Just a half-hour from the French Quarter, the deeply rooted community of St. Bernard celebrates the holidays with music and feasting. Now, a string of studios along the banks of the Mississippi River have added contemporary art to those traditions, and visitors are invited to experience it all during Saturday’s Downriver Art Home Tour and Sale.
The self-guided tour, organized by Creative Alliance of New Orleans, starts at 10 a.m. at Art House on the Levee, 4275 Dauphine St., in Holy Cross. It winds from New Orleans into St. Bernard until reaching Poydras, at The River House and Crevasse 22, 8122 Saro Lane.
The day ends at 5 p.m., at the Los Islenos Museum’s Christmas Extravaganza, 1345 Bayou Road, St. Bernard, with seasonal music and a traditional bonfire.
The aim of the tour is twofold. First, CANO hopes to expose New Orleans residents and visitors to local contemporary art and encourage the collecting of affordable works.
“I think people are oftentimes intimidated about buying art,” said Jeanne Nathan, the executive director of CANO. “They think, ‘Oh, you have to have a lot of money and buy very expensive art,’ when the truth of the matter is that we have a lot of work that is being made by younger artists, less recognized artists, and the price is really affordable.”
The second goal is to introduce residents and visitors to sections of the city and the surrounding area that they wouldn’t normally visit, but where art and culture are thriving.
Maps of the route will be distributed at Art House on the Levee — the studio and gallery of Nathan and her husband, Robert Tannen. It continues at a few nearby studios, then to Studio Inferno and four studios in Arabi in St. Bernard Parish, moves to Chalmette and the studio of metalwork artist Luis Colmenares before ending at The River House and Crevasse 22, which also will host a market featuring food and local artwork from almost 20 artists.
“We have ceramics, carved animals, carved toys, and then small paintings by artists like Allison Stewart, who is very well-known, but most of her work is larger scale,” Nathan explained.
“This time (Stewart) has these smaller works that we’re showing in this particular sale.”
Beyond the market, art will be on sale throughout the tour at the studios of Tannen, Diego Larguia, Bruce Davenport, Mitchell Gaudet, Erica Larkin Gaudet, Mary Jane Parker, Gary Oaks, Hayden Reilly and Colmenares. Other artists will be featured at The River House and in the Crevasse 22’s sculpture garden.
Though the tour extends from Orleans Parish to Poydras, those who are afraid of the distance shouldn’t be discouraged.
“Many people don’t want to go to St. Bernard because (they think) it’s so far away, but the truth is to get from the French Quarter all the way down to the River House takes exactly half-an-hour,” Nathan said. “It’s not nearly as long as it seems to people who haven’t made the trip.”
Nathan promises interesting places, architecture and art.
“And if it’s a beautiful fall day,” she said, “which is what we’re hoping for, it’s going to be a really fun day.”
For information, call (504) 218-4807 or visit cano-la.org.