Pelican Bomb writer reflects on New Orleans art spaces

November 23, 2018

Pelican Bomb’s announcement that they will conclude operations spawned Amy Mackie to reflect on the changes in the New Orleans art world throughout the years, including art residencies such as those at A Studio in the Woods.

As a final contribution to the online arts publication, Pelican Bomb invited me to revisit my essay, “How to ‘Soak’ in New Orleans,” which appeared in a publication for the Hand-in-Glove Conference (now the Common Field Convening) and on Temporary Art Review in 2013, as a way to reflect on this time of flux. At that time, “How to ‘Soak’” was an attempt to survey the flurry of activities and the resurgence the visual arts community (most specifically the nonprofit and alternative spaces in the city) experienced post-Katrina and to give its development some context. Five years later, it is clear that much in the city has changed, though so many other things have remained the same. There are certainly more people and many new buildings alongside renovated ones, a new streetcar and more bicycle lanes, and additional necessities like grocery stores. The city’s refined landscape leaves a lot of questions about how this rapid growth will alter this place, while New Orleans’ traditions such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest continue to dictate the population’s communal calendar, as they always have. The city certainly has more resources than just a few years ago, though the small but active art community continues to operate—and thrive—despite little funding. Click here to read the full article.