Local Supply opens art installation of artist Cora Barhorst’s celeb portraits

You may see some familiar faces displayed along the walls of Local Supply during your next trip. The faces of Frida Kahlo, Harry Styles and Betty White smile down at shoppers from a new art installation. Artist Cora Barhorst, also known as Cora B. Gallery, collaborated with the Mid City boutique to bring the special display of her well-known circle portraits.

The installation, called FLOURISH, includes a variety of portraits that were hand-picked by Barhorst and Local Supply owners Sarah Guidry and Meredith Waguespack. You’ll spot some influential Louisiana faces like Louis Armstrong along with other Southern icons like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. 

“Flourish was the word that I used to describe the whole collection of pieces,” Barhorst says. “I was trying to figure out how they came together and what they meant to me. I really wanted to show how supporting local businesses and makers and investing in our community can make something really special and supports everyone in the process.”

Guidry says she and Waguespack always envisioned having art installations in Local Supply. There is a white wall in the store that was intentionally left blank so that local artists such as Barhorst can showcase a full display of their work in the store. 

“We always knew we wanted to keep the wall big and white, so that we could have rotating artists display their work,” Guidry says. “Cora was on the top of our list. She is such an amazing human being on top of being such an amazing artist. … I just let her do her thing, and I didn’t know a whole lot for two months. Then everything started falling into place.”

The shoppable installation will be on display through Christmas, unless it sells out before then. Some of the portraits have already been sold, but the entire display will remain on the wall for three more weeks before customers can take their painting home. Each painting also has a smaller but identical art print, which can be purchased at Local Supply. 

As an artist, Barhorst credits stores like Local Supply and Sweet Baton Rouge for helping her get her start. While launching her art business in college, Barhorst prepared plenty of merchandise to sell at pop-up markets. But the pandemic quickly shut down most of her opportunities to sell to customers in person. Sweet Baton Rouge allowed her to sell her merchandise, prints and keychains during the 2020 Christmas season.

“That was a saving grace for my business because as a young person I was still in college, and I had invested hundreds of dollars, and then all the markets got canceled,” she says “That gave me an insane opportunity to keep going and not have all this extra stuff after Christmas, and it worked out phenomenally. My art’s been in Sweet Baton Rouge, and now in Local Supply.”

Sweet Baton Rouge commissioned a Dolly Parton portrait from Barhorst, which still hangs in the shop today. When Local Supply opened, Barhorst created a Britney Spears piece from leftover wall paint from the store. This painting is included in the installation but is not for sale with the rest. 

The portraits included in FLOURISH vary in size and include embellishments like crystals and pearls encased in a glossy coat of resin that makes each painting shine. Most of the celebrities are surrounded by a background that represents them, like Harry Styles surrounded by the fruit from his famous songs and Coco Chanel surrounded by bottles of the iconic Chanel No. 5 fragrance. 

This installation also includes some nods to Local Supply, including a portrait of Kanye West because Guidry is a big fan of the rapper. When completing this project, Barhorst used more wall paint from Local Supply in the colors green and pink to make the installation more cohesive with the shop. Barhorst says she took additional inspiration from the products sold in both Sweet Baton Rouge and Local Supply.

“They’ve always had a finger on the pulse of what people care about,” she says. “I took a lot of direction from merchandise that they carry often. We wanted to do a little something for everyone and all age groups.”

See the entire installation Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Local Supply is 1509 Government St., Suite F. 

To see more work from Barhorst, head over to her art website or follow her on Instagram to see some behind-the-scenes moments from the making of FLOURISH.