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First Wednesday at BRG


The future of local art steps out of the classroom and into the gallery with BRG's annual 'REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE' Juried High School Exhibition



This past April, Baton Rouge Gallery once again opened its doors inside BREC’s historic City Park for its annual REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Juried High School Exhibition. This year's exhibition - sponsored by Cordell & Ava Haymon - treated visitors to works of original art from East Baton Rouge public and private high school students.

Every year this exhibition highlights the work of East Baton Rouge Parish’s high school students; not only sharing their talents with their community, but encouraging and inspiring them to continue pursuing their artistic talents by exhibiting their work in a professional gallery setting. The exhibition also draws attention to the importance of arts education, celebrating both its positive effects on the youths of our community and the efforts of the educators that challenge their students.

"At a young age, most teenagers seem to think they can't make a difference in the world; these teenagers are completely wrong. For young adults like myself who struggled with self-image during high school, being able to just participate, not even win, was a huge accomplishment in my book. Being in this show was definitely a start to the rest of my art career, and a new beginning on how I perceived myself and my work."

- Morgan Dupre, 2012 R.L.E. First Place Winner

During the exhibition's 'First Wednesday' Opening Reception, over $1,000 in prizes were awarded to these stand-out artists featured in the exhibition:

Jurors Christopher Brumfield and Rob Carpenter pose with some of our 2017 honoreesBest in Show: Margaret Ellis (Baton Rouge Magnet High)

Second Place: Ireland Coates (The Dunham School)

Third Place: Lauren Diaz (Christian Life Academy)

Honorable Mentions: Kurtis O'Brien (Zachary High), Seth Miller (Runnels), Delaney Dufrene (University Lab School), Abigail Jahnke (Baton Rouge Magnet High), J Dornier (Lee High), and Zachary St. Amant (Baton Rouge Magnet High)

A new addition to BRG's REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE in 2015 saw acclaimed professional artists visit the classroom to directly interact with area students and provide insight into what life is truly like for visual artists. Classroom visits, which were and are being offered at no cost to students, instructors or schools, take place during the exhibition's run and beyond, offering students the chance to hear directly from artists about what inspired them to pursue their path, how they achieved their goals and what challenges they should expect. This invaluable opportunity is something rarely offered to high school students and hopefully provides real, practical information for our area's youth who are interested in a life in the arts.

In addition, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge continued their partnership with BRG, offering The Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship award to a selected student finalist from The REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE Juried High School Exhibition. The Scholarship Fund continues Dufour’s legacy by providing assistance for exceptional students to attend private classes with recognized professional artists in the Greater Baton Rouge area.  Potential scholarship recipients were selected from the exhibition and were exclusively made eligible to apply for the scholarship. The eight semi-finalists for The Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship were announced during the April reception.

BRG artist member Michaelene Walsh visits with students at Baton Rouge Magnet HighThe 2017 exhibition was on display at BRG, April 4 - 27, 2017. 

Every year, hundreds of works of original art are submitted for possible inclusion in this competitive exhibition. In keeping with the spirit of the exhibition’s title, this truly is a “real-life experience” in that not every student who submits work is included in the exhibition. As professional artists find every time they seek to participate in a juried exhibition, life as a visual artist is highly competitive.

For this exhibition, a panel of three jurors is assembled to select the works to be included in the show and the prize-winning works via a completely blind jurying process. None of the jurors are aware of the artist’s name, grade level, school or teacher prior to the selection of any work, thus allowing them to select pieces for the show based solely on their artistic merits.

For more information on this exhibition, contact Baton Rouge Gallery at 225.383.1470.