Once Becky and Wyatt Collins started collecting folk art, it didn’t take them long to assemble a major collection - 300 pieces accumulated in four years is quite a haul. “And we don’t count the little bitty pieces,” says Wyatt. “We may have 25 little birds scattered around, but we don’t count them.” The couple went from nothing to 90 nearly overnight. “We visited two friends, Burnell Lemoine and Ed Dubuisson,” Becky explains. “They both had folk art collections. We both liked folk art, and Wyatt decided he could do it too, so we took off.”
That was in 2003. Since then, they’ve filled every room in their home in New Iberia from floor to ceiling with primitively carved sculpture, paintings telling complex stories, highly imaginative animals, dolls, and religious items painted in bright colors by hands with no formal art training.
Wyatt is the organized one who meets artists, studies auction catalogues and thinks about how to deepen his collection. Becky just jumps in. “I’m the one who shows up and plunders thorough obscure boxes of stuff,” she says. “I collect from my heart, while Wyatt collects from his head.”
The collection, with a focus on Acadiana artists, will go on display at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in a show called From Inside Our Hearts: Outsider Art, on Jan. 12. “Outsider Art,” according to Wyatt, is the museum term used to differentiate contemporary folk art from early American folk art.
“What I like about it,” says Wyatt, “is that you take people who are not only totally uneducated about art, they are often just plain uneducated, but who have a desire to create. It’s amazing the things that are created.” The subject matter is usually tied to religion and everyday life or sometimes expresses what Becky calls “downharded” crazy. “It speaks from the heart,” adds Becky. “The art reflects the values and life experiences of the artist. Creativity is listening to your soul. It’s our inner inner spirit.”
From Inside Our Hearts: Outsider Art opens Jan. 12 during ArtWalk from 6-8 p.m. at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 West Vermilion St. The show will run through Feb. 23. On Feb. 12, from 6-8 p.m. Becky and Wyatt Collins will deliver a gallery talk about their collection. For more information call 233-7060 or visit www.AcadianaCenterfortheArts.org
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.