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2020 Museum Collection Retrospective

October 14, 2020 @ 9:00 am - November 6, 2020 @ 4:00 pm


Louisiana State Exhibit Museum (LSEM)

Permanent Collection Retrospective Exhibit October 2020

Original Inhabitants of Northwest Louisiana

The Caddo Indians, a tribe of Native Americans dating back 14,000 years, were the original inhabitants of the Red River Valley encompassing a four state region including northwest Louisiana. In 1835, the Caddo Indian Confederacy consisting of six tribes sold their lands to the United States by signing the Treaty of Cession. The Caddo’s had enjoyed seclusion from white settlers because the “Great Raft” prevented early exploration of the Upper Red River Valley. See Caddo Gallery located in the West Wing behind the art exhibit.

Pioneers William Bennett and James Cane opened a trading post on Red River as early as 1830.  At that time, there was no central bank in the U.S. so merchants often printed their own paper currency.

Mary Cane, wife of James Cane, built her home on the east side of the river, now Bossier City.

Shreveport: Since 1836

A group of pioneer investors formed the Shreve Town Company on May 27, 1836, and formed a township of 62 blocks of real estate. The City of Shreveport became an incorporated township in 1839. Honoring Captain Henry Miller Shreve, who cleared the logjam on Red River to develop the region, the Shreve Town Company became the city of Shreveport.

Elected in 1839, the first mayor was John Octavius Sewell (1806 – 1840). A native of Hallowell, Maine he and his two brothers were merchants and among the earliest settlers.  In an attempt to clean up the town, there was a dispute over gambling and liquor sales and Sewell was killed in a duel in Elysian Fields, Texas.

Shreveport in 1935

Celebrating the Centennial of the founding of the town, the citizens held festivals, galas and historical recreations.  The official flag of the city is a hand painted watercolor on cotton sack by Elizabeth Glassell Park, given to her nephew Stephen Glassell.

 Louisiana State Exhibit Museum (LSEM) 1939 to present – Collection Exhibit

For more than 80 years, local artists have exhibited in the West Wing Gallery, which was a project initiated by Amos Lee Armstrong.  Born in Many, Armstrong studied with the Natchitoches Art Colony and the Art Students League in New York in the 1920s.  He founded the Shreveport Art Club, maintained a gallery in New Orleans and served on the State Art Commission with Mrs. Allen Rendall, cosmopolitan traveler, artist and art critic for the New Orleans Times Picayune.

Armstrong was the first Director of LSEM and responsible for exhibiting over 600 original works for the grand opening of the museum in January 1939.  He also hired landscape painters, sculptors, model makers, taxidermists and student workers from around the country to construct the diorama series.  New Yorkers E.J. Whetzle was the first Administrator           and H.B. Wright served as the first Curator (1939-1962).

James B. Norman was born in north Caddo parish. He entered the navy during WWII, and returned to graduate in civil engineering from La Tech University.   Upon his return to Louisiana, his aunt, Mrs. Allen Rendall, who was on the LSEM board, arranged an exhibit in the West Wing gallery for him.  This 1946 show was the first post-wat exhibit in the gallery.  With his engineering knowledge and skills, Norman drew plans and constructed precise scale models of Red River steamboats, on display in Quad 2.  He also piloted his model airplane at the Regional Airport in 1994.

Clyde Connell was another north Caddo parish resident and is listed in the Smithsonian Women’s Artists database.  She began painting realistic subjects in the 1950’s.  On a church trip to North Carolina, she boarded a train for New York and discovered Greenwich Village and the Abstract Expressionist movement.    She was instrumental in opening co-op studio space in downtown Shreveport, brought in guest artists and exhibits and embraced the feminist movement. She lived and worked at Lake Bistineau using found objects for her sculptures.  See Quad 3.

One of her collaborators was Jerry Wray, who experimented with color to express her love of nature.

Louisiana State Exhibit Museum (LSEM) 1939 to present – Collection Exhibit

Al Francis worked in commercial advertising in Shreveport as well as teaching at Centenary College. He worked primarily in watercolor and drew his inspiration for the local landscape.  His mural study in this exhibit was the design for LSEM’s Historic Mural Series, Quad 2.

Cindy Magee lives in Bossier City and is home-schooling her three children, ages 12, 10 and 8 years.  She frequently brings them to the museum for programs.  As a member of Shreveport Art Club, Cindy created two works for the August 2020 show.  She based Obsession on a photo of an ancient city plan, which reads like a map of the city of Shreveport – the bridge, the criss-cross of roads, and shapes of buildings that turned into brush strokes.   Fields of Joy represents the Louisiana coastline – grasses, birds, water and relaxation and relief from modern times.

This exhibit gathers together works from local artists who have influenced our community and shared their experiences, insights and artworks in the West Wing gallery.   At the same time, it provides an opportunity to present the history of the collection and the artists.




October 14, 2020 @ 9:00 am
November 6, 2020 @ 4:00 pm


Louisiana State Exhibit Museum