Based in New Orleans since 2011, Kira Akerman is a documentary filmmaker whose widely circulated 2017 short film exploring New Orleans’s water management system, “Station 15,” also featured Chasity Hunter. Screened in multiple venues, its tour included PBS, DOCNYC, The Climate Museum and a Smithsonian sponsored exhibition that traveled across Louisiana. She is an Artist-in-Residence with Ripple Effect, a New Orleans non-profit pioneering water literacy education. Additionally, her past work has been presented by the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Prospect New Orleans art triennial, and the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, among others.
Multimedia artist Lee Deigaard lives and works in New Orleans and rural Georgia. Her work investigates sensory processing, nonverbal communication, and the ways our bodies intersect with our environment, as well as the boundaries and thresholds of shared experience. She graduated from Yale University and holds graduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan. A member of the New Orleans artist collective The Front since 2010, Deigaard exhibits her work nationally and has also been recognized with an artist residency at the Joan Mitchell Center.
Butch Frosch is a native New Orleans artist who works in the streets to capture the contemporary stories of people living and working in the American South. Inspired by journalistic photography and the Pop Art movement, he is interested in challenging the boundaries of visual representation as it relates to sensory observation and portraiture. Using a camera and paint, he crafts compositions that speak to the texture and feel of personal experience.
Ana Hernandez is a New Orleans based painter and sculptor. In her work, she assembles codes of communication using signs, symbols, and text; language is transformed into a visual vocabulary that emotionally probes the climate of our natural, built, and social environments. A founding member of Level Artist Collective in New Orleans, Hernandez has exhibited widely in the US, including the Schuylkill Center in Philadelphia, the New Orleans Museum of Art, Ulrich Museum of Art in Kansas, and the Mexican Cultural Institute in New Orleans, among other art spaces. Her work has also been recognized by residencies at the Crystal Bridges Museum, the Joan Mitchell Center and Tulane’s A Studio in the Woods.
A native of New Orleans, Epaul Julien began his career as a fine art photographer in 1995 when a near-death experience changed his life. He is self-taught, and creating art for him is a necessity that is vitally linked to his existence. In his work, Julien crafts new critical perspectives on the global histories of Southeastern Louisiana using photo montages and painting, often repurposing imagery sourced from the Internet, mass media, public archives and other works of art. As a solo artist and as part of the collaborative duo E2 with Elizabeth Kleinveld, Julien has exhibited internationally at both public and private institutions, including the Royal Academy of Art in London, Gemeentemuseum in The Netherlands, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and Palazzo Fortuny in Venice.
Raised in Cleveland, MaPó Kinnord is a ceramicist and sculptor who has been based in Louisiana since 1995. Her work explores both form and function, and it is driven by a physical interaction with the material as well as what she describes “the hard-won creative freedom that clay allows”. Exhibited widely in the US, Kinnord has also taught at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. She first began working with ceramics through a Quaker high school arts program in 1975 and apprenticed with several production potters before receiving a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. After living briefly in Berkeley, Kinnord earned an MFA from Ohio State University in 1994. She is presently an Associate Professor of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana.
Anastasia Pelias a painter and New Orleans native. Her work draws upon relationships between people, their narratives and their environments while also exploring the complexities and absurdities of these connections–between man and woman, between mother and daughter, and between friends. Deep ancestral connections are ever-present in Pelias’ works, weaving their way through and in between her exploration of these relationships. Her work is collected internationally and exhibited widely, including displays at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, American University in Washington DC, and the CAC and Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Pelias holds a BFA from Newcomb College of Tulane University and an MFA from the University of New Orleans.
Devin Reynolds is a New Orleans based painter originally from Venice Beach, California, where he grew up working as a deckhand on The Betty O, a local sport-fishing boat. He received a BA in Architecture from Tulane University in 2017. Raised between flea markets, yard sales and the beach, his early childhood memories are filled with times setting up his mother’s booths at antique shows, surfing and fishing up and down the coast. Reynolds’ first encounters with art-making came in his early twenties in the form of graffiti. His obsession for graffiti took off when he began painting his assumed alias on the sides of freight cars that traverse the railroads of North America. Reynolds’ art practice finds itself at the intersection of graffiti and his love for nostalgic Americana design and sign painting, through the lens of his biracial upbringing in Los Angeles.
