Bogalusa Daily News
Bogalusa artist preparing painting for Obama


Alvin Carter
Nationally recognized Bogalusa artist Alvin Carter works on a piece he will
present to President Barack Obama on 'Juneteenth,' June 19, in Washington D.C.
Carter will have an Open House, exhibit and registration for his summer art
classes Saturday at his studio, just off Columbia Street on E. 4th Street.
DAILY NEWS PHOTO/Marcelle Hanemann


Bogalusa Daily News
By Marcelle Hanemann     May 8, 2009



(Bogalusa, LA) - Nationally recognized Bogalusa artist Alvin Carter has been busy the past few months with a collapsed lung and a studio move. But that almost pales in comparison to what he’s up to now.

The dreadlocked man who has regularly expressed his heritage and his community through his unique, distinctive and very colorful paintings and murals, is now working on a piece for President Barack Obama. And anybody who wants to check his progress can visit the studio, at 509 E. 4th St., just off Columbia Street, during an open house Saturday, May 9 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Open House will also include an exhibit of Carter’s other work, plus registration for his WEDA (We Da Artist) summer art classes for youth. Nationally recognized Bogalusa artist Alvin Carter works on a piece he will present to President Barack Obama on ‘Juneteenth,’ June 19, in Washington D.C. Carter will have an Open House, exhibit and registration for his summer art classes Saturday at his studio, just off Columbia Street on E. 4th Street. DAILY NEWS PHOTO/Marcelle Hanemann

But back to Obama. Carter has long been associated with the celebration of Juneteenth, and the movement to make it a national holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the last slaves were finally freed in Texas.

Thirty states, including Louisiana and Illinois, have since declared Juneteenth a state holiday. And as a U.S. senator from Illinois, Obama co-sponsored legislation to take it nationwide.

This year, President Obama is scheduled to take part in the Juneteenth festivities in Washington D.C., and as the “national Juneteenth artist,” Carter was chosen to render and then present a piece called “The President Barack Obama Trail.”

The work is approximately three feet long and about half-way done.

It depicts the historic path of African-Americans, from slavery to the White House.

On one end, a shackled foot first steps on American soil and the pointed spike of slavery. Events and people, both black and white, who impacted the cause of freedom, are pictured. The profile of Obama, framed by the White House, looks back through time.

“I’ve been preparing all my life to do this one painting,” said Carter. “I’m excited. I don’t know where it might end up.”

The artist said he plans to finish the piece in the next couple of weeks so he can have prints made and available by Juneteenth. He said he’s humbled by the significance.

“I’m honored to have been chosen to create this masterpiece of art work,” said Carter. “I invite everyone to come and view this potentially history-making painting.”

Visitors will also get to see at least a piece of what could be dubbed “the Carter trail,” including works with local social significance painted across decades. And they can sign their children up for summer classes with the artist.

“Unfortunately, there are no grants at this time to help jump-start the program,” said Carter. “This is why parents and guardians must step up and help me provide a place for talented youths to learn and develop their God-given talents.”

The $50 fee includes all materials and art supplies. The classes will meet three days a week, from 10 a.m. through noon, for six weeks this summer, and will culminate with an outdoor Art Festival.

Classes will be limited, and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are all familiar with the African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” said Carter. “However, if you don’t have art, there is no village. Your entire life, history and culture are within the arts-music, visual arts, dance, food, spiritual and drama.

“As a nationally recognized artist, I can inspire and encourage our talented youth, but it’s up to the parents and guardians to support them in their efforts.”

For additional information, call Carter at 750-8126.

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