The weather's warming up mes amies, and that means Downtown Alive! starts again and strolling during ArtWalk becomes a bit more pleasant. Party Girl had the chance to hang out with all the photographers, painters and sculptors at the February ArtWalk. Jefferson Street's newest gallery, Grand Contemporary, has a wonderful showcase of 15 artists in its, well, grand space. "The show was very well attended," says owner Jennifer Grand. "We were definitely pleased with the turnout. It was fun!" Works at Grand Contemporary included Denis Ansel's oil paintings, Robert Moreland's innovative sculptures created from old appliances and car parts and Bradley Sabin's eccentric ceramics. Many of the artists are from Louisiana and incorporate southern themes in their exhibits, but the sleek space above Rain is worth viewing by itself. Great job with the space Jennifer!

The Acadiana Center for the Arts was also partying during its Early Bird Preview Party. Party Girl was lucky enough to be invited to preview the center's new exhibits and visit with some special guests. Clint Jeske from the USGS National Wetlands Research Center brought along some of his feathered friends, including a goose, parrot and a dove, who fit right in with the center's bird-themed exhibits. Party Girl gained a bit of ornithological knowledge while snacking on gourmet cuisine by Kit Benkert. For his first catering job, Kit served up crostini with beef tenderloin, chicken salad and some tasty pineapple salsa. And for dessert, Fifi Billeaud filled a table with her sweet creations. The pecan-crusted graham crackers were absolutely sinful! Party Girl capped off the evening with a glass of wine in the center's ultra-chic vault.

And rounding out my recap of artsy events this week, Karen Kaplan's exhibit at Café Des Amis is "Out of the Box." Karen's first show features dolls with disjointed body parts inside antique wooden boxes. It's definitely an eye-opener and obviously a personal exploration for the artist. I visited with Virginia Yongue, Darrel Bourque, Mickey Gajan and Erin Briggs over wine and the café's superb hors d'ouervres during the opening reception. Can't wait to see what you do next Karen! And kudos to all of the other artists in Acadiana. You're certainly keeping Party Girl cultured.

Party On! ' PG

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