Tucked away in Shreveport’s South Highlands neighborhood, the R.W. Norton Art Gallery is an art lover’s paradise. I’ve lived in Shreveport for 15 years, and I still feel compelled to visit the Norton about once a month. In a 2012 review of the museum, The Wall Street Journal art critic Willard Spiegelman wrote “the unpredictable thing about places like this is not only the serendipity of your initial discovery but also the charming hodgepodge assortment of what you can discover there.” Spiegelman is correct. The R.W. Norton Art Gallery is a joy to explore.
The museum’s collection includes more than 400 paintings as well as hundreds of sculptures, prints, decorative arts and tapestries. Works by famous artists such as Auguste Rodin, Mary Cassatt, George Inness and Winslow Homer are a part of this eclectic collection. Many well-known Louisiana artists, from John James Audubon (the Norton owns an extremely rare double elephant folio edition of Birds of America) to Clementine Hunter, are also represented. Entire galleries are dedicated to the work of Western art icons Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell.
If you’re planning a visit to the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, here are some tips:
Save time for the trails. The Norton sits on 40 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens which can be explored via a system of hilly, scenic walking trails. Visiting the museum without walking the trails is like seeing only half of the museum.
Visit when the azaleas are blooming. Norton’s azaleas are so popular, they’ve got their own webcam. More than 15,000 azalea plants burst into bloom simultaneously each spring, usually near the end of March. Walking the trails while the azaleas are blooming is an incredible experience.
If possible, take a First Saturday Tour. On the first Saturday of each month, the Norton hosts a free, themed tour for the public. Art lovers gather for tours with themes such as Great Artists Who Happen to be Women and Depictions of Native Americans in Art.
Leave your camera in the car. The museum has a strict no photography policy actively enforced everywhere on the grounds, including the gardens as well as inside and outside of the museum.
The R.W. Norton Art Gallery is free and open to the public. For museum hours, directions and other useful information, visit the museum’s website.