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.

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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sewing Continues

Students continue to make progress toward completing their "Downtown" style sewing projects. Check back next week to see the finished pieces.

Here It Is

Here's the finished papier mache skull. Very scary!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Them Bones

Filmmaker Royce Osborn took time out today from his role as our documentarian to lead the students in several activities related to New Orleans' skull and bone gangs, another local Black Carnival tradition. Royce has masked for several years now with a neighborhood bone gang.

First, the students were treated to a surprise visit and performance by two skeletons, after which they were able to try on the skeleton costumes. Next, they worked individually to create designs for bone gang aprons. Finally, they worked collaboratively to create the same type of papier mache skull worn by members of the bone gangs. The skull is still drying and will be painted tomorrow. More to come.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Students Customize and Print Their Program T-Shirts

Students have customized and printed their own t-shirts to be worn on field trip days and kept as a memento of the summer. Each shirt has the intensive's logo on the front, but is distinguished by having the student's custom design on the back. Three graduate students from from the Public Practice program at Otis College of Art and Design (thanks Candy, Kate, and Andy) led a silkscreening workshop for students where they worked out their design ideas, first on paper then on the computer, and learned about the steps that comprise the silkscreening process. Xavier art professor Ron Bechet then walked students through how to do the final printing of the t-shirts using the silkscreening equipment in the art department's printmaking studio.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Field Trip to Mardi Gras World

Today was our first field trip day for 2008. We went to Mardi Gras World for an inside look at how floats are made for the city's many mainline Carnival krewes, including Rex, Endymion, Bacchus, and Orpheus. Students began the tour by trying on an assortment of Carnival costumes. They then watched a short film on the history of mainline Mardi Gras, after which they were served king cake, a traditional Carnival season treat. Later, Ms. Lynn, our tour guide, led everyone through Mardi Gras World to see the paint and carpentry shop where artists build and decorate floats as well as the float storage areas.