Dig Baton Rouge

Merci beaucoup, Kickstarter

By: Tara Bennett


Say “bonjour” to a new French exhibit at the LSU Museum of Art.

After a 60-day Kickstarter campaign, the LSU:MOA’s crowd sourced campaign raised enough money to bring a collection of works named “Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne” to the museum in 2015. In total, 125 backers donated $15,371 toward the campaign, reaching the museum’s $15,000 goal before the campaign ended on January 13. LSU:MOA Curator Dr. Katie Pfohl said she was overwhelmed by the support the community has shown for the museum.

“We’re so grateful to everyone in the community that stepped up to help and really made this possible for us,” said Pfohl. “Our first Kickstarter, we started off with a goal of $2,000, and for the second one we upped it dramatically to $15,000, and to be honest weren’t sure if we could get there. It’s really wonderful as a curator and as someone who works for the museum to see such strong community support for the exhibitions we’re doing and the museum in general.”

The raised funds will go toward bringing “Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880-1910” to Baton Rouge. The exhibit is an extensive collection of works capturing the epicenter of French art and culture at the turn of the century, or what’s referred to as “La Belle Epoque.” Currently, Baton Rouge is the only city to host the exhibit in Louisiana, a state famous for its French heritage.

“It’s a whole variety of objects,” said Pfohl. “It’s pretty exciting. Something of this caliber and scale has never been brought to Baton Rouge before.”

The exhibit features more than 185 works, including paintings, watercolors, drawings, lithographs, and posters, as well as cabaret puppets, programs and archival and ephemera materials from Parisian theaters, circuses, and concerts. According to the LSU:MOA Kickstarter, this groundbreaking exhibition features the art of famed French painter, printmaker and illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec alongside that of other vanguard 19th century French artists who helped shape a fresh vision of art and life in the City of Light.

“It’s a story of the city of Paris and how art came in to help inspire and animate the place,” said Pfohl. “That time in Paris was a time of incredible transformation in the arts.”

This is the second Kickstarter success for LSU:MOA. Last year the museum achieved $2,000 for the “Love Local Art” fundraiser, which allowed the museum to secure funding for Silas Breaux’s “Dwelling” installation. The “Toulouse” campaign reached an even higher monetary goal, and Pfohl was touched by the wide range of people who donated.

“The success of something like this really relies on word-of-mouth and people going out into the community and telling people about the project,” said Pfohl. “We’re so grateful to everyone that came together to help make this exhibition happen for Baton Rouge.”

“Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880-1910” will be on display at LSU:MOA from Sept. 5-Nov. 15.


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