NEW ORLEANS — The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC) and the Krewe of Red Beans announced a pop-up exhibition and auction of the House Float art installations that dotted New Orleans’ neighborhoods during Mardi Gras. After captivating New Orleans and the world during the 2021 Mardi Gras season, artistic creations from select house floats will be on view in one location for the first time, and available for purchase through an online auction that will benefit New Orleans’ culture-bearers and the CAC.
Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public, Saturday and Sundays only: March 20-21, March 27-28 and April 3-4 from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the CAC’s St. Joseph Street Warehouse (entrance on St. Joseph Street). Advance online reservations are required at cacno.org/hireamardigrasartist. The online auction will be live for bidding on March 20 and can be viewed in advance here. Stay tuned to the CAC’s website and social media for updates. In adherence with COVID-19 safety guidelines, capacity is limited to 50 patrons per hour on a timed-ticketed basis, with social distancing and mask-wearing required.
After the cancellation of Mardi Gras parades due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of transforming porches and yards into Mardi Gras House Floats quickly gained traction among New Orleans residents. Mardi Gras artist Caroline Thomas, thought it would be great to provide jobs to laid off and under-employed Carnival artists. She then collaborated with Krewe of Red Beans and “Feed the Second Line” founder Devin De Wulf to launch the “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” initiative to enlist artists to bring Mardi Gras magic to New Orleans neighborhoods. The initiative raised more than $330,000 to employ 48 Mardi Gras artists and the construction of 23 “house floats” across the city. As a sponsor, the CAC provided the Krewe’s artists with float-building space before Mardi Gras, and is now proud to host the full exhibition of house floats in the CAC warehouse, with generous support from Domain Companies.
“Community collaboration through art is at the heart of New Orleans’ unique culture. The CAC is thrilled that locals and visitors will have a last chance to see these incredible works of art and take home a piece of Carnival history,” states George Scheer, Executive Director of the CAC.
De Wulf adds, “The House Floats exhibition and auction allows Krewe of Red Beans to continue our community-wide effort to raise funds and support ‘Feed the Second Line,’ our effort to create a true safety net for New Orleans culture. The community rallied and supported the ‘Hire A Mardi Gras Artist’ initiative and the artists delivered much needed Carnival magic.”
Artistic sponsorship for the exhibition and auction comes from Domain Companies, “Domain is proud to support the Krewe of Red Beans as Arts Sponsor of its upcoming House Floats exhibit and auction at the CAC. New Orleans’ culture bearers make this city the unique place we all love; they’ve been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and they need our support now more than ever. With the Hire A Mardi Gras Artist initiative, the Krewe of Red Beans has again come up with a creative way to provide that support, celebrate their talent and give everyone a taste of the Carnival we all missed this year,” states Matt Schwartz, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Domain Companies.
Patrons are invited to plan their visit and experience art safely at the CAC, including its current exhibitions on view through April 25: Make America What America Must Become, An Exhibition of Gulf South Artists, and SOLOS featuring new works by CAC artists-in-residence Shana M. griffin, Ana Hernandez, and Sarah Hill. For more information about CAC exhibitions, hours, timed-ticketing, and to review the CAC’s enhanced Health and Safety guidelines, visit cacno.org.