Festival of Arts kicks off; Landry, Sonnier fêted

by Walter Pierce

The illustrious Ragin' Cajun alumni will receive the university's prestigious SPARK Award as part of the 10-day arts celebration.

Dickie Landry

UL Lafayette College of the Arts' 10-day Festival of the Arts kicks of Wednesday with a series of lectures in Fletcher Hall. The event will be highlighted by the annual SPARK Award, given this year to a pair of exceptional alumni: musician/composer/artist/photographer Dickie Landry, a Cecilia native, and multi-media artist Keith Sonnier, originally from Mamou.

Landry, a part-time resident of downtown Lafayette and founding member of the swamp-pop super group Li'l Band O' Gold, is best known as a saxophonist. He has performed with Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Robert Plant, David Byrne, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Clifton Chenier and others. An exhibition of Landry's photography taken during his time in New York City in the 1970s, "Dickie Landry's New York: 1969-1979," is currently on display at the university's Hilliard University Art Museum. Landry will receive his SPARK Award on Thursday at the Hilliard, Sonnier on Friday during the ArTech Fusion event at the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

Sonnier has done publicly and privately commissioned projects, often using neon or light and shadows, across the U.S. and Europe. An exhibition of his work, "Keith Sonnier: Selected Works," is also currently up the University Art Museum until April 5; Landry's work will be on display until May 17.

The Festival of Arts also includes performances of plays and an opera, more lectures, a crawfish boil, a fashion show and a career fair; many of the events are free to the general public. The festival concludes on March 23. For a complete schedule, click here.