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Inspired to inspire: local artist, ULM instructor uniting the Twin Cities

Published June 13, 2016

As a young girl, Brooke Foy would watch her father, a contractor and builder, create things with his own hands.

The banging of a hammer, the shrill whine of a power tool, and the rapid movement of a saw were all familiar sounds.

Her father’s tools soon became instruments of her own mind, as she developed a passion to create things for herself.

Today, she is uniting the Twin Cities through her works of art and infectious passion for life.

A native of West Monroe, Foy attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to play soccer and major in architecture.

But she had a change of heart.

“I completed just enough art classes to realize that architecture had too many rules and restrictions,” said Foy. “I loved to make, take photos, and use power tools.” 

Foy made the decision to transfer to the University of Louisiana Monroe to major in art. After graduating from ULM with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she then moved to Memphis, Tenn. to attend the University of Memphis, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture just three years later.

After brief stints in Memphis and Austin, TX, she made her way back to northeast Louisiana, where she accepted a position to teach art in ULM’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.

“We are very proud to have Brooke on our faculty,” said Lisa Miller, ULM Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Recruitment and Communication. “She is full of life, passionate about teaching, and incredibly talented as an artist—traits that make her stand out both on campus and within the community.”

brooke foy
Foy standing in front of the Trenton Street levee wall.
The mural was part of the "One Mile of Love" project,
which Foy oversaw.

At ULM, Foy teaches all of the art history, art appreciation, and studio ‘3D’ classes (sculpture and 3D). The students, she says, are what make ULM such a great place to teach.

“Teaching at ULM has been the best experience for me,” she said. “It is my first full time position and I could not be happier to be here teaching such a wonderful group of students.”  

Her drive, passion for teaching, and enthusiasm in the classroom make her a campus favorite.

“Brooke definitely makes learning fun,” said Heather Nicole Ramsey, a senior Art major from West Monroe. “As an artist, Brooke is very inspiring. As an art instructor, she is constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to get her students to learn.” 

Since coming back to the Monroe area, Foy has had a heartfelt desire to see the cities of Monroe and West Monroe come together.

“I have a vision for our community. I am trying to help others see the beauty in all things and to know what it means to be united,” she said.

Many locals see the Ouachita River as the “great divider” between Monroe and West Monroe, but Foy wants to change this perception.

“We don’t need a divide; we need bridges,” she said.

A year ago, she started a local art company called ARROW Public Art, which stands for “Artists Radically Reinventing Our World.” The main focus of ARROW is to bring together ideas and to establish partnerships within the community in an effort to unite the Twin Cities.

One of the recent projects of ARROW is the creation of a 20-foot street medallion in the middle of Antique Alley in downtown West Monroe. This medallion, which depicts a steamboat and cotton around the words “Historic West Monroe,” was the brainchild of the Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group, whose mission is “to further the common good and general welfare of the people who frequent Downtown West Monroe and for bringing back civic betterment and social improvements,” according to the group’s website. 

“Brooke is a go-getter,” said Alana Cooper, President and CEO of the Monroe and West Monroe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “She is the conduit that connects both cities together through her art. Her projects, like the medallion project, are helping to revitalize both downtown districts and to bring together schools, families, and businesses.”

Foy has also coordinated the painting of murals, public art projects, facilitated a gallery in downtown Monroe and a community garden, run art camps for kids, and much more. One of her highlighted projects from last year was "The One Mile of Love" project, where she and a team of artists repainted the Trenton Street levee wall with 270 drawings. 

And her work is not going unnoticed.

On March 1, she was awarded the “Rising Professional Award” for her creative leadership at ULM’s inaugural Women’s Symposium. Three days later, she was awarded the Edmund Williamson Artist of the Year Award at the 31st Annual Artworks Awards of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.

According to Foy, she has no intention of slowing down.

“I love taking on new projects, coming up with new ideas, and collaborating with like-minded people and groups who share my vision,” she said.

One of her upcoming projects includes the restoration of four Coca-Cola “ghost” murals in Monroe and West Monroe. “There are two in Monroe and two in West Monroe, and my focus will be on cleaning them and repainting them back to their original, bright colors,” said Foy.

She also has plans to spice up ULM’s campus with artworks similar to what she’s doing in the community, including a street medallion. One unique project has already been realized. In April, Foy publicly unveiled a new turtle sculpture that will reside in Bayou Park. The sculpture highlights the many different turtle species that live right on campus in the beautiful Bayou DeSiard.

“I want people to realize that we need art,” Foy said. “We need to bring some vibrancy to our community. The little things make a difference. People cannot even imagine the impact until it’s done."

One might say there is a little taste of art in all of us.

For Foy, the sky is the limit.


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