Art is not just limited to fancy galleries and museums. In fact, some of the most vibrant and exciting art scenes can be found in unexpected places. One such city that is brimming with artistic charm is New Orleans. Known as the birthplace of jazz, this vibrant city is also home to a thriving arts scene that is both diverse and eclectic. So, if you’re a lover of the arts and looking to explore something beyond the typical tourist attractions, here are six places in New Orleans where you can delve into the city’s alternative arts scene.
1. The Music Box Village: This unique outdoor musical village is a must-visit for any music enthusiast. Created by a collective of artists, The Music Box Village features a collection of hand-built, interactive musical structures that come to life during performances. From drum houses to metallophones, each structure is a work of art in itself. The village also hosts regular concerts and workshops, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the world of experimental music.
2. Studio Be: Located in the Bywater neighborhood, Studio Be is an enormous warehouse that has been transformed into a sprawling art gallery. Created by artist Brandan “BMike” Odums, this space showcases powerful and thought-provoking murals that explore themes of race, identity, and social justice. Walking through the halls of Studio Be feels like taking a journey through history, with each mural telling a story and making a statement.
3. Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art: If you prefer a more traditional art experience, head to the Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. This outdoor exhibit features a stunning collection of sculptures set amongst beautifully landscaped gardens. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll and admire works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, and Robert Indiana.
4. The Art Garage: Tucked away in an unassuming building in the St. Claude neighborhood, The Art Garage is a hidden gem for art lovers. This converted auto body shop now serves as a multi-purpose arts space, featuring galleries, studios, and even a live music venue. The Art Garage is known for showcasing works by emerging and underrepresented artists, making it a great place to discover new talent.
5. The Frenchmen Art Market: If you’re in the mood for some nighttime exploration, head over to the Frenchmen Art Market. Located in the heart of the famous Frenchmen Street, this open-air market comes alive with local artists and craftsmen showcasing their work. From paintings and photography to handmade crafts and jewelry, you’ll find a wide array of unique and affordable pieces to take home as a souvenir.
6. The Marigny Opera House: Housed in a converted 19th-century church, the Marigny Opera House is a breathtaking venue that hosts a variety of performing arts events. From dance performances to chamber music concerts, this intimate space provides a unique and immersive experience for both performers and audience members. Even if you’re not catching a show, it’s worth visiting the opera house just to soak in the grandeur of the architecture.
Main takeaway: New Orleans is not just a city for jazz enthusiasts, it’s also a haven for art lovers. From alternative galleries and outdoor installations to bustling art markets and unique performance spaces, the city offers a treasure trove of artistic experiences. So, the next time you find yourself in the Big Easy, make sure to explore its under-the-radar arts scene and discover the creative pulse that beats through its historic streets.