Lewis Kalmbach returned to his hometown Shreveport this fall and opened Big Sun Studios as a hybrid art gallery and video production studio to expand the downtown arts community.
Kalmbach began his career in advertising before evolving into an accomplished artist with galleries in Louisiana, California, Georgia, Florida and Mexico.
He loves to remodel homes and once owned a flower shop that doubled as an art gallery called Pick.
Kalmbach decided to retire where he was raised in Shreveport with his husband and son.
His nephew Julian Tizian is the video producer at Big Sun. He and his work partner Brad Negrotto work closely with Fairfield Studios to help local stores elevate their social media presence.
“It’s so much fun to go and film someone and what they’ve been doing for the community and for themselves,” says Tizian. “It’s nice to work with fun people who have a cool and productive message for the world.”
Tizian spent the first 12 years of his life living in Germany until he and his mother found their way back to America. While studying film and TV production in Connecticut, Tizian decided to come back home to be with his family when his uncle became sick and now helps run the gallery.
Kelly M. Ward was hired in September to be the gallery director and help with marketing. Ward and Tizian went to Caddo Magnet High School together and he recommended her for the job knowing she had graduated from LSU with an undergraduate degree in public relations and a master’s in art history.
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The plan is for the space to also accommodate events like birthday parties, wedding rehearsal dinners and workshop meetings. They are also aiming to develop a close relationship with their neighbors and the other members of the arts district, perhaps doing some events together.
“We want this to be a very welcoming, fun, positive and happy, inclusive and safe space,” says Ward.
On exhibit at Big Sun Studios now
Currently the exhibit “DENOART: The Art of Dennis O’Bryant” is occupying the space at Big Sun. O’Bryant is lovingly known as DENO and is a painter, sculptor, poet and writer.
A Shreveport native, he now creates compositions in his century-old house in Marshall, Texas, which triples as his home, studio and gallery. He mainly uses acrylic paint and often uses Sharpie markers, paper collage and other mixed media.
The iconography of his work includes Caddo Lake, abstract compositions and the female form. His sculpted artworks are made of clay or metal and are typically abstract or showcasing the human form. All of the art and sculptures on display are for sale.
Big Sun Studios is located at 619 Edwards St. and is open Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m.
Meredith G. White is the arts and culture reporter for the Shreveport Times. You can find her on Facebook as Meredith G. White, on Instagram and Twitter as @meredithgwhite, and email her at [email protected]