Western St. Tammany Parish has long served as a beacon to artists working in all mediums. An abundance of natural beauty, a relaxed lifestyle allowing for the growth and exploration of creativity, and a supportive parish-wide art association (St. Tammany Art Association) have allowed for the evolution of a thriving creative class that spans the parish’s history. A proliferation of art galleries and cultural events make it possible for artists to prosper, often on an international scale.
Such is the case with artist Marianne Angeli Rodriguez, who will unveil Daydream, her new collection of original paintings at an open reception on Saturday evening from 5-8 p.m. Warm welcomes beckon from the sidewalk by way of vibrant bright pink-peach-colored double doors and planters painted with an abstract design on the approach to her eponymous art gallery and studio in historic Downtown Covington. To step inside is to enter a word filled with color, whimsy, beauty, and joy overseen by Rodriguez and her spouse and business partner, Rock Whittington, a native of Covington. This place is a fun, uplifting escape.
The couple spent months restoring the 1909 building that houses the collection of brilliant acrylic paintings, pottery, and giclee prints which are offset by glowing white walls matched to the original pressed tin ceiling.
Rodriguez, of Filipino American heritage, spent her youth traveling the world with her parents, both of whom worked for the United Nations. The influences of West Africa, Central America, Europe, and Asia are evident in her large-scale contemporary abstract paintings. She taught herself to paint and says she is inspired by cultural tradition, symbolism, language, and the ever-changing symbiosis of communities and nature.
“I am inspired by the color palettes you see when you go on a vacation somewhere warm,” she said. “There are a lot of tropical undertones in my work. I want it to be happy, uplifting.”
Her work has garnered national recognition with collectors throughout the U.S. She has collaborated with on projects with Anthropologie, Framebridge, AllModern, The Jungalow, and Kit & Ace and her work is on permanent display in numerous public installations, including the Sloan Kettering Cancer Centers in NY, St. Tammany Parish Hospital, the Southern Hotel Covington, the Magnolia Hotel New Orleans, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Chicago, and the New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport.
Regarding accessibility, Rodriguez and Whittington have striven to ensure there is something for everyone in the gallery with prices for prints beginning at $35 and elevating to $5,000 for an original acrylic painting on canvas. Consider bringing something bright and cheerful into your home and into your life to welcome a new season and a new era (a new reality, really) for us all.
Take a short drive up Highway 21 Tchefuncte’s Restaurant in Madisonville on the picturesque Tchefuncte River. Chef Michael Gottlieb has been foraging the nearby woods and has hit upon a most abundant and beautiful haul of chanterelle mushrooms and the well-connected chef is pairing them on the plate with plump soft-shell crabs he sources from friend. This rare, sought-after, late spring (yes, it is still officially spring) combination is impossible to beat.
Have a wonderful weekend. Ya’ll play nice.