New Orleans' Unique Arts Vibrancy

Lemann Pool Mural Community Paint Day, photo courtesy Arts Council New Orleans

**Lemann Pool Mural Community Paint Day, photo courtesy Arts Council New Orleans


Arts Council New Orleans President + CEO Nick Stillman responds to questions about the arts vibrancy of New Orleans, #18 on our top 20 list. 


What do the arts mean to your community and its health? 


Everything. New Orleans is any other American City in that without the creative sector it would be like any other city. The cultural specificity of New Orleans is why people visit and what makes us special.


How have the arts thrived? 


Through sheer force of will. We have limited resources, the arts are significantly underfunded, and yet our artists are resilient. You only have to look at examples like our Mardi Gras Indian community or New Orleans musicians who despite a lack of investment have created work that is renown across the world.      


What is unique? 


New Orleans is singularly distinctive. Our cultural sector cannot be reproduced as it is so closely tied to this unique place. It’s about neighborhoods, communities, and families connected to the city we live in. New Orleans art is impossible anywhere else.


What are roadblocks? 


Bureaucracy, lack of a corporate base, and underfunding art. We need to change people's habits around what art is. We aren’t selling the art for arts sake, we are working to integrate art practices and creativity into community safety, education, public health, bus development, and marketing of the city.


What does the future look like? 


We envision a city where there are murals that communicate our history and future. 

Where artists are involved in creating creative infrastructure benefits and improving our civic life. We envision a city where artists are employed to train youth in underserved communities to design and build structures like park benches, playgrounds, and bus shelters that improve community and connection to each other.





The Arts Council New Orleans’ mission is to support arts and culture and demonstrate how they transform communities.