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Mardi Gras Parade Routes to Become Public Art Exhibit

Art takes to the streets this Mardi Gras as pop-ups replace Popeyes on New Orleans billboards from January 21 to February 18. Expose: New Orleans’ International Billboard Art Exhibit is set to showcase 13 national and international artists all on billboards above parade routes and near Super Bowl traffic areas for optimal artist exposure.  


“It becomes a unique fun way to put art up publically where advertising usually is,” said curator and creator Dave Rhodes.  Compared to normal street art, like graffiti, this is also legal.  


The idea for a billboard exhibition stems from Rhodes’ own work with billboard art. As an artists himself and a curator of similar exhibitions, Rhodes knows from experience the difficulty of getting art to the public.      


“This year I’m putting more focus on the artists and trying to give them a chance to get their art to a broader audience,” said Rhodes, who held a similar exhibition last year.  


Whether for the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras or both thousands of people will pour onto the streets of St. Charles Ave., Canal St. and the CBD, making billboards the perfect venue for Rhodes and his featured artists. 


“You enhance the Mardi Gras experience by putting art all around,” said Rhodes. “People will find it on their own, in some kind of magical way, in those Mardi Gras moments.”  


For Rhodes, part of art is finding the work, and experiencing its environment.


“The art is in the discovery of it.  Maybe it will make them think or maybe it will just entertain them,” said Rhodes.     


According to Rhodes the artists are equally ecstatic to be a part of the exhibition. They aim to both surprise and delight unsuspecting Mardi Gras goers with their work.     


Rhodes chose a diverse group of artists, differing in style, experience and background for a very expansive show.  Strolling about the parade route, one could look up and see the traditional handicraft techniques of Maria Radman on one block and an abstract collage by Kenneth rst Vick on the next block.      


“[The artists are] ranging from older [and] very established to smaller, more emerging artists.  I really wanted to give everyone a chance on all different levels to get their art out there,” said Rhodes.  


American artists include Adrian Hatfield, Jim Modiano, Kenneth Vick, Marysia Schultz, Michael St. Amand, Nick Desena, Ryan Crawley and Stuart Snider. International artists include Beatrice Puijk of Amsterdam, Constatijn Smit of Rotterdam, Linda Riseley of Melbourne, Lorette Luzajic of Ontario and Maria Radman of Paris.    


In replacing billboard ads with art “enhance the cityscape and make it look more beautiful.”

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