Based in New Orleans, Taslim van Hattum is a multi-disciplinary artist and graphic documentarian. She creates art that adorns walls, studios, bodies and internet spaces with a multitude of inspirations and creative confrontations. She strives to imagine works that create conversations that need to be had and heard. Van Hattum’s work primarily focuses on how contemporary society intersects with sociopolitical and religious identities, representations and women–challenging and exposing the way in which space, personhood, beliefs, and popular culture are connected and imagined by the viewer. She holds a masters in public health from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Artist Ron Bechet is a native of New Orleans. He studied art at the University of New Orleans where he earned a BA degree and went on to earn an MFA degree from Yale University. Since then he has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. He is known for intimate drawings and paintings inspired by the land and circumstances of Southern Louisiana, knotted and matted and within the African Diaspora tradition of trees connecting earth and sky, the realms of the ancestors and the living. They tell a personal and communal metaphoric story of cultural hybridity. He is currently the Victor H. Labat Professor of Art at Xavier University of Louisiana and has been teaching for over twenty years.
Keith Duncan is a painter and educator based in New Orleans. Inspired by the stories told by African American quilts in the South, Duncan’s work embraces a distinct heritage and vernacular also signified by the people, patterns, and flags appearing in his work. He received a BFA from Louisiana State University and an MFA from Hunter College in New York. His work has been recognized by residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and the Joan Mitchell Center, as well as a Camille Cosby Fellowship and solo exhibitions at the Cue Art Foundation, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum and the Prospect 2 New Orleans triennial, among others.
New Orleans native L. Kasimu Harris is a storyteller who uses writing, photography, and video to push narratives. Published and exhibited internationally, his work has been seen at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, New Orleans Museum of Art and Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, and Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, among other art spaces. Awarded a residency at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, Harris was also named one of eight “Louisianians of the Year” by Louisiana Life magazine in 2017. He holds a masters in journalism from the University of Mississippi and has also participated in the Oxford American Summit for Ambitious Writers and the Poynter Institute’s Fellowship for Young Journalists.
Maria Hinds is a New Orleans based artist, activist, and designer who has worked with multiple organizations advocating for prison reform, including the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3, Innocence Project New Orleans, Abolitionist Law Center, Voice of the Experienced, and Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition. Her work as an artist and community organizer has been featured internationally at museums and galleries such as the Royal College of Art in London, Southern University Law Library in Baton Rouge, Photo Ireland in Dublin, at Café Istanbul, Level Art Collective, and Resurrection After Exoneration in New Orleans. Hinds holds a BA in visual communication from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.
Based in New York, nonagenarian Henrietta Mantooth is a painter and installation artist who has also worked in theater as an actor and designer. Using art as a site of visual storytelling, Mantooth’s work is centered on issues of mass incarceration, racial discrimination and segregation, migrants and refugees–the “displaced”–whether individual or collective. Her development as an artist has been shaped by multidisciplinary and language studies at the University of Mexico City, University of Caracas, and The Art Students League, among other schools. Recognized by an artist residency at the Joan Mitchell Center, Mantooth has exhibited internationally, including the Queens Museum of Art and Artists Space in New York, the 1963 São Paulo Biennial in Brazil, and the Kleinert James Art Center, among other alternative spaces.
Sheila Phipps is a self-taught artist and activist based in Meraux, Louisiana. In her work, she addresses issues of justice and engages visual strategies that raise consciousness, empower, and educate. In 2017, Phipps became the first artist in residence at Bar None, a multidisciplinary initiative that aims to transcend incarceration by offering opportunities for healing through the arts to people who are directly impacted by the carceral system. Exhibited internationally, her work was featured in States of Incarceration, a traveling project of the Humanities Action Lab. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including prizes from the National Conference of Artists and the National Arts Program in New Orleans.
A native of Memphis, Nubian OmiSayade Sun has been based in New Orleans since 2018. She is an artist and spiritual practitioner who strives for openness and divine understanding. In her “Goddess” drawing series, viewers are invited to intuitively locate prophetic messages, stories, connections, feelings, dreams, and beginnings. She describes the process of creating this work as starting “from the universe, and then flowing through my body and out of my fingertips.” Born to a family of artists, she cites Uncle David Green as her greatest inspiration, as they frequently communicate about their visions and messages from the universe, which transform themselves into artwork. Dr. Sun is presently on faculty at the Tulane University School of Social Work.
Multimedia artist Carl Joe Williams is a New Orleans native who creates large scale installations and narrative-driven work that speaks to our collective human condition. His upcycled assemblages, vibrant color combinations and rhythmic geometric patterns echo African diasporic memory as well as natural systems. Transportive visual experiences are crafted through Williams’ use of reflective, kinetic, sonic and textured elements. A founding member of Level Artist Collective in New Orleans, Williams has exhibited his work nationally, including the Crystal Bridges Museum, The Frist Art Museum, McKenna Museum of African American Art, Telfair Museum and Hammonds House Galleries, among other institutions. He has also been awarded a residency at the Joan Mitchell Center. Williams studied at the Atlanta College of Art after attending the New Orleans Center for Creative Art (NOCCA).
Allison Beondé is a visual artist living in New Orleans and currently an MFA candidate in photography at Tulane University. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in partnership with Tufts University. Support for Beondé’s past work includes fellowships from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as grants from Light Work and The Canary Lab at Syracuse University.
