Rosetree Glass Studio
By Maggie Denena
Day three the Leapsters explored all things art!
Our first stop this morning was to the Rosetree Blown Glass Studio & Gallery, owned by Mark Rosenbaum.
Mark established his studio in an old one-screen theater, placing the furnaces where the screen used to be. The “theater” is where Mark and fellow glass blowers work to create the beautiful pieces displayed in the gallery. Featured on HGTV, the shop has the episode looped, allowing visitors (such as us) to watch the show, from several years ago, of him working in his studio. Sitting next to the TV stand was the lamp and lamp shade which he worked on in the episode.
We did learn a few things from the clip. For instance, hot glass will not stick to a cool metal rod unless the rod is very hot. The episode also displayed some shaping techniques Mark uses. Mark uses a blowing technique to make the glass expand. Also, Mark uses gravity to lengthen the glass and he achieves this effect by repeatedly turning the glass upside down.
But we also had a chance to watch him live. There is a large window allowing visitors and tourists to watch Mark and the other glass blowers work in the studio, going through the motions of creating vases, ornaments, candle sticks, glasses and other neat pieces. A couple of us got a piece of blown glass or jewelry! Specifically, Miranda got a glass pumpkin and Makayla got earrings. Following the art studio, we decided to settle our hunger with lunch!
By Miranda Estrada
For lunch we headed near the Arts District of New Orleans to enjoy cuisine that fuses elements from Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, West Africa, and South America while using local ingredients. The restaurant was Carmo’s. Maggie ordered the Esmeralda Salad, which combined quinoa, black beans, corn, peppers, and cilantro on a bed of organic lettuce all tossed in a coconut chili lime vinaigrette. Miranda enjoyed Carmo’s Yellow Fish Tuna Sandwich which offered a unique twist to a classic favorite by adding cucumbers and avocado and opting for a vinaigrette instead of mayo. Ilexus decided to try the “Rico” which is a breadless Sandwich, comprised of a grilled plantain patty topped with melted cheese, spicy smoked pulled pork, avocado, salsa, and tangy sweet spicy “Rico” sauce.
Overall we enjoyed the fusion of the cuisine and headed to the Arts District for our next stop.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
By Makayla Mason
Established in 1999, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art holds a large collection of Southern art.
Again, we were greeted with a James Surls sculpture, titled “Me, Knife, Diamond and Flower,” before even entering the museum.
The museum has four floors of art. We started at the top floor and worked our way down. And, while on the top floor (the roof, actually), we saw a work by Jesus Moroles…
…reminding us that we are fortunate to have the Wynne Home Arts Center in Huntsville–the arts Center that introduced us to both James Surls and Jesus Moroles.
The museum was also full of new artists for us to explore. There was an entire exhibit of American Abstract Expressionist Dusti Bongé. She had interesting pieces about her dreams and voids that stems from the Zen lifestyle. A favorite piece from her dreams collection is titled “Sunflower Dream.”
There was an exhibit titled “Louisiana Contemporary,” a competition among artists living in Louisiana to “highlight the dynamism of art practice throughout the state.” This year the competition was judged by David Breslin who is the Director of Curatorial Initiatives at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This was interesting because Professor Yawn, Stephanie, and Makayla had recently visited the Whitney. This collection included pieces from artists such as Ben Depp, who specializes in aerial photography. With the use of a paraglider, Depp creates aerial photos of Louisiana’s eroding wetlands.
A particularly interesting exhibit titled “Virtual Idylls” by artist Courtney Egan. This portion of the exhibit was interactive.
Projected onto the wall were flowers native to New Orleans; half were bloomed and the other half were not. Sensors captured our movement and as we walked down the wall, the bloomed flowers died in our shadow and the unbloomed flowers bloomed.
Another artist we found interesting was Benny Andrews. Themes within Andrews’ work includes suffering, injustices, and Christianity. Most of his pieces are collage inspired and often incorporates fabric and paper cutouts to create texture within his work.
After making our way through the exhibits…
we stopped at the gift shop to make a few purchases before going across the street to the Contemporary Arts Center.
Contemporary Art Center
By Miranda Estrada
After the Ogden we crossed the street to see the exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center which is currently featuring two Open Call Exhibitions. One entitled “Identity Measures” featuring works by 23 different artists who live in New Orleans or the surrounding region. This exhibition’s theme is that the understanding that the shaping of identity is comprised of race, gender, socioeconomic standing, geographical, physical, and ideological experiences. My personal favorite from the exhibit were Matrilineal Portrait and Patrilineal Portrait both by Christina Molina, The photographs featuring the generations of women in Molina’s family. In the photos all of Molina’s family wear the same pattern of clothing (designed by Molina herself) but there is variation in the style of clothing representing that while they are “cut from the same cloth” every member of the family plays a different role in the familial hierarchy.
