GALLERY ONE ElllEVEN has adopted Magnolia Park in Leesville, officially approved by city council on Monday. Members and friends of the gallery are bringing art-themed aesthetics and activities to the site.

GALLERY ONE ElllEVEN has adopted Magnolia Park in Leesville, officially approved by city council on Monday. Members and friends of the gallery are bringing art-themed aesthetics and activities to the site.

Isabelle Massart and Tony McDonald, along with help from a committee called Art 4 The Park, are working to transform Magnolia Park into an interactive community art experience. "Magnolia Art Park will provide an outlet for discovery; a laboratory for art," said McDonald. It will bring art into the community and offer an art experience for children and adults alike, who may not travel to museums.

Magnolia Art Park sits on Abe Allen Memorial Drive in Leesville, bordered on the east by West Leesville Elementary School and on the west by Lee Hills, an established housing area. Two blocks north is the Vernon Parish Library. "It's a great way to promote the arts and provide access for kids. Parents can easily take their kids to the park and the art is already there, like a gallery," said Massart.

One of the first projects coming to the park is called Melody Garden. It will be a central focal point in the park. Melody Garden will serve as a large-scale art installation with an interactive music-making experience within a circle of 12 crepe myrtles. These come from a group of 100 trees, donated to Leesville in March by Trey's Landscape and Nursery of Farmerville.

The Melody Garden will initially consist of three instruments, designed to compliment each other, musically. Percussion sounds will come from tuned drums, combined with the soprano/alto sounds from fiberglass keys on a Duet, and bass tones from a Yantzee. Additional instruments may be added as funding becomes available.

Two other works are already in place in Magnolia Art Park. “Encore” is a free form powder coated steel sculpture by Shreveport artist, Eva Williams. This was the first donated piece to be installed.

“The Peace Poles” is a work designed and installed by the Leesville Junior High Art Club. It was part of an international art project involving public sculpture with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” scripted in seven languages on the poles. This is the first of several site-specific works by student artists that are planned for the park.

McDonald and Massart are currently working on a plan to install a slate or concrete area where children can make art with sidewalk chalk. A book nook is already on site from a previous project.

Now that GALLERY ONE ElllEVEN has adopted it, the city's involvement will mainly be just keeping the park clean, said McDonald.

The hope is that other groups in the area will possibly follow suit, adopting other parks. "We have already written the proposal and this makes it easy for other groups to do similar things with other parks," said McDonald. He suggested other parks could have varying themes and equipment.

Projects and public art in the Magnolia Art Park are funded by grants and donations. The park is still in need of corporate sponsors. Names of sponsors can be displayed in the park via signage, or they can remain anonymous.

Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can find contact information on the Magnolia Art Park Facebook page.