This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Art4Moore Foundation, and the Sewing Machine Project.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Alert

Due to the threat posed by Hurricane Gustav to the New Orleans area, the campus of Xavier University is now closed. The campus will reopen on Thursday, September 6. For those students who had yet to pick up their projects from the Art Village, please know that we have moved your artwork to a secure location. You may retrieve your work once campus has reopened. In the unfortunate event of an extended evacuation like the one following Katrina, we will make alternative arrangements to get your artwork to you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

2008 Mardi Gras Indian Arts Intensive Ends

The 2008 Mardi Gras Indian Arts Intensive concluded with an exhibition of student work at the Xavier University Library Art Gallery. The exhibition ran from August 1-11. Check back later for images from that event. Also check back within the next few weeks for news of exciting fall and spring exhibitions and events. These exhibitions and events are still in development. We will provide further details when available. Thanks again to everyone who made this summer's program a huge success!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who's "The Prettiest"?

Walter Landry, instructor for the "Uptown" sewing portion of the curriculum, brought in his suit from this year's Mardi Gras for students to view and try on. Students who tried on the suit got a feel for just how heavy all of the beaded pieces are when worn together. They also got a sense of what it is like to try to move around while carrying the weight of a suit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Sewing in the "Uptown" Style

Here are some more images of students' work in the "Uptown" sewing style.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Learning the "Uptown" Style

This week, students began learning the "Uptown" style of sewing a Mardi Gras Indian costume. Walter Landry, who has masked with the Golden Arrows and the Golden Blades Mardi Gras Indian Tribes, is serving as instructor for the next two weeks. During the next two weeks, students will learn how to sew both a patch and a brooch. Patches and brooches are important foundation pieces when creating an Uptown style Mardi Gras Indian suit. Patches are created by beading pictures onto canvas. Brooches, which are added to suits as jewelry-like adornment, are also created on canvas using gemstones and rhinestones.

Filmmaker Rebecca Snedeker Pays Students A Visit

Filmmaker Rebecca Snedeker stopped by yesterday to screen her film By Invitation Only for students. The film is a documentary giving viewers an unprecedented look into the exclusive world of New Orleans' mainline Carnival krewes and their traditions. For more information about the film or to view a trailer, click here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That's A Wrap!

Students wrapped up filming today for the Mardi Gras Indian claymation movie. Everyone celebrated by watching a rough cut of the film. Gabe, Kate, and Amanda supplied the popcorn and juice. Additional edits will be made before the film has its premiere at our exhibition of student work on August 1, but it already looks great!

Filming Begins

Wednesday marked the first day of filming for our Mardi Gras Indian claymation movie being made with the help of our friends Amanda, Gabe, and Kate from NYU.

You Can Do That?

Kate Hartman from New York University's Interactive Technology Program teaches students how to use conductive fabric and LED lights to create wearable electronics. Imagine a Mardi Gras Indian suit all lit up!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Session 2 Begins

Today marked the beginning of session 2. In this session, students will learn the "Uptown" style of making a Mardi Gras Indian suit, but first they are creating a claymation film which will serve as a nice review of everything they have learned thus far. The film will depict what happens when two Big Chiefs meet on Mardi Gras morning.

Students began today by creating the wire "skeletons" for their clay characters out of armature wire and then covering those skeletons with clay to add skin, hair, clothing, and other details. This project would not be possible without three very good friends from New York University's Interactive Technology Program, Amanda O'Brien, Kate Hartman, and Gabriel Barcia-Colombo. Amanda, Kate, and Gabe are here to teach our students the fundamentals of claymation , among other cool projects, to reinforce their study of Mardi Gras Indian art and culture. Check back throughout the week for updates on our progress. Thanks also to Marianne Petit from NYU's ITP who got the ball rolling for Amanda, Kate, and Gabe's participation this summer.

Session 1 Ends

Session 1 ended on June 27 with a field trip to the New Orleans African American Museum. Thanks again to Big Chief Darryl Montana, our instructor for the first four weeks of the program. Thanks also to Jessica Legaux and Maureen Crittenden who served as program assistants for session 1. Jessica is a Xavier art major. Maureen is a visiting student from Bard College participating in the Bard College Urban Studies Program in New Orleans. A final thanks to Mary Hill who served as the Community Arts Program Assistant at Xavier for the past year. Mary is leaving to pursue graduate studies at the University of Southern California this fall.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taking A Break

Students take a break from sewing to learn ceramics with MaPo Kinnord-Payton. MaPo is an associate professor of art and departmental chair at Xavier University. She is just back from a trip to Ghana where she has worked for several years now on clay projects and to help build kilns.

Thanks Again to Margaret and the Sewing Machine Project

Here are some more images of students putting the finishing touches on their "Downtown" style sewing projects - this time with the help of some sewing machines donated to us by our good friend Margaret Jankowski and her Sewing Machine Project. Thanks again Margaret!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Downtown" Style Projects Near Completion

Here are some images of "Downtown" style projects that are nearing completion. More to come.

Let's Dance

Ausettua AmorAmenkum, Director of Kumbuka African Dance & Drum Collective, stopped by this past Friday to teach students a few dance moves. She helped them see the link between dances that are familiar to them as New Orleanians and African and Caribbean dances. Assettua also masks as a Mardi Gras Indian Queen.

Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective is dedicated to the preservation of African and African-American folklore through the medium of dance, music and song. Kumbuka consists of fifteen men, women, and children, ranging in ages from 9 to 55. This collection of artists are dancers, musicians, jewelers, drum makers, and costume designers. These artists have studied extensively in Senegal, Ghana, Guinea, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and St. Louis. Kumbuka's objectives whenever performing are to increase knowledge of African culture, demonstrate the significance that African culture has in elevating self-esteem, self-view, and self-knowledge of young persons, familiarize the audience with rhythms, music, and movement, and strengthen ability, stamina, flexibility, and agility. The repertoire consists of dances from Senegal, Guinea, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans.