May 21, 2024


Buzz The Music

Melrose to host 48th yearly Arts and Crafts Festival beneath new director Leah Dunn Witman

Nathan Wilson | Reporter
As government director of historic Melrose Plantation, Leah Dunn Witman is making ready to host the annual Arts and Crafts Competition April 23-24.
Witman has two priorities in brain. Her mission is preserving the legacy of Melrose as an historic internet site, though her aim is to restore it as the middle of a creative group. “The long term system for Melrose is to get additional membership, have additional community involvement, host much more applications and to get people back out (listed here) to hold the memory of Melrose alive,” she said.
With a lot more than two decades of occasion scheduling expertise, Witman is no stranger to organizing celebrations. “We hope to host far more events and bigger events at Melrose.” Her very first time internet hosting the Arts and Crafts Competition claims to be nicely attended “We have about 80 vendors now, so we’re energized.” she suggests.

This short article published in the April 21, 2022, print version

Witman initially studied theater and spent decades as a performer for the Walt Disney Entire world topic park where she acted in performs and highlighted in advertising pursuits. Now she is applying her performative knowledge to the history of Melrose. She hopes enhancing the presentation of Melrose’s story will illustrate spectacular elements, “so people can attempt to relate to the tale more, that is the place the theater practical experience will come in,” she claims.

As Witman sees it, community involvement is key. “We know there is a will need for extra community atmosphere,” she suggests. “We want to be able to give whatever we can to the group.” She sees the Arts and Crafts Festival as an possibility for volunteers to take part and explore Melrose at the identical time, “If they want to be on the listing they can simply call me or e mail me at 318-663-0143 and the electronic mail is [email protected].” Afterward, she’s searching ahead to a selection of things to do together with taking part in bridal shows, web hosting activities and arranging getaway capabilities.

Leah Dunn Witman discusses removal of a honey bee hive with beekeeper Tim Haley.

One particular of Witman’s objectives is to rebuild Melrose’s ties to the artwork neighborhood. “We’re heading to be internet hosting distinct artists on the property just what Melrose is recognised for.” She describes Melrose’s partnership with NSU to offer their learners a gallery room for the duration of the competition. “The artwork department at Northwestern (are) heading to have some learners in the barn,” she suggests. They won’t be handling cattle or amassing eggs while. “They’ll be promoting their artwork,” she clarifies.

Witman in character for a theater performance

Yet another of Witman’s plans is to collaborate with educators to develop curriculum for just about every grade. “We’re hoping to partner with area lecturers in the central Louisiana region to produce curriculum,” she claims. “When they get to Melrose they’ll have a tiny little bit of the history facts for what they are studying about that day.” She believes relating the tale of Melrose to broader historical subject areas would also carry extra family members. “Because I homeschool my youngsters, I know that would be this kind of a special obtain,” she states.

Witman is searching forward to boosting Melrose’s profile in the community. “People in city are going to start out listening to about us a whole lot more again,” she says. “We’re heading to be on everyone’s radar.”

Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival April 23 – 24
The 48th annual Melrose Arts and Crafts Competition is scheduled for April 23 -24 according to Vicki Parrish, president of the Affiliation for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), sponsor of the event.
This once-a-year outside event will attribute far more than 80 sellers providing hand-built merchandise, lots of of which are one particular-of-a-kind. Amid the objects accessible will be primary artwork, gourmand tea and jellies, hand-created jewellery, garments, candles, pottery, wreaths, toys, woodworking solutions, wrought iron artwork and other arts and crafts.
Guided excursions of the plantation home, the “Big Home,” and African Property will be out there. A lot of renowned writers and artists frequented and lived at the plantation. Almost certainly the finest identified resident of Melrose was Clementine Hunter, who arrived to the plantation as a subject hand and taught herself to paint applying paints and brushes discarded by an artist at Melrose. The restored Clementine Hunter murals are on exhibit in their authentic property on the 2nd flooring of the African Household. Hunter’s paintings have obtained national and worldwide notoriety, and some of her is effective dangle in the Louvre in Paris. She is a person of the most acknowledged primitive artists in Louisiana historical past.
The competition is sponsored by APHN and each year attracts additional than 2,000 people all through the two-working day occasion. The Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival will open up at 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-12. Tickets for tours of the Huge Residence are $5.
Extra data about Historic Melrose and the annual Arts and Crafts Competition may perhaps be discovered at: Tickets can be pre-obtained on Eventbrite at: