Guest Blog By: Phanat Xanamane, Envision da Berry's Creative Director (pictured below right)
Transforming Main Street for the Holidays
Envision da Berry's "Window Wonderland" project returns for its third year to dazzle local families and holiday shoppers with stunning holiday window installations along the storefronts of Main Street, New Iberia.
The project started with eight artists in 2013 and has grown to twenty artists.
We hope several years down the road to see 100 artists doing 100 windows in our downtown. We invite local artists from all backgrounds from set design, painting, fashion, graphic design and architecture.
Volunteer groups like the Berry Queens and art students from Epiphany Day School have participated in the past and will do so again this year. Artists work with a selected business owner to create a display that highlights a selected holiday theme and any products or services the business may offer.
This year's selected theme will be "Magic on Main Unwraps the Nutcracker," which suggests windows with a traditional red, gold and sparkling theme.
The idea for Window Wonderland emerged when I returned to Louisiana in December 2010 after living in New York City for seven years.
Most of the Main Street storefront windows were completely empty. I wanted to see them filled with festive displays so that families would be able to stroll along Main street during the holidays and have beautiful memories.
It's great to see young children being mesmerized by some of the displays and parents lifting their kids up to the window to see all the details of what's inside.
It's exciting to see what variety and designs are presented each year. Sometimes artists cover up the windows while they're working in it and unveil when its all done. The suspense is great!
So, what's in store for this year?
This year we plan to have the project windows done by Thanksgiving Day. Many of the artist will use that week to work on their windows.
About Envision da Berry
EdB is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to educate, celebrate and inspire the creative potential of Iberia Parish through art and public engagement.
The project brings local tourism and families with young kids down to the city's historic core to dwell in front of the fabulous storefront displays, invites them to "shop small" at local businesses and experience other holiday events happening in the area.
There will be a series of volunteer and celebration activities included as part of the project. Here's the schedule of events:
• EdB Team Work Day: 9am-noon November 21(volunteers needed)
• All Windows completed: November 26
• Shop Small Saturday: November 28, 9am-noon (volunteers needed)
• Ribbon Cutting & Walk-through with window artists before parade: December 12, 5pm
• Window decoration removal: January 9, 9am-noon (volunteers needed)
The Iberia Industrial Development Foundation is serving as the project's fiscal agent, with Envision da Berry as sub-applicant for a $1528 grant received from the Decentralized Arts Funding Grant made possible by the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State arts Council as administered by the Acadiana center for the arts.
Old holiday decorations have been accepted for the project since its beginning in 2013. Decorations are recycled each year and the stock pile needs to grow bigger as the project expands. Items accepted include but are not limited to: ornaments, old artificial trees, wreaths, garlands, lights, florals, gift wrapping, bows, festive gift boxes, etc.
Drop off donations to NILA Gallery, 301 West St. Peter Street, New Iberia on Thu, Fri, Sun 10am-2pm now until January 9, 2016.
Envision da Berry is also taking cash donations to support this project. All donations are tax deductible and can be sent to Envision da Berry at 1505 S. Hopkins St., New Iberia, LA 70560 or can be made online via paypal at DaBerry.org or Paypal.
Visit Envision da Berry's website to learn about additional opportunities for participation in creative programs throughout the year: Tarts & Arts, Showtunes Sing-Alongs, NILA Gallery and Bunk Johnson Coalition.