The Red River Revel returns Sept. 30 through Oct. 7 at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport. The festival brings visual and performing artists and art lovers from near and far. This year, the Revel is bringing one artist to town for a very special homecoming.
Shreveport native Meredith Piper will have her work on display the second half of the week. This will be the first year Piper has participated as a juried artist, but she is by no means a stranger to the festival.
“As a young child, I was in complete amazement of all the different artwork everywhere my eyes looked,” she said. “I remember each year coming home with my own token from the Revel. Handmade toys and stuffed animals at first, but as I grew up so did my taste. As a high schooler the Revel became something to aspire too, that one day I might be juried in. I then began bringing home art work, prints, and jewelry from these local makers. The Revel gave an already rooted passion the notion that this could be more than a hobby, but a career.”
She recalled one year that was particularly memorable. “I was accidentally left there by my parents as a small child,” Piper said. “One of those stories where my parents thought I was in the car, and my brother didn’t find it important to share with them otherwise. I was there for all of five minutes alone, but maybe that was a sign I was destined to be a part.”
Piper, 30, said she went to the Revel every year as a child and called it “a highlight for this amateur artist.” Last year was the only one she recalls missing as she and her husband, Douglas, moved to Greenville, South Carolina, shortly before the Revel. While she has participated in other festivals and returned home a few times in the past year, Piper said this time is different.
“Shreveport is my hometown,” she said. “With so many friends and family here, I couldn’t think of a better place to try my hand at a longer festival. And honestly, getting juried into the Revel is a sort of milestone for me. I will be alongside artists that I have looked up to and watched come back year after year. It’s the evolution of a dream coming true, a career sustaining itself, watching aspirations of a young child turn into fruition. Nothing but grins over here. Plus, the food is amazing.”
Piper likes to paint landscapes, botanicals and figures in an abstract or impressionistic style. She hand-looms weaves based on landscapes and native patterns that are encased in wood. She also creates unique “live-scene” paintings at events like wedding receptions and parties.
Piper said she appreciates the Revel’s cultural significance to Shreveport. “It shows the resiliency and support from within its own community, stating that the arts and handmade goods are valued and important,” she said. “It has to be for something to last and grow for over 40 years.”
That’s why this feels different than any other homecoming or any other festival.
“Thinking about it gives me the jitters,” she said. “Shreveport means so much to me. I just want to do her justice with a good showing at the Revel.”
For more information on the 2017 Red River Revel, including a list of participating artists and food vendors, visit the website at redriverrevel.com.
This article originally appeared in Metro Leader news magazine.