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WORK BY LOUISIANA ARTIST ANNIE MORAN TO BE INCLUDED IN “ELEMENTAL THREADS,” A CREOLE ART EXHIBITION

Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson

Nature, birds, landscapes, figurative pieces, and cultural landscapes as interpreted by Louisiana artist Annie Moran will be included in an exhibit titled “Elemental Threads,” presented by the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University Sept. 15-Oct. 29.   

Contemporary works by Angelbert Metoyer and Ayo Scott will also be featured.  All three artists have connections to the Creole community.  Moran grew up in the Cane River area but is now based in New Orleans.  Metoyer is based in Houston.  Scott is from New Orleans and married into a family with Cane River roots. 

“Each artist is recognizing and celebrating the artistry, creativity, and energy that sustained and continues to be vital to Creole families and communities and are indeed elemental to all humanity,” said Dr. Kent Peacock, director of the Creole Heritage Center.  

Local daughter Moran draws inspiration from the blue herons, white egrets, roseate spoonbills, lush forests and warm waterways, green palms, and brown pelicans that are emblematic of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Her ethereal portraits capture the allure of Mardi Gras Indians, children, and street revelers in a manner that speaks of life, energy, and a deep connection to Creole culture.   

“Growing up so submersed in nature definitely has been a big influence on my artwork and why I am drawn to nature as a subject matter,” she said.  

For almost the past decade, Moran has been celebrated by the New Orleans art community, showing her work at festivals and exhibitions and taking on mural projects that bring her large-scale visions of Louisiana waterscapes and wetlands to life. It’s a pronounced contrast from her early corporate career in New York where she was focused on fashion.  

After graduating from Natchitoches Central High School in 1997, Moran earned a degree in fine art with a concentration in graphic design from Louisiana State University.  She worked in New Orleans a short time, then moved to New York City to design packaging for a costume jewelry company and later a watch company before transitioning into handbag and accessory design, finding freelance work with Coach and Henri Bendel, among other fashion powerhouses. She created a fine jewelry line and considered creating her own apparel line. 

Eventually, she missed home.  

“I missed the pace of Louisiana.  I missed the weather terribly. I hated the cold in New York and the winters were long and brutal for me, being from the South and liking warm weather.  I had concerns about coming back because of there not being as much career opportunity here for creatives and I just eventually decided to take the leap.” 

“I was homesick for Louisiana landscapes, and I think it inspired my subject matter at that time because that’s when I started painting coastal birds. I was always choosing birds from the Gulf Coast area. It felt more authentic and interesting to me than most of the nature that I would encounter in New York City.” 

Her desire to paint reawakened, and she took continuing education classes to figure out how to make painting a career.  

“Historically, I never believed it was plausible to be a painter and make a good living. It’s rare that that works for anybody.  I took some classes in illustration and surface design and that’s how I started doing the pattern designs and wallpaper. Nature was always an area of interest for me, but I don’t think I had explored it that deeply in my art until then.” 

Moran’s wallpapers depict airy creatures and verdant foliage reflective of Louisiana’s sub-tropical climate. Then opportunities for murals came along. Her first solo project at an elementary school was the largest mural she’d attempted at that time and only the second mural she’d worked on at all. Working on a scaffold was a challenge but once complete, she’s had the mural bug ever since.

One grant-funded school project in Texas called for collaboration with young people in which high school students applied for internships to assist with creating the mural. An acquaintance of Moran’s put her name forward and she was selected as the artist.

“It was a really good match because their mission as a school was aligned with nature and ecological issues,” Moran said.  

Interested in organizing similar projects in New Orleans, she applied for a grant from the New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund and this past summer completed three indoor public murals with youth interns at a community health center on Elysian Fields. She has also completed a number of custom commissions for private homes.  

“Elemental Threads” will be on view at NSU’s Orville Hanchey Gallery, located in the Creative and Performing Arts Complex, 140 Central Avenue, Natchitoches. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays.   

For more information or to view Moran’s art, jewelry and home décor, visit https://anniemoran.com/. 

Information on the Creole Heritage Center at NSU is available at https://www.nsula.edu/creole/.  

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