With so much to do in New Orleans, many forget that the city’s art scene is just as vibrant as the food and music. Check out the highlighted exhibits below and search our calendar to find even more art in New Orleans.
At the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, “In the Spirit of Black” features work created and curated by writer and activist Kalamu ya Salaam; feminist activist, researcher, and artist Shana M. Griffin; photographer and activist Eric Waters; and photographer and historian Girard Mouton, III. The exhibit also includes input from graphic designer and photographer, Lydia Araya; visual artist, writer, and curator, Renee Royale; and several other photographers, scholars, designers, artists, writers, and partnering organizations. The exhibition is on view until May 27, 2023.
M. S. Rau presents “Witty World of Patrick Hughes,” a mesmerizing exhibition showcasing Hughes’ brilliant mind. Experience the optical illusions that have made Hughes a leading figure in contemporary art. See perspective, dimensions, and humor at play through 3D paintings that move with you. The exhibit runs for a limited time only, April 1 – May 30, 2023.
A new exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art, “Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club” explores the connection between African American artist Jacob Lawrence and his contemporaries based in West Africa through the Nigerian publication “Black Orpheus.” The exhibition features over 125 objects, including Lawrence’s little-known 1964–65 Nigeria series, works by the artists featured in “Black Orpheus,” archival images, videos, and letters. The exhibit closes on May 7, 2023.
A new special exhibition featuring the works of Texan and Jewish artist Maurice Schmidt will run at the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience through May 31, 2023. Titled “God, Goats and Pickup Trucks: Maurice Schmidt’s Visions of Texas,” the exhibition features 23 artworks, including paintings, sketches, prints, and sculpture colorfully depicting scenes both rural and religious, created over Schmidt’s long career.
The Historic New Orleans Collection presents: “Yet She Is Advancing": New Orleans Women and the Right to Vote, 1878-1970,” a new exhibit open on April 28. The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution extended the vote to American women in 1920. Its passage served as the crowning achievement of a decades-long struggle by women across the nation to be part of the democratic process. Although divided by race, class, and political strategy, Black and white women in New Orleans played a significant role in the women’s suffrage movement.
Yet the story of women’s voting rights in New Orleans does not end in 1920. The federal amendment granted all women the right to vote, but Louisiana laws effectively disenfranchised Black women. As many white women began going to the polls and increasing their political participation in segregation-era New Orleans, African American women continued to fight for access to the ballot. From paying their poll taxes to organizing voter registration drives, Black women challenged their status as second-class citizens up to and through the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The exhibition runs through November 5, 2023.