Chamber hears about ‘The Heart of Spain’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2003

VIDALIA&045;&045;A rare exhibition of Spain’s religious art, antiquities and icons &045;&045; The Heart of Spain Exhibit &045;&045; will be displayed in the Alexandria Museum of Art from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30.

&uot;Louisiana intends to celebrate its Spanish heritage and legacy through a variety of special events to be promoted both at home and abroad during the 2003 Bicentennial,&uot; Louisiana Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco said. &uot;’The Heart of Spain Exhibit’ is one of our most prestigious and prominent events and we are very grateful to Spain for sharing their art with us.&uot;

Frances Morrow, education liaison for the exhibit was the guest speaker at the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce meeting held Tuesday.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;This exhibit will have a huge impact on south-central Louisiana,&uot; Morrow said.

More than a hundred thousand visitors are expected to visit the exhibit. Tourism officials will encourage visitors to make downtown Alexandria a base of operations for day-trips.

&uot;One can drive to any spot in Louisiana in less than three hours from Alexandria/Pineville,&uot; Jill Kidder, director of the convention and visitors bureau in Alexandria, said.

Morrow said the museum is planning a big renovation in June to accommodate for more than 100 million dollars worth of Spanish art.

Plans for the exhibit include 60 to 100 works of art from pre-Christian, (including Iberian and Greek), Byzantine, Roman, (including Hebrew and Muslim), Gothic and Renaissance eras. Masterpieces by El Greco, Velazquez, Zurbara, Murillo and Goya will be included as well as works from the late 18th and 19th century when Spain’s influence was deeply felt in Louisiana.

&uot;After the exhibit all the pieces will go back to its original origin,&uot; Moore said.

This will be the only time the world will have a chance to view Spain’s finest religious artworks.

&uot;The main goal is to get children involved, in not only the exhibit, but in Spanish history,&uot; Moore said.

The Rapides Foundation, which covers 11 parishes including Concordia, has provided a substantial grant to help ensure that students within their service area experience the exhibit.

Part of the grant money will be used to encourage local businesses and civic groups to adopt a school or classroom to send to the exhibit.

Each group will be asked to pay a pre-determined amount that will include the cost of bus transportation and a series of vouchers for each student.

The grant will also be allocated into developing curriculums on Spain and Louisiana’s connection that will accessible to teachers, at libraries and via the Internet.

Schools can participate in the Heart of Spain &uot;Best Ambassador Schools&uot; contest, in which points will be awarded by having a classroom or school visit the exhibit and museum. The schools that have the largest percentage of participation among their students will be recognized and will receive a monetary prize.

Lynne Cheney, wife of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, is serving as vice chairperson for &uot;The Heart of Spain&uot; exhibit and will present the &uot;Best Ambassador School&uot; with its award after the exhibit ends.