POSTED Tue. Sep 24, 2013
Community Arts Awards come to CAC tonight
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

The Community Arts Awards, presented by the Arts Council of New Orleans, go off at the Contemporary Arts Center tonight from 5-7pm tonight. General admission tickets can be bought at the door for $30. Here, we speak with Arts Council event planner Morgan Sasser about the year’s biggest public awards ceremony for the city’s creative community.

Why are these awards important?
This event really honors the individuals and institutions that have made significant and extraordinary contributions to the arts community in New Orleans. It’s a way to give thanks and appreciate to these individuals.

Can you speak to the accomplishments of some of the award recipients?
All of them are so wonderful. Jan Gilbert is not only a native New Orleans girl and an artist through and through; she cares for her craft and she cares so much for so many of her colleagues.

That seems to be a theme – the talent getting recognized has not just been doing good work, but has been helping others do good work.
Yes. John Lawrence is an amazing photographer and curator. Brilliant, but also one of the mot accesible and down to Earth people you’ll ever meet. He really honors the medium of photography in a humble way. And with his photographic skill in mind, a lot of his achievements have to do with the impact he has made at the Williams Research Center, the Historic New Orleans Collection and the general photographic history of new Orleans.

James Rivers is a musical legend of New Orleans, and as New Orleanian as possible. Henri Schindler may be the world’s foremost scholar of Carnival and Mardi Gras. He has so much understanding of where we’ve been as a culture. His work is really beautiful, and solidifies the fact that Mardi Gras is not just a holiday, but a culture and way of life. Three of his float design related works will be on display animating the CAC warehouse.

Besides his notoriety on Mad Men, Bryan Batt is just a proud artist and actor. He’s made so many inroads within the theater community, procuring spaces and funding. He’s been at the forefront of keeping theater alive and well in New Orleans.

The recipients aren’t just individuals, right?
We have two art organizations and institutions that are being honored as well. I don’t think anyone can think of any top five cornerstones of New Orleans without mentioning Preservation Hall. It’s a beautiful space, and a beautiful institution that honors the music and history of New Orleans. That it manages to do so a block from Bourbon speaks to its power. The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane has grown by leaps and bounds, and is now on the same wavelength of NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park.

So what can people expect at the awards?
Tonight is going to be be different from how this event was structured in the past. Those were great, but this is gonna be a lot of fun.There’s a wider range in terms of price, first of all. In previous years the ceremony attendees were only sitting in a table structure, but now we have general admission. This means different levels of accessibility, which we wanted to expand.

You’ll see the recipients in all their glory escorted by a dancers done up in Hunger Games style makeup by Buff Beauty Bar. We’re saying this will be somewhere between the Hunger Games tribute parade and MTV video awards. It seems appropriate to have dancers acting as escorts, as [award recipient] Mary Munro is such a foundation of dance in this city.

OperaCreole will be closing out the ceremony. Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the Health Commissioner of New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker, and will speak to how art relates to public health, how it needs to be cultivated for good public heart.

Anything else you’d like to add?
This is an opportunity for the Arts Council to make a statement that we are going to honor the artists as we have in the past, but to do so in a unique and stimulating way that is as creative as the artists themselves. And I feel like we’re touching on every single medium tonight.We have musicians, carnival float designers, painters and photographers.

Above image courtesy of the Arts Councilof New Orleans.


    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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