Art’s night out – Another hot summer, another cool Art Melt

Entering its 11th year, Forum 35’s Art Melt shows no signs of slowing down. The event seems to have settled in nicely in and around the Capitol Park Museum, with two evenings focused on top-quality submissions from artists across the state.

Considered the largest multimedia juried art show in the state, Art Melt received 459 entries this year, which will be culled down to around 50-70 pieces to adorn the upstairs gallery space of the museum.

While the weekend’s events also include a ticketed preview party the Friday night, a music stage on 4th Street, food trucks, an arts market and cultural performances on the museum patio, new this year is a children’s art area on the museum grounds.

Sean McDonald of Forum 35 says that while the event has grown to encompass plenty of activities that attract families as well as art lovers, the juried art exhibit is always the most important focus.

“The longer the event goes on, the more respect we gain and the higher quality of art we are going to be able to show,” McDonald says.

Read on for everything you should know about this year’s event.

Any form of artistic media is fair game, so expect to see everything from sculpture and painting to photography and mixed media. Jurors had several weeks to go over submissions and narrow down the hundreds of works to around 50-70 pieces for the exhibit. During the preview party, winners are announced for first, second and third place, with cash prizes. Each juror gives his or her own award, and there’s also the Forum 35 award, with the winning image appearing on next year’s poster. Read about last year’s winner of that award on page 149. Viewers will also have the chance to vote for their favorite piece of art in the People’s Choice category.

Avoid the crowds at the Saturday event and get fancied up to attend the Friday night preview party. The party is 7 p.m.-11 p.m. July 18 at the museum. Tickets are $75 per person, which includes access to an open bar and plenty of wiggle room to browse the pieces at your leisure. Otherwise, the exhibit will remain on view at the museum for six weeks following the event.

Art Melt, Saturday, July 19, is free and open to the public. The event is 5 p.m.-11 p.m. in and around the Capitol Park Museum. artmelt.org

The preview party’s dress code is cocktail attire. Saturday’s event is much more casual, which is nice because it’s the middle of July and this is an indoor/outdoor event.

Saturday’s event features plenty of works for sale in the Art Melt Marketplace area in front of the museum. Bring some cash along and browse local artists’ creations.

The music stage will be set up on Spanish Town Road and North 4th Street, featuring several local bands throughout the evening. Dance, poetry and cultural performances will take place regularly on the patio of the museum.

Food trucks will be stationed on North 4th Street between Spanish Town Road and North Street. The event will also feature food booths from several local restaurants.

New this year is a children’s art area on the grounds of the museum, featuring projects and crafts in conjunction with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Forum 35’s Sean McDonald says they’ve seen an increased number of families attending recent Art Melts and wanted to provide activities that kids could enjoy.

National juror
Eric Robert Dallimore
The LSU graduate and New Orleans native is co-owner and curator of Leon Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Regional juror
Ben Thompson
He is the curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville at the University of North Florida.

Local juror
Katie Pfohl
The recently appointed curator of the LSU Museum of Art previously worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.