Car named Aurora celebrates 30th annual Gala


NATCHITOCHES – A car named Aurora will greet guests attending Northwestern State University’s 30th annual Christmas Gala this week.  The Mazda RX-8 art car parked in front of A.A. Fredericks Auditorium was completed specifically for the Gala celebration to commemorate the Christmas Gala and the thousands of spectators who have been entertained by it over the years.


“Scott Burrell [assistant director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts] and I began talking about the possibility of creating a design to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Gala earlier this semester,” said Collier Hyams, professor of art.  “I designed it loosely based around the Gala theme.”


The design theme is centered around the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights presented in Pop Art Ben-Day dot style made famous by Roy Lichtenstein with Dr. Seuss influenced Christmas trees, Hyams explained.


“I borrowed the cut paper snowflake idea from one of our design class projects and the Zipper is unzipping like a sweater to reveal a darker layer showing the Gala Logo. This is a nod to Clark Kent transforming into Superman showing the big S logo. The purple mouth section is a nod to the Jaguar and Ferarri LeMans racecars of the 1950s and 1960s. The purple lips are also for my daughter Juliet and purple for NSU. If I had to name her she would be ‘Aurora.’


The car will be featured in the Natchitoches Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 1 with participants in Gala, including actors, dancers, musicians and artists. The parade rolls at 1 p.m. in downtown Natchitoches.


Contributing to its completion were Professor of Art Leslie Gruesbeck, who headed up interior decorations; NSU Graphic Designer Beth Mann, who created the Gala 30th anniversary logo, and Larrie King, graphic designer and NSU alum, who designed the 30th anniversary logo for NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.


The project was made possible by CAPA, NSU Christmas Gala, NSU Facilities and Mazda North American Operations. Pixus Printers of Lafayette printed the design.


The car will remain in front of A.A. Fredericks through the end of the semester.


The NSU Christmas Gala will be performed through Nov. 30 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance times are 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Nov. 30. Tickets are still available through Tickets are $15. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D. For more information, call (318) 357-4522.

Designed by NSU Art Professor Collier Hyams, Aurora the art car commemorates the 30th anniversary of NSU’s Christmas Gala and will be on display outside A.A. Fredericks Auditorium through Dec. 14.