The second Open Call Exhibition is “inheritance and Immanence: The World We Are Left With” features teen artists from different high schools reflecting on issues such as the rapid rise of gentrification, climate change, higher levels of anxiety and depression and its effect. A popular favorite among the group was “My Citi” by Morrah Burton Edwards, in the self-portrait Edwards is reflecting on the gentrification she is surrounded by in her neighborhood, and how she must now reinvent her sense of familiarity in a neighborhood that is now full of condominiums.
Another piece that Maggie, Makayla, and Ilexus really enjoyed was entitled “Testing Week” that challenged the ability of standardized testing to effectively enhance critical thinking skills in the youth of America and asks the question “How can one be prepared to handle the world’s problems when they only know how to beat the clock on a multiple choice test”.
This art museum was truly incredible and eye-opening. Following the Contemporary Art Museum, we made our way to another to discover more art!
Before making it to our third art museum for the day, we stopped by St. Louis Cemetery #1.
This cemetery is the resting place for the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, Nicholas Cage, and Homer Plessy. This particular cemetery was not easily accessible to the public due to its locked gates to decrease vandalism (there are $20 tours available at certain times). However, this did not prevent us from trying to discover the most famous graves. Let’s just say teamwork is an understatement!
We saw Nicolas Cage’s grave, which is in pyramidal.
Our coolest discovery, however, was the grave of Homer Plessy.
Homer Plessy challenged the segregation laws in Louisiana by violating the “separate cars act,” which required train cars to be segregated by race. Plessy was biracial, but he was “white-passing”, so he was allowed to sit in the “white-only” passenger car until he told the conductor that he is partially black. As a result, Plessy was arrested. Eventually, Plessy’s case was taken to the US Supreme Court where the “separate but equal” law was upheld. However, Plessy’s case laid the groundwork for future civil rights law.
Speaking of which, this prompted us to find the spot where Plessy caught his train.
The City of New Orleans has created a civil-rights themed park nearby, and we visited that, too.
A highlight was seeing a silhouette of Ruby Bridges, made famous in photographs and Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With.”
New Orleans Museum of Art
by Maggie Denena
This evening we visited the New Orleans Museum of Art, where we were welcomed by a Roy Lichtenstein!
Starting on the second floor, we visited the Modern Art section first, seeing some familiar pieces by Andy Warhol…
and Jackson Pollock…
which are some of our favorite pieces to spot at art museums.
We also saw work by Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner.
There were several sections of modern art on this floor, I spotted a piece by Sam Francis that I was drawn to.
Moving into impressionism, we came across several pieces by Edgar Degas, whose house we passed on our way to the museum. (The home is now owned and operated as a bed and breakfast by his distant niece.) Degas is known as an impressionist artist, however, Degas did not take great liking to this label. Additionally, Degas’ most recognizable pieces depict ballet dancers.
We also saw some favorites such as Louise Nevelson…
…and Clementine Hunter…
We continued into the photography section, which is always interesting to see at museums. Even though we may not understand the relevance of a photograph, something brought the photographer to that moment in that position and it is neat to see what someone else saw through their lens.
We continued to European and American Decorative arts where we again found some familiar artists, including another piece of the Tiffany Collection, we also saw a piece by Louis Sullivan, mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright. Interestingly enough, there was also a painting of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, a depiction that is now on the one-dollar bill.
Apparently, he painted 30-plus copies of the original portrait of the war hero and former president, and he sold those as a steady source of income. He also produced portraits of six presidents in all. His works are featured across the United States, notably in the Metropolitan, the Frick Collection, and in Washington D.C. and that the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Drastically changing, we traveled to the Contemporary section where we found a rather neat piece of “art” or rather… architecture.
There was a golden cabin filled with everyday objects painted gold–ranging from train spikes, iphones, chains, pills to bullets)–symbolizing the objects that America has been built on. The work, called America by artist Will Ryman, has been shown in NOMA since 2013.
We passed through several more exhibitions before we made our way from NOMA to dinner.
By Makayla Mason
The third largest ethnic group in New Orleans is the Vietnamese, many of whom came to NOLA following the fall of South Vietnam to Communism. To capture more of the diverse NOLA spirit, we ate at Mophos, a Vietnamese “fusion” restaurant.
For appetizers we had crispy chicken wings, and by wings we mean entire chicken legs that were coated in lemongrass, ginger, and Thai chili. We also had crispy vindaloo bites with coconut ranch and Tumeric Fried Green Tomatoes. For our entrees, we ordered an array of pho and other Vietnamese dishes.
For dessert we had two house specialties, chocolate and cheese bread pudding and a peach flavored ice cream with homemade ginger snap cookies. This restaurant is not a traditional New Orleans cuisine, but it is definitely is just as special. It was a nice way to cap off the day!