The Ella Project was proud to produce a panel at the 2018 Music Cities Toronto: New Orleans: a Case Study on Cultural Heritage, Economic Development and Audience Development was moderated by Ella Project’s Ashlye Keaton, and featured Big Chief Howard Miller of the Creole Wild West discussing community engagement, Jordan Hirsch discussing A Closer Walk NOLA, and Melanie Merz discussing the latest developments with WWOZ.
This Summit was spearheaded in 2016 around the release of MusicCanada’s landmark Mastering a Music City report in 2015. This year, a follow up, Keys to a Music City, was released on May 12th. This new report focuses on many issues discussed recently in New Orleans, including the merits of a Night Mayor, revamping boards, and music offices, such as an export office.
Other highlights include La Chasse Balcon, a public performance organization in Montreal inspired by the porch concerts of Lafayette, public libraries launching music instrument lending programs, programming high quality concerts in small towns, and empowering under served youth in media production via public/non profit partnerships.
A major takeaway is that while New Orleans music continues to be celebrated worldwide, many cities and small towns across North America are devising their own deliberate music and culture strategies, and that our city has an opportunity to exchange with others and lead the dialogue around overarching music and culture policy. We also leave Canada so honored and humbled to speak on behalf of the amazing musicians, non profits, and audiences that make up our unique, strong culture. We look forward to working with our partners to enact positive changes to support an ecosystem where culture continues to thrive.
The Ella Project was proud to work with Chief Howard Miller of the Creole Wild West, the Mardi Gras Indian Council and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council to co-produce the first-ever comprehensive exhibition of Mardi Gras Indian suits at ArtSpace in downtown Shreveport. This immersive exhibit and parade through downtown Shreveport was part of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Unscene creative placemaking project. January 27-28th was a beautiful weekend, and it was kicked off Friday night with a gallery exhibit of ten Indian suits, followed the next day by a standing room only artist talk presented by Chief Howard Miller. On Saturday afternoon, Chief Howard led the parade with help of other Mardi Gras Indians, including Chief Victor Harris of Fi Yi Yi, Chief Keke Gibson of the Comanche Hunters and Chief Lil’ Charles Taylor of the White Cloud Hunters. A diverse crowd danced alongside the Indians throughout Shreveport Common to the parade’s end at ArtSpace Shreveport.
With the National Endowment for the Arts in the national spotlight, it’s important to note that this project was supported by the NEA, and is exactly the kind of important work that the Endowment specializes in. This project worked with Chief Howard Miller from the very beginning, and identified how he and his tribe wanted to present this cherished New Orleans culture and then presented it in a way where people of all ages and ethnicities could experience the beauty and integrity this culture brings to those who are fortunate to embrace it. We talk about art creating common ground, and, for Ella, it was a pleasure to be a part of. It was also too much of a success to just do one time, so right now, we’re working on our next project to promote and share our beautiful culture.
For videos and photos of this amazing event, visit our Facebook page.