Posted Online: Feb. 07, 2013, 12:58 pm

"Rajun Cajun" benefit moves to Figge

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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com

Photo:
One of the sculptures (made from wood, bronze, paper and antler sheds) by Los Angeles-based Alison Saar, in a new exhibit opening Saturday at the Figge Art Museum.

Tastes of New Orleans will be served at the Figge Art Museum (225 W. 2nd St., Davenport) on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12, for the 9th annual Mardi Gras "Rajun Cajun" Fest.

Area chefs from the Figge, Thunder Bay Grille, Machine Shed, Gendler's Black Ram, Crow Valley CountryClub, Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, Gramma's Kitchen and Select Specialty Hospital will be cookingCajun-inspired appetizers, entrees and desserts in the lobby of the museum from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Guests can sample each chef's Cajun creations, including chicken and sausagejambalaya, crawfish tails with alligator gumbo, oyster po'boys, beignets and much more. There will be livemusic by local artist Lewis Knudsen, the option to participate in a make-your-own Mardi Gras mask artactivity, a cash bar and a chance to cast votes for your favorite chef.

Hosted in previous years at Thunder Bay (each year benefiting a different charity), this is the first year the Figge has hosted the event and all proceeds will benefit the museum's outreachprograms for thousands of area students.

There was no similar event last year, and this time the Figge decided to host because it was suggested by museum chef Dave Micklewright, who has participated in previous years' events and works for Heart of America, which owns Thunder Bay, said Figge spokeswoman Natalie Dunlop.

Advance tickets are $25 each or two for $45, available at figgeartmuseum.org or (563) 326-7804 x2046. Tickets at the door are $30 each ortwo for $55. Doors open at 5 p.m.


New exhibit opens Saturday


On Saturday (Feb. 9), the Figge Art Museum will open an exhibit of Los Angeles-based sculptor Alison Saar, called "STILL..."

The works in the exhibition play on the many meanings of the word “still”— "to quiet or appease, to persevere, an apparatus for transforming liquids, or lifeless (as in still born) — to explore issues of aging, gender and racial identity, and our progress through life," according to a Figge release.

Influenced by artistic traditions from the Americas to Africa and beyond, and by her mixed racial upbringing, Ms. Saar "fuses her paradoxical responses to the black-and-white delineations of political and social forces into a powerful, visual, and kinesthetic tension," the museum says. She uses the everyday experience, history and associations of her materials, African art and ritual, Greek mythology, and the sculptural tradition of German Expressionism to "infuse her work with a primal intensity that challenges cultural and historic references and stereotypes."

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Ms. Saar will discuss her work in the Figge's John Deere Auditorium (free with membership or paid admission). Join her in the Museum Store immediately following, where she will sign copies of the exhibition catalogue. Docent-led tours of the exhibit will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sundays in March, as well as 6 p.m. Thursdays, March 14, 28, and April 11. The exhibit will be displayed through April 14.

For more information, visit figgeartmuseum.org.