Feature photo: Owner of Judice Art Collective, Lynda Judice, holds up one of her popular creations, mother holding child of Mary and Jesus. Photo provided by Judice.
The inspiration for Judice Art Collective is personal for Lynda Judice. Her dream began to materialize after a trip to Georgia with her daughter in January. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed her plans, but they restarted again in June with a slightly different focus to make a collective art gallery.
Judice, a former art teacher at Cathedral-Carmel School for 17 years, said she has always desired to open up her own space. Originally, the store was going to be an art studio for her, called “Judice and Friends,” but instead she was inspired to include others on the journey, according to Judice.
“My goal is to open doors for artists and to promote their work,” Judice said.
This is particularly important in a time where there is uncertainty about access and funding for the arts in the community.
The gallery on Johnston Street started with a few artists picked by Judice and currently holds artwork from 23 local artists. Her shop includes items such as mixed media artwork, clay rosaries, vintage pieces and hand-painted furniture.
Trudie Wolking is one of many artists excited to share her work with the community through the gallery. She is an encaustic artist.
“I work by accumulating layers of material, images and color that make up the whole of a work, then I go back in to explore, excavate, expose and obscure. The result is a non-literal visual form, a translation of that experience and process,” Wolking said.
According to Wolking, “encaustic medium is made from a mixture of all-natural beeswax and damar resin, which is an East Asian tree sap.”
Wolking met Judice while teaching at Cathedral-Carmel School and has known her for over a decade. Wolking, who is currently a special needs teacher at the school, said when Judice taught years ago that she always supported her and would give her good critiques on her art. Wolking said when asked to be a part of the gallery, she was humbled and honored.
In a COVID-19 environment, many people are turning to online sites to purchase items, including art. Judice Art Collective provides a physical site and access to interactions with artists at the local level. This connection promotes a wonderful culture and appreciation of the arts in Acadiana.
Judice said the support from the community has been great. “I would love customers to feel a sense of peace whether they buy something or not. I would love for them to come in and feel like it is a calm, peaceful place where they can see beauty,” Judice said.
The most influential person in owner Judice’s life was her late mother Pat. According to Judice, she was “extremely creative and could do anything and everything…I’m spiritual and I believe the Holy Spirit led me to do this kind of in her honor. When I’m in there I’m reminded of her, so it’s a neat thing,” Judice said.