The Arts Council New Orleans’ LUNA Fête 2014 premiere lit a spark. Last year, we didn’t just illuminate Gallier Hall; we transformed the idea of what is possible for New Orleans’ future. A single projection mapping installation attracted 15,000 attendees across seven days, showing our appetite for a new spirit of artistic engagement in the city.
Our idea ignited a movement: embracing art as an asset that connects our community in the service of positive change. LUNA Fête 2015 features one international artist (OCUBO at Ashé’s Power House), two national artists (Jen Lewin’s “The Pool” at Lafayette Square and Miwa Matreyek at the CAC) and 20 local artist installations along O.C. Haley Boulevard and Julia Street. We are fulfilling our promise to invest in local artists, transform our community and inspire our citizens.
LUNA Fête showcases New Orleans’ growing film, technology and contemporary arts sectors and elevates local artists nationally. We expect it to become a signature event, one that significantly enhances tourism, expands economic impact and positions New Orleans at the forefront of creative communities. Just as Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest speak to our traditions, LUNA Fête speaks to the city’s bright future.
LUNA Fête is an opportunity to demonstrate how art transforms communities, the essence of the Arts Council’s mission. Over the summer, OCUBO engaged in a residency with local youth from Central City and Metairie to narrate the story, create artwork and become the stars of this year’s projection, inspiring a new generation interested in art and technology. LUNA Fête is shining a light on Central City, drawing crowds to the businesses and cultural assets of that resurgent neighborhood.
LUNA Fête also can create dialogue around the lack of lighting in many neighborhoods. What if there were opportunities for artists to propose creative public lighting design solutions, not just during LUNA Fête, but year-round, increasing public safety and inspiring citizens? This is how art can meaningfully transform communities, and that’s what we’re striving for.?Let’s celebrate the positivity of art and its purpose in combatting the issues our community faces. Let’s show the world that New Orleans is alive with art and not besieged by crime.
So get engaged before LUNA Fête dims on Saturday. There are pods of light to jump on, games to play and wonders to see. Keep in mind our vision for the future: a well-lit, increasingly walkable city where local artists actively participate in creating civic solutions and show that art can and will transform our community.
LUNA Fete 2015 opened Nov. 29 and closes Saturday. For information, visit www.artsneworleans.org.
acting director, Arts Council New Orleans