Stephan Wanger                     Bead Town Artists
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Stephan Wanger
Bead Town Artists

The “Natchitoches Legacy Art Project” to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Natchitoches was unveiled during a press conference on Wednesday, July 24 at the Hanchey Gallery on Northwestern State’s campus. The public attended and was the FIRST to place beads on the art piece.  

Mardi Gras bead mosaic artist Stephan Wanger has been selected by the Tri-Centennial Steering Committee and by the City of Natchitoches to create an artwork in honor of the 300th anniversary of the founding of the City of Natchitoches, the oldest city within the territory of the original Louisiana Purchase.

‘This is simply called the Natchitoches Legacy Art Project and comes from the efforts of current Bead Town communities to benefit future communities, ‘ said Stephan Wanger, and added ‘I have been inspired by the 28 Oaks from the Oak Alley Plantation that are over 300 years old. The French settler who planted them never got to see the glory and I wanted to live up to that vision of the trees.’

Three hundred prints of the commissioned piece will be sold in order to establish the trust fund so large that in 300 years no child born in Natchitoches Parish will have to worry about the cost of education.

The Natchitoches Legacy Art Project Trust Fund will generate interest over the next 300 years. The purpose is to issue a cash reward to every child born in the City of Natchitoches and the surrounding parish upon completion of high school, college and/or a graduate degree. It is estimated that a $90,000 investment in 2013, with a conservative annual interest of 5%, will generate billions of dollars over the next 300 years. This substantial social investment will ensure that no child born or raised in Natchitoches Parish will have to forgo education due to economic limitation. It is the goal of the Natchitoches 300 Legacy Art Project to start rewarding graduating High School students and College students annually in 25 years, without jeopardizing the final goal.


The Natchitoches Legacy Art Project will be managed by the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc [CRNHA]. Cynthia Sutton, President of CRNHA stated, ‘The Legacy Art Project is an incredible opportunity for Natchitoches. As the community comes together to commemorate 300 years of history, this project looks forward to a future for all Natchitoches children that will be filled with promise.’

‘NSU's School of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)/Department of Fine + Graphic Art is the official host to Bead Town Natchitoches activities and the Natchitoches Legacy Art Project. ‘It's so very exciting to have this incredible opportunity to work together as a community on this project,’ said Leslie Gregory Gruesbeck, gallery director and assistant professor of art. ‘Northwestern and CAPA are pleased to partner with our friends and neighbors in Natchitoches and around our state to make art together today and help create a lasting educational opportunity for our children tomorrow.'’

About Bead Town: Natchitoches, LA

Bead Town: Natchitoches, LA is an exciting, two-month-long, interactive art exhibit that is hosted by any town that would like to share in this unique experience. The project features nearly 80 mosaics completely made out of recycled Mardi Gras Beads, highlighting iconic images from the great state of Louisiana.

Bead Town is a community project and was created by German born mosaic artist Stephan Wanger with the help of over 3,000 students, parents, teachers and volunteers. Art classes organized through the Bead Town project are open to the general public, fun, inspirational and educational.

They teach the value of economic and environmental sustainability and demonstrate unique methods of recycling materials that are too often discarded. Participating schools can work on locally-themed artworks that will always belong to the schools or community that created them, but they must travel with the Bead Town exhibit as long as there is an interest. The created artworks are an extension of Bead Town's efforts to foster community sharing and of increasing awareness for your town through fine art.

Bead Town Natchitoches is funded by the Cane River National Heritage Area.

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA, Inc.) is a not for profit organization that fosters the protection, awareness, and development of traditional lifestyles; the natural and the built environment; and a healthy economy compatible with the historic character of the Cane River National Heritage Area.

Contact Information:
Media Inquiries:
Farrah Reyna 1-800-259-1714

Bead Town: Natchitoches, LA
Samantha Bonnette (318) 352-2746

The Natchitoches Legacy Art Project
Cynthia Sutton (318) 356-5555
Stephan Wanger, Artist (504) 400-4603




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