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Public Art Adventures: Uncovering Public Art Gems in New Orleans

By May 23, 2023 June 16th, 2023 No Comments
Two pictures of public art sculptures to the right placed on a dark blue/green background. To the left, Public Art Adventures: Uncovering Public Art Gems in New Orleans.

Summer is just around the corner, and there’s no better time to plan your next road trip or summer vacation! In April, the Public Art Archive (PAA) team got a head start and recently took a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana to uncover public art gems in some of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Using our new “Art Near Me” feature, we were able to easily explore artworks in our immediate vicinity. Join us as we dive deeper into the public art pieces we discovered in the heart and soul of New Orleans!

Well known for its lively music scene, delicious food, and rich culture, New Orleans is also a popular destination for its art! Our tour began in the Warehouse District, an area filled with bars, brunch spots, and museums. We made our first stop at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where we came across Alluvial Mirror. This stainless steel sculpture by Patrick Marold honors the pedestrian park’s historical site on the riverfront, where a natural sandy beach once emerged because of the river’s alluvial deposits. The piece was influenced by the trumpet’s bell, symbolizing the lively music scene in New Orleans.

Just steps away from the French Quarter, we headed toward Louis Armstrong Park, where we were greeted by Evacuteer by Douglas Kornfeld, a tall figurative sculpture that posed as a pedestrian hailing for a ride. As we approached the piece, we used the PAA app to reference the artwork details and quickly found that there were 16 other identical sculptures located throughout the city for use in mandatory evacuations. This is a prime example of public art being utilized as a way to provide environmental awareness in a city notorious for hurricanes and natural disasters. 

We then continued our journey to Washington Square and experienced the musical culture of Frenchmen Street while heading to our next destination — we were in awe! (If you are into live music, we highly recommend visiting the area.) Once we arrived at Washington Square, we came across the New Orleans Aids Memorial, also known as Guardian Wall. Created by artist Tim Tate, this commemorative sculpture is not one to miss; it not only won the New Orleans International Design Competition, but it provides a space of healing for the community that increases awareness and knowledge about the human impact of the AIDS pandemic.

Our tour concluded with a visit to the New Orleans Public Library (Algiers Regional Branch) to catch a glimpse of Michelle R. Gutlove’s Random Thoughts. This handmade glass sculpture hangs from the ceiling entrance of the library, creating a pleasant and memorable experience for visitors. The piece is an impressionistic tribute to a healthy mind that captures the intricacies of the brain’s structure, tying into the theme of libraries and how they serve and provide the public with access to information and promote lifelong learning for all. 

Exploring public art on-the-go is fun and an excellent way to spark your creativity and discover new areas of the city that you may have otherwise missed. So what are you waiting for? You don’t have to be on a trip or vacation to start exploring public art near you; you can start from exactly where you are right now. Follow these easy steps, and you will be on your way!

  1. Head to publicartarchive.org on your mobile device or desktop.
  2. Mobile: Select “Near me” to view artworks in your immediate vicinity. Desktop: Scroll down to “Art near me” on the homepage. (Make sure your location services are enabled!)
  3. Choose the “On View” option to only view artworks that are currently installed. You can also filter by material, year, and more.
  4. Select “Map” to view where the artworks are located. 
  5. Select a piece of art you want to see and choose “View on map” to get directions on your phone.
  6. Head to the artwork to see it in person.
  7. Click on any of the artworks to view more details.