau before her. Plus: Artistic expression as a source of refuge for those navigating health challenges; the surviving sketchbooks of Michelangelo; and a look at Japanese animation before the digital era.

Art Rocks | Michaelene “Mikey” Walsh

Meet ceramicist and Louisiana State University Associate Professor of Art, Michaelene “Mikey” Walsh. Her work has been exhibited nationally, and can be found in public spaces in Louisiana, including Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. Mikey’s imagery of relatable objects, such as birds, ice cream or gift bows, take on something unique and more poetic through their creation in clay, drawing people in and allowing them to experience these forms in a new way. Plus: Lauren Semivan of Michigan creates new work with a vintage camera, Minnesota dancer Joanie Smith interprets poetry through performance, and art fans are shown the creative process in Cleveland, Ohio.

Russell Whiting | Art Rocks | Episode 1006

A conversation with self-taught Louisiana sculptor, Russell Whiting. His body of work encompasses multiple subjects, from the animal kingdom to mythological figures, and from real to the imagined. Whiting shares his characters and creative process with us. Plus: Music and Monet at the Denver Art Museum; creative expression in Nevada; and a visit to the Cleveland Ballet.

Art Rocks | Judi Betts

Tune in for a conversation with Baton Rouge, Louisiana artist, Judi Betts, whose watercolor work features charming scenes painted in vibrant colors with luminous light. Her award-winning work, spanning sixty years, is now the subject of a major career retrospective at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge, on view through Sunday, January 7, 2024.

Art Rocks | Craig Routh

A visit with Denham Springs, Louisiana artist, Craig Routh, who celebrates the unique culture and landscapes of Louisiana in detailed and festive watercolor illustrations that capture everything there is to love about the Bayou State. Plus: The lasting impact of the production, Hello Hollywood Hello!, in Reno, Nevada; the popular Seven Solos exhibition at the Cornell Art Museum in Delray Beach, Florida; and the legacy of great American sculptor, Daniel Chester French, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Art Rocks | Floyd Sonnier

We remember artist Floyd Sonnier, who created intricate pen and ink drawings depicting rural life in Acadiana. His illustrations live on in many homes and businesses, and on his online gallery where Sonnier’s widow continues to share his work. Plus: The Los Angeles Unified School District puts instruments in the hands of students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn music, and the story of Saint Peter United Methodist Church in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.

Art Rocks | Alexandria's River Oaks Arts Center

The city of Alexandria, Louisiana developed 23,000 square feet of space for artists to create and sell their work. We'll tour the River Oaks Square Arts Center and learn more about how it came to be. Plus: PBS filmmaker Barbara Hall talks about the challenges of documenting the musical career of Patsy Cline; fashion designer Christian Michael Schuster shows us how his fascination with military apparel has inspired his designs; and we take you on a fascinating tour of the Louisiana Art & Science Museum in Baton Rouge.

Art Rocks | C.C. Lockwood & Rhea Gary's Marsh Mission

Photographer C.C. Lockwood and painter Rhea Gary teamed up on a ‘Marsh Mission’ to spread awareness of and an appreciation for Louisiana's gulf coast. Plus: A contemporary painter uses irony and allegory in his work; musician Antsy McClain combines folk, country, and rock and roll styles in his original tunes; and we visit the Loveland Sculpture Invitational in Colorado, and Mile Branch Settlement, where you'll find authentic log cabins of the pioneer settlers in Washington Parish.

Art Rocks | Paul R. Jones Collection

Explore the Paul R. Jones Collection, groundbreaking masterworks by African American artists on exhibition at the Louisiana State University Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on loan from the University of Alabama. Museum Curator, Michelle Schulte, speaks with us about Paul Jones, who began establishing his collection during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and ‘30s.

Ginger Kelly | Art Rocks!

Glass artist, Ginger Kelly, began her career as a glass blower working amidst the vibrant glass working scene in Seattle, Washington. But a relocation to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana in the mid-2000s gave her new inspiration to create colorful combinations of blown, fused, and flame-worked glass. We visit her studio where she shares some of her techniques with us.

Wendy Rodrigue Magnus | Art Rocks!

Wendy Rodrigue Magnus was married to iconic Louisiana artist, George Rodrigue, until his passing in 2013. She continues to preserve Rodrigue’s creative legacy by introducing students to his art and explaining the unique portrayal of Louisiana culture that the artist, creator of the famous blue dog, brought to life. Plus: Dance instructor and choreographer, Dominic Moore-Dunson explores African American identity in Cleveland, Ohio; the band, Billy the Squid and the Sea Cow Drifters, blends musical genres in Key West, Florida; and muralist Gary Wong of Norfolk, Virginia is inspired by trains, trolleys, travelers.

Heather Ryan Kelley | Art Rocks!

Meet Lake Charles artist Heather Ryan Kelley, who is inspired by the literary works of James Joyce, and has developed a vocabulary of symbolic images within her paintings. Plus: The Repertory Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah; a treasure trove of Dutch and Flemish paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts; and ceramicist Ruth Rippon of Sacramento, California.

Heritage Choir | Art Rocks!

Hear the story of Baton Rouge-based choral ensemble, Heritage, including their opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall. Heritage Choir Director, Clarence Jones, has studied, performed and taught music for almost six decades. He shares his insights on why spirituals have long been a source of solace and inspiration within the Black church and tells us how Heritage Choir came to be.

Art of the State Capitol | Art Rocks!

Many may know that Louisiana’s State Capitol is the tallest state capitol building in the nation. Less well-known is that its façades might also be the most embellished. Louisiana’s story is thoughtfully told through sculpture, reliefs, and other adornments thanks to former Governor Huey P. Long and a large cast of dedicated artists and architects who created the striking work. Independent Curator, Elizabeth Chubbuck Weinstein, takes viewers on a tour. Plus: a four-day progressive art opening in homes along Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s intracoastal waterway, and Cuban caricaturist and publisher Conrado Walter Massaguer, an artist who helped shape the visual culture of his homeland.

Jacqueline Bishop | Art Rocks!

Highly regarded landscape painter, Jacqueline Bishop of New Orleans, Louisiana creates symbolism-rich paintings that express her concern that natural habitats are yielding to the pressures of human activity. Bishop shares the connections she strives to make between her art and viewers, and the land, air, and water upon which we depend. Plus: The Glass Studio in Sparks, Nevada; cartoonist Mike Peters of Dayton, Ohio; handbell ensemble, Tintabulations of Reno, Nevada; and Shreveport, Louisiana’s historic Antioch Baptist Church.

Janet and Carl Ahrens | Art Rocks!

We meet Alexandria, Louisiana artists Janet and Carl Ahrens, whose passion for creation fills their home. Working in a great diversity of genres and mediums, the couple works with wood, concrete, and clay, to make thought-provoking art that resonates with viewers. Plus: legendary Iranian sculptor, painter, scholar and art collector, Parviz Tanavoli, and artist Catalina Delgado-Trunk of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who explores myths, rituals, and traditions from pre-Colombian Mexico through the medium of cut paper.

Sheleen Jones | Art Rocks!

Louisiana sculptor and educator, Sheleen Jones, creates large-scale works of art that grace public spaces. Her new installation, Heritage, is a monument honoring Black military service members, and was recently unveiled at Veterans Memorial Park next to the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Jones shares how intricate details and symbolic elements are a hallmark of her sculptures, and why she loves working in bronze. Plus: The Harlem Quartet’s mission to teach musical skills and techniques to high school students across the country, and Key Largo, Florida is home to underwater photographer, Stephen Frink, who creates captivating images of aquatic life beneath the sea.

The 60th Anniversary of the Baton Rouge Swim-In | Art Rocks!

Baton Rouge Gallery marked the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights effort to integrate the City Park swimming pool by paying tribute to the people involved. This historic event took place on the very property upon which the gallery stands. Nationally-recognized curator, Jonell Logan, and Gallery President/CEO, Jason Andreasen, share how art helps make the inequities that prompted the swim-in easier to discuss. Plus: Ballet in Reno, Nevada; an artful hot-air balloon adrift over Massachusetts, and the art of barbershop owners in Clearwater, Florida.

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