Thursday, December 21, 2006

Losing a pair of curators: Munkith Al-Najjar of SciPort and Rebecca Hudsmith of Bistineau Gallery

Bistineau Gallery owner Rebecca Hudsmith with Laurie Lyons, Henry Walker
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Shreveport is losing 2 classy curators this month. One is the frontman for Sciport, Munkith Al Najjar. The second withdrawal is Rebecca Hudsmith, founder of Bistineau Gallery, 327 Market St.

SciPort CEO Al Najjar will leave the science education center March 30 to head the Children's Museum of Tampa, wrote the Times' Alex Kent on Dec 14.

Najjar joined Sci-Port in January 1998. His announcement comes 25 days after Sci-Port opened its 25,000 square foot, $11.6 million space center.

Sci-Port board member and past chairman Alvin Childs is leading a search committee. They hope to have Najjar's replacement picked and in place when Najjar leaves Sci-Port at the end of March, if at all possible. "We've designed a world-class facility, and we will find new, world-class leadership," Childs said.

Hudsmith, federal defender based in Lafayette, wrote last week, "You haven't heard from me because I'm spending more and more time in Lafayette and less in Shreveport. In fact, I've decided to close down Bistineau Gallery and am in the process of selling my house in Shreveport and consolidating everything in Lafayette. I will still visit Shreveport on a monthly basis to visit my office there and to visit family. I hope to attend arts related functions whenever I am there so that I can keep in touch with you and other friends in the area."

Hudsmith founded Bistineau Gallery in 2004 in the streetside corner of Arodasi Dance Center. She made a major contribution to Shreveport artists and collectors by showing artists from South Louisiana. Once a year she gave local artists an exhibit (example: Feminine Perspectives, with Terry Hershey & 4 other female painters) and the receptions were usually mobbed.

But by presenting Melissa Bonin, New Iberia, Lafayette artists Tom Ladousa and Diane Pecnik, among many, she brought new ideas and high standards to North Louisiana.

Like Al Najjar, she knew how to present artifacts. Her 12 X 12 gallery seemed powerful and even huge when it was crammed with art and viewers.

She was inspired by painter-sculptor Clyde Connell, a woman who lived on Lake Bistineau and made an international mark in the art world.

While Al Najjar leaves behind a big-time facility and a search committee, there is no money to be made in running an art gallery.
Nor is there likely to be an outcry from artists or art collectors, saying "Someone please bring us paintings and sculpture from hairy people in Lafayette, Baton Rouge & New Orleans." Or, "When will someone, for crying out loud, bring art from Austin, Little Rock and Tyler to Shreveport?"

Hudsmith was happy to give up European vacations to put aside the money it took to pay the expenses at Bistineau, she once told me. Art is her poison of choice.

Surely the regional community can identify someone drunk on art and deep of pocket to encourage to take her place.

1 comment:

Noma said...

327 Market now houses Gallery in the space formerly held by Bistineau. Rebecca created a lovely space there and it will continue to be utilized.