Call Anya Burgess a luthier, but know that the term has nothing to do with her religion. Burgess is part of a rare profession of artists who make and repair stringed musical instruments.
Burgess shows off her skills as a luthier Friday, July 15 during First Fridays with a Little Lagniappe, the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission’s showcase of local artists. Burgess displays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the new St. Landry Parish Visitor Information Center at exit 23 on I-49, just north of Opelousas.
Burgess will show various stages of the violin building process -- from chunks of wood to the finished instrument. She will also play the fiddle, which she does professionally with Bonsoir Catin and the Magnolia Sisters, two all-female Cajun bands.
Since 2002, Burgess has owned and operated Anya Violins, a violin making, repair and restoration shop that sits on the Bayou Teche between Arnaudville and Cecilia. She builds, repairs and rents violins to a clientele that ranges from classical violinists to Cajun fiddlers.
A native of Winchester, Mass., Burgess studied violin making at Indiana University and received an associate’s degree in stringed instrument technology. Burgess joined Teach for America, an organization that sends recent graduates to teach in low-income areas around the country.
Burgess landed in south Louisiana and immediately became involved in the region’s vibrant music scene.
Admission is free to the First Fridays series, which continues through Sept. 16. The remainder of the schedule includes:
· Aug. 5 – The Art of Debris: Mixed Media, Art Created from Found Objects with Trish Ransom and Michelle Fontenot
· Aug. 19 – The Art of Mixed Media, with George Marks and hand-sculpted clay from Annie Hendrix
· Sept. 2 – A Celebration of Creole Culture with Rebecca Henry’s native crafts and painter Jerome Ford
· Sept. 16 – A Piece of Art is Worth a Thousand Words with former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque and Patrice Melnick
The First Fridays series is held at the new St. Landry Parish Visitor Information Center, which held its grand opening May 23. With numerous environmentally-friendly features, the center promotes green construction and sustainable practices, both old and new.
First Fridays is supported in part by a Grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Acadiana Arts Council.
For more information, call the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission at (337) 948-8004. Follow the center on Twitter @StLandryParish or on Facebook at St. Landry Parish – It’s Gumbo for Your Soul.