History of River Region Art Association

River Region Art Association was formed in Gonzales, LA in 1993 under the leadership of founding member Robert Noonan. For the first six years, the organization had no permanent home, meeting at local restaurants and holding exhibits at local festivals.

The association opened its first art gallery in two rooms at The Cajun Village in Sorrento, LA. With fewer than 20 members and little money in the treasury, its volunteers worked hard to keep gallery open. The association began offering art workshops and classes for adults.

The association received its first grant from the Decentralized Arts Fund from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and administered by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and began the Art on the Front Porch program series featuring art demos, music, wood carving, sculpting, puppet shows, and poetry. The program continued for 4 years. Also in 2000, the association began the Summer Art Workshops for Children. This program continues today.

The association received its first Cooperative Agreement funding from the Parish of Ascension which greatly assisted in the expansion of its programs.

The association moved to a small frame house at 1835 N. Magnolia St. in Gonzales, LA. Located just off the main highway near the center of town, the Art Gumbo Center served as its primary location for exhibits, receptions, markets, workshops, classes, library, meetings, and office space. The association held its first annual art festival, Awesome Art in the Gardens, on the grounds at Houmas House Plantation in Darrow, LA. The festival continued at this location through 2010.

The association opened a secondary gallery location in the Houmas House Gift Shop located on the grounds of Houmas House Plantation in Darrow, LA. This gallery continues to operate today.

The association began its monthly Art Gumbo Market at the entrance along River Road to Houmas House Plantation in Darrow, LA. The market continues to operate today.

The association moved its annual art festival, Awesome Art on the Bayou Festival, to Jambalaya Park in Gonzales, LA. The festival continues at this location today. The Awesome Art Exhibition was held in the Gonzales City Hall.

The association moved its primary location to the city-owned railway Edenborn Depot building at 1008 W. Hwy. 30, Gonzales, LA. The River Region Summer Art Camp was moved to the St. Amant Recreation Center and served a record number of 183 students. In 2013, the association began its River Region Community Art Classes for both adults and youth.