Michael Reno Harrell to tell stories, play music, display artwork at Cochran Gallery

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, July 31, 2021

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On Tuesday, as part of the Azalea Storytelling Committee and the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts’ ongoing celebration leading up to the 25th Annual Azalea Storytelling Festival in March of 2022, Michael Reno Harrel will tell stories, play music, and display his original artwork at the Cochran Gallery on East Court Square, according to a press release from LSPA. Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. The performance and art display will be open to the public. Admission will be free, though donations will be appreciated.

Harrell, a storyteller and award-winning musician, has been a featured teller at the Azalea Storytelling Festival four times and has entertained at local venues such as Pure Life Studios and in schools, as well.

Having always enjoyed drawing, Michael wandered away from the visual arts when, at 12-years-old, he got his first guitar and fell in love with writing and performing music.

He was determined to be a star. But he found he needed to pay his bills until he got his big break, so he began working for a sign shop, creating small paintings to illustrate how a sign might look on a building for salesmen to use as marketing tools. He soon found himself adding details to the signs — a bird sitting on the sign here, a man on the sidewalk looking at the sign there.

They were good, but still, he pushed on with his dream of sharing his music with the world.

Harrell did become a star, gracing storytelling and musical stages across the country, often working story into song,and song into story, and his drawing and painting took a back seat to his dream.

These days Harrell is happily singing, telling stories, creating lovely and compelling drawings, and enjoying success with all three.

When asked about whether he’d rather be renowned for visual art, music, or storytelling, Michael answered, “It’s all art to me.” He says that art needs to evoke feeling, whether good or bad, and that he uses his music, storytelling, and visual artwork to do just that.