Based in Los Angeles, Amy Elkins is a visual artist primarily working in photography. She has spent the past decade researching, creating and exhibiting work that explores the multifaceted nature of masculine identity as well as the psychological and sociological impacts of incarceration. Her approach is series-based, steeped in research and oscillates between formal, conceptual and documentary. Winner of the 2017 Lucie Independent Book Award, Elkins has exhibited and published internationally, including displays at the Kunsthalle Wein in Austria, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, among others. She holds a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York.
A creator of installations and performances that challenge the hierarchies of gender and class, Cherice Harrison-Nelson is a leader of the African-American Carnival dress art tradition which uses narrative beadwork, dance, featherwork and chanting with percussive instrumentation. She is the third of five generations in her family to participate in this authentic New Orleans art form, a ritual handed down from her late father, Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. She is perhaps best known locally as Maroon Queen “Reesie” of the Mardi Gras Indian Tribe Guardians of the Flame. A co-founder and curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, Harrison-Nelson has published four books and coordinated numerous exhibitions focused on our region’s West African-inspired cultural expressions. As an artist, she has exhibited and performed internationally and has produced multiple films. Her work is part of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum and has also been recognized by a 2016 USA Artist Fellowship, a Fulbright scholarship and an award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Queen Mother Supreme Herreast J. Harrison of the Mardi Gras Indian Tribe Guardians of the Flame (Cherice’s Mother) is an accomplished artist, the co-founder of the Guardians Institute and director of the Donald Harrison, Sr. Museum. She is a fifth-generation quilter known for incorporating intricate beaded motifs and symbols into her works. Harrison has presented quilting workshops to elementary, high school, and college students throughout the United States and internationally, to share her understanding of the origins and traditions of African-American cultural art forms. After Hurricane Katrina, she served as artist-in-residence at McMain Secondary School and Joseph Maggiore Elementary School. An advocate of literacy and of indigenous cultural traditions, she served as a 2009 visiting artist and scholar at the Tulane University’s Newcomb College. Her works are held in multiple collections including the National Civil Rights Museum and the Preambe Center for Public Policy as well as the private collection of Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka. She holds a masters in museum studies from Southern University at New Orleans.
Based in Violet, just outside of New Orleans, photographer Tammy Mercure often works in book form and creates images that concern the rites and rituals of the American South, and the relationship one has to the land. In 2012, Mercure was named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine. A member of the artist collective Antenna in New Orleans, she exhibits and publishes her work internationally, including displays at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, among others. She holds a BA from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA from East Tennessee State University.
New Orleans native Rontherin Ratliff is a conceptual artist who creates mixed-media assemblages, art installations, and sculptures. His work directly responds to everyday experience and the surrounding environment. A founding member of the Level Artist Collective, Ratliff is also a member of the Antenna artist collective (both in New Orleans) and was trained at Delgado Community College. His past projects have been supported by residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center, the National Performance Network, and Court 13 as well as grants from the New Orleans Arts Council, Blights Out, Adeline Edwards Foundation and Joan Mitchell Foundation. Exhibitions of Ratliff’s work have also included the New Orleans Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Sculptors Guild of New York at Governor’s Island, DiverseWorks in Houston, and “ExhibitBE” at Crescent City Gates in New Orleans, among other venues.
Based in New Orleans, jackie sumell is a multidisciplinary artist and prison abolitionist inspired most by the lives of everyday people. Her work has been successfully anchored at the intersection of activism, education, and art for over a decade, and it has been exhibited extensively throughout the US and Europe. sumell’s work with Herman Wallace, a prisoner-of-consciousness and member of the “Angola 3,” has positioned her at the forefront of the public campaign to end solitary confinement in the United States. Her practice explores the intersection of social sculpture, mindfulness practices, and prison abolition. She continues to work on “Herman’s House,” “Solitary Gardens,” and several other community generated, advocacy-based projects. Holding a bachelors from the College of Charleston and an MFA from Stanford University, sumell is also the recipient of multiple residencies and fellowships including A Blade of Grass Fellowship, Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, Soros Justice Fellowship, Eyebeam Project Fellowship, and a Schloss Solitude Residency Fellowship, among others.
Raised in Wisconsin, Ryn Wilson is an interdisciplinary artist living in New Orleans. Working with photography and video installation, she often incorporates performance, textile, collage, sculpture, and sound into her practice. Wilson takes a cinematic approach to narratives with an emphasis on feminism, mythology, and the environment. Her work acknowledges that the people currently in power do not prioritize preserving the land, and it considers how things might be different in a matriarchy. A member of the New Orleans artist collective The Front since 2014, she holds a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an MFA from the University of New Orleans.