When Rapides Regional Medical Center was looking for original artwork, they didn’t have to look far. Downtown neighbor, River Oaks Square Arts Center, was eager to work with RRMC in commissioning local work for the hospital’s South Tower.

“This is a visually stunning location, with serene morning light and expansive windows, allowing local talent to be showcased to passerbys,” said Rachel Dauzat, River Oaks Square Arts Center executive director.

Three artists were selected to create a total of six original works, each 36 x 48".  These masterpieces depict imagery of Central Louisiana surroundings.  Leah Morace, Laura Gates and Aubrey Bolen, all Resident Artists of River Oaks Arts Center, were commissioned for the project due to their exuberance for Louisiana life and its landscapes. The project was meant to be uplifting, providing guests of the hospital a direct portal to memories and familiar scenes from life in and around Central Louisiana. 

“Rapides Regional Medical Center has been part of the Central Louisiana community for 115 years, and in that time, we’ve learned that our patients and visitors appreciate the natural beauty that surround us in this part of the state,” said Charla Ducote, Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Business Development. “So when we found ourselves in need of showcase quality artwork, we knew that’s where we wanted to start. These River Oaks Arts Center resident artists were just what we were looking for.”

Morace’s work centered around her signature water lily series, while Gates focused on her intricate pasture scenes and Bolen recreated his tranquil images of Kistatchie National Forest.  Each work from each artist lends to complimentary styles, in both color palette and calming panorama. 

A small reception is planned for Wednesday, June 27 from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the South Tower hallway at Rapides Regional Medical Center.

From the artist:

Leah Morace -
“As an artist, I wanted to convey a sense of serenity and tranquility with the waterscapes that I’ve painted.  In keeping with the Louisiana motifs I’ve become known for, the water lilies also represent the common imagery found in our local bayous and lakes.  I kept the palette interesting to look at, by using mixed media, such as pastels, ink washes and acrylic.”

Laura Gates - “Raising cattle is an agricultural activity that has been part of the Louisiana landscape since the early 18th century. These two paintings are based on the landscape, vegetation and cattle of this area of the state. The older Brahma bull in one painting is looking at the young bull in the other painting. Both also are keeping watch over the cows and calves who have made themselves comfortable resting in the shade, grazing on the ample pasture in the distance, or getting a drink out of the cool waters of the creek. I kept some of the work in these paintings very loose and gestural, while other areas lean more toward a traditional representation of the scenes.”

Aubrey Bolen - “These paintings are inspired by the Wild Azalea Trail which is located in Kisatchie National Forest. This trail is divided into 6 segments and has different vegetation communities throughout the 24 mile trail. These paintings depict a biome from each segment.
I chose the Wild Azalea Trail as the focus of these paintings for its unique beauty. I wanted to share the diversity of this National Recreational Trail, located in Central Louisiana, though these pallet knife landscape paintings. My hope is the exhibition will bring awareness to this invaluable resource that we are so fortunate to have in our community.”