Dig Baton Rouge

Home for the Arts

By Tara Bennett

Through the efforts of a young photography student, art will always have a home in Baton Rouge as LSU School of Art photography student Patrick Melon hosts his third pop up art exhibition artHASAHOME.

The event started back in July 2013, after Melon returned from a trip to Chicago where he attended a pop-up art show at a friend’s apartment. Melon decided to replicate the event in Louisiana.

“We got together, emptied out my apartment and we invited artists and anyone who wanted to participate,” said Melon. “I was expecting maybe 50 or so people show up, but it ended up turning into like a block party. The entire apartment was packed, the entire backyard was packed, and people were all up and down the corner of the street.”

Through a combination of social media and word-of-mouth, news of the event spread.

“With the first two, the only avenues that we used to promote for the show was Instagram,” said Melon. “Like I literally posted about it on Instagram, and that was the only way, and it spread by word of mouth from there on.”

The second artHASAHOME gallery popped up at the Bible Bookstore, located on Government Street in Mid City. The empty retail space turned into a public art party, filled with balloons, hula hoops hung from the ceiling with live art demonstrations and music.

This time artHASAHOME will pop up on Friday, Sept 12 from 1-8 p.m. in The Healthcare Gallery, which is a functioning doctor’s office.

“Dr. Leone Elliot is a firm believer in the connection between art and the healing process,” said Melon. “Once you go into his office, it’s not like a standard doctor’s office where there’s a waiting room and you have to feel out paperwork and everything. It’s literally an art gallery inside with very contemporary arrangements. The space already facilitates an artsy feel to it.”

Along with the art displayed, the entertainment will be expanding. According to Melon, this event will be considered as an art festival in order to highlight different forms of art, including poetry and music. Throughout the day, there will be games, a bounce castle, live music from a local band and DJ, and involvement with Elevator Projects, who will donate a few items from their ARTcade event.

“I think that’s a great thing [Elevator Projects is] doing to create this connection between these artist collectives that are popping up in Baton Rouge right now,” said Melon.

The concept behind artHASAHOME is to expose people to art in an environment or location where it would be least expected, thus bringing art to the people.

“I believe it’s very important because there’s a lack of diversity in forms of entertainment,” said Melon. “Particularly in areas down South, we’re usually kind of the last ones to get wind of the new thing that’s going on, and I just feel there are things that people would enjoy that they just don’t know about.”

Another reason Melon feels this event is important is to engage the African American and Latino communities into the art world after discovering the low numbers of minorities visiting art museums.

“I think one of the biggest validations from the show so far was when I had two black guys come up to me on different occasions, and first thanked me, then told me this was the first art exhibit they ever went to,” said Melon. “We’re really reaching a demographic that isn’t being pulled into art museums. If anything, I feel that this could be the beginning of a cultural revolution down here in southern Louisiana by exposing more people that wouldn’t normally visit museums and see what we create here and then take that step to walking into an art museum and see what else is being created out there.”

Melon intends to make this a yearly event, but is looking for more sponsors willing to donate event space, raffle prizes, food and beverages, prize money and more.

“All we ask is people to email us at arthasahome@gmail.com,” said Melon. “I want people to understand this is a community thing. This is really about giving these people a chance to be heard. This is an art show for the people who don’t have to worry about fitting in. Everyone is welcome.”

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