Visual Artist Business Boot Camp in St Francisville April 