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Jammin' on Julia Features Dreams, Cravings and Pop Art Legend

by Cheryl Castjohn

Julia Street’s Gallery Row has come together to ring in spring with its annual street festival, Jammin’ on Julia on Saturday, April 5.  Galleries sponsor live music up and down the street, and festival-goers will be hard pressed not to bump into a cash bar whether they begin at the River or advance from Baronne Street.  


Sponsored in large part by the Downtown Development District, the festival plays an important role in maintaining New Orleans’ role as an arts capital of the South, in conjunction with the Ogden, the Contemporary Arts Center and NOMA.


The Ogden Museum of Southern Art gets art-goers primed and ready with an artist talk and walkthrough featuring Lee Deigaard’s “Trespass” from 4pm to 5:30pm on the 3rd floor. This is the final weekend for the exhibit, although luckily the Ogden does hold some of Deigaard’s work permanently.  


The good times begin to roll around 6 o’clock, when performers like Rich Look and The Estelle Campagne Trio grace us with satire, symphony, and song.  Ariodante Gallery will feature the cabaret-style blend of humor and lore of multi-faceted Rich Look. Known for its eclectic and well-round mix of art forms regularly showcased, Look seems an excellent fit for Ariodante.  Abe Geasland’s handily-crafted, useful objects will certainly be treated right with a little musical accompaniment. Look’s dynamic show has made him a favorite at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival as well.


Arthur Roger Gallery (432 Julia St.) has managed to snag symphonic flutist Estelle Campagne and two cohorts to celebrate the dual exhibits of Edward Whiteman and Bunny Matthews. Also an accomplished singer, Campagne sometimes performs with The Bayou Belles.


President and CEO of the Downtown Development District Kurt Weigle emphasizes the essential role of the arts in New Orleans  The DDD has many roles in the city, and its crucial position between the business world and the art scene can’t be overstated.  As urban planners developing business in such a prominent and unique city, the DDD needs a person at the helm who understands exactly how much art means to New Orleans.


Weigle handed the festival’s success to the New Orleans Arts District, applauding their hard work and commitment to growing Jammin on Julia into such a great success. Weigle takes a humble back seat, reminding NOLA Defender that the DDD’s role in Jammin' on Julia is strictly a supportive one, providing police detail and heightened facilities management in terms of keeping the area clean and pristine Street improvement projects in the immediate vicinity have also serendipitously begun and concluded in time to Jam, and Weigle would probably also modestly cite cooperation as the key.


Other notable openings are Joli Livaudais’s “Dreams and Replies” at Martine Chaisson Gallery (727 Camp St.). Livaudais is a celebrated artist and photographer from Monroe who is busily installing her eclectic, wildly mixed-media show. Livaudais has captured the expert eye of the gallery owner by combining her photography with unconventional and inventive 2D and 3D formats.  


Broadening the horizons ofthe event are master works like “Cabinet of Cravings” by master artist and humanitarian Mel Chin at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery (400a Camp St.).  At Octavia Art Gallery (454 Octavia St.), Dali acolyte Nall unveils “A Voyage,” recent work with a surprising flash of unflashy Americana and reclaimed barn wood.  A graduate of L’Ecole de Beaux Arts, Nall’s show promises to gently rock the New Orleans art world this Saturday night.


Boyd Satellite (440 Julia St.) will proudly present Pop Art legend Derek Boshier’s iconic work and welcomes the public to a gallery walk through with the artist himself. A contemporary of David Hockney, Boshier has collaborated with David Bowie. Joe Strummer was also a former student. Lovingly, respectfully identified by as a “pop artist who’s never conformed,” Boshier is a huge highlight of this very special art walk, a boon for Boyd, and a special treat for the New Orleans art scene.


Jammin' on Julia runs from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.

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