The Ella Project’s advocacy work stems from our belief in the beauty of the culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, and that experiencing and participating in these cultures brings joy, creates commonality and deepens the human experience. To ensure this art thrives, Ella Project uses it’s set of skills to both make art more accessible, and improve the working lives of the artists so that they can thrive. While this work is done with specific individuals in our pro bono legal clinics and business consultations and workshops, our advocacy work shapes the entire field by work on public policy, programming convenings, and creating alliances. Some highlights include:
- Working with the United States Copyright Office to recognize the suits of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians as original works of visual art. 2010.
- Designed and implemented dedicated public funding via the More Joy Program for groups producing or celebrating the New Orleans’ Street Parading traditions usually created by New Orleans indigenous cultural groups, Mardi Gras Indians and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. 2015.
- Worked with New Orleans City Attorney’s office to recognize the ban on music public performance after 8:00 p.m. as unconstitutional. 2013.
- Served on the transition team of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
- Produced and Programmed New Orleans Spotlights at Future of Music Policy Summits, featuring main stage presentations, breakouts, and networking events. 2008-2015.
- Produced and Programmed for Music Cities Convention, Washington DC 2015.
- Produced New Orleans 10 years After: The State of New Orleans Music & Culture, 2015.
- Presented to the National Endowment for the Arts on New Orleans’ ongoing urban indigenous cultures, 2015.
- Produced the Mayoral Candidates Forum on Music & Cultural Policy, New Orleans, 2017.
- Presented to staff of Americans for the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts on Cultural Recovery Following a Natural Disaster, 2017.
- Programmed New Orleans: A Case Study Panel at Canadian Music Week 2018.
- Forged relationships and mutual understanding between the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council and the New Orleans Police Department, specifically around public performance on St Joseph’s night. 2005-2018.
- Founding members of Music Policy Forum, an international nonprofit dedicated to developing best practices around live music and music strategies. 2017.
- Founding advisory board member, noncomMUSIC Alliance, 2018.
Our staff has worked in partnership to enhance the culture of New Orleans with organizations including the Arts Council of New Orleans, New Orleans Musicians Clinic & Assistance Foundation, Jazz Foundation of America, New Orleans Jazz Museum, MusicCares, the Recording Academy, OffBeat Media, WWOZ, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council, the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, and more.
Our staff has served on boards and committees for organizations including the Recoding Academy (GRAMMY’s), New Orleans Video Access Center, Louisiana Citizens for Culture, the Louisiana State Arts Council, the Louisiana Crafts Guild, and WWOZ.
Additionally, we have presented at conferences including Responsible Hospitality Institute, Copyright Society USA, the Future of Music Policy Summit, American Bar Association, World Cultural Economic Forum, Music Cities Convention, and at universities including Georgetown, Tulane, and the University of New Orleans.
The Ella Project’s accumulation of policy work has legitimized and strengthened the organization’s credibility and role as an honest broker, authorized liaison and unified platform for engagement among the political, economic and cultural sectors. Going forward, we are in the position to convene local stakeholders, government, and international experts in policy discussions and development around music and culture. We seek to work with others and provide cohesion to engage on these matters, whether in New Orleans, or across North America. Let’s talk!