Melrose to host 48th annual Arts and Crafts Competition beneath new director Leah Dunn Witman

Yoshiko Yap

Nathan Wilson | Reporter
As government director of historic Melrose Plantation, Leah Dunn Witman is preparing to host the annual Arts and Crafts Pageant April 23-24.
Witman has two priorities in intellect. Her mission is preserving the legacy of Melrose as an historic site, when her aim is to restore it as the heart of a innovative neighborhood. “The future program for Melrose is to acquire more membership, have a lot more community involvement, host additional courses and to get folks again out (in this article) to continue to keep the memory of Melrose alive,” she said.
With additional than two many years of function organizing encounter, Witman is no stranger to arranging celebrations. “We hope to host far more functions and more substantial activities at Melrose.” Her initially time web hosting the Arts and Crafts Competition promises to be well attended “We have over 80 distributors now, so we’re energized.” she suggests.

This report published in the April 21, 2022, print version

Witman originally researched theater and invested many years as a performer for the Walt Disney Planet theme park where by she acted in plays and featured in marketing pursuits. Now she is making use of her performative encounter to the heritage of Melrose. She hopes improving the presentation of Melrose’s tale will illustrate spectacular elements, “so people can attempt to relate to the tale extra, that is exactly where the theater encounter arrives in,” she suggests.

As Witman sees it, nearby involvement is important. “We know there is a have to have for extra community atmosphere,” she claims. “We want to be able to offer you whichever we can to the local community.” She sees the Arts and Crafts Festival as an prospect for volunteers to take part and take a look at Melrose at the very same time, “If they want to be on the list they can connect with me or electronic mail me at 318-663-0143 and the e-mail is [email protected].” Afterward, she’s wanting ahead to a range of activities like collaborating in bridal demonstrates, internet hosting gatherings and organizing holiday functions.

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

Just one of Witman’s objectives is to rebuild Melrose’s ties to the artwork neighborhood. “We’re going to be internet hosting diverse artists on the home just what Melrose is identified for.” She describes Melrose’s partnership with NSU to offer their learners a gallery area throughout the festival. “The artwork department at Northwestern (are) going to have some learners in the barn,” she states. They will not be handling cattle or accumulating eggs even though. “They’ll be advertising their artwork,” she clarifies.

Witman in character for a theater efficiency

Yet another of Witman’s plans is to collaborate with educators to produce curriculum for every single quality. “We’re hoping to husband or wife with regional teachers in the central Louisiana spot to develop curriculum,” she says. “When they get to Melrose they’ll have a tiny little bit of the history information for what they’re learning about that working day.” She believes relating the tale of Melrose to broader historical subject areas would also convey much more family members. “Because I homeschool my young ones, I know that would be these types of a special uncover,” she suggests.

Witman is seeking ahead to raising Melrose’s profile in the community. “People in town are heading to begin listening to about us a great deal much more all over again,” she suggests. “We’re likely 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 in accordance to Vicki Parrish, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), sponsor of the party.
This once-a-year outdoor celebration will element more than 80 distributors providing hand-made items, numerous of which are a person-of-a-variety. Among the the products obtainable will be primary artwork, gourmand tea and jellies, hand-manufactured jewellery, outfits, candles, pottery, wreaths, toys, woodworking products, wrought iron artwork and other arts and crafts.
Guided tours of the plantation property, the “Big Household,” and African Dwelling will be obtainable. Quite a few renowned writers and artists visited and lived at the plantation. Probably the best recognized resident of Melrose was Clementine Hunter, who arrived to the plantation as a area hand and taught herself to paint working with paints and brushes discarded by an artist at Melrose. The restored Clementine Hunter murals are on exhibit in their original household on the second flooring of the African Residence. Hunter’s paintings have received countrywide and worldwide notoriety, and some of her will work cling in the Louvre in Paris. She is a single of the most recognized primitive artists in Louisiana historical past.
The pageant is sponsored by APHN and per year draws in additional than 2,000 readers in the course of the two-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 kids ages 6-12. Tickets for tours of the Large Residence are $5.
Extra information about Historic Melrose and the yearly Arts and Crafts Competition could be uncovered at: Tickets can be pre-ordered on Eventbrite at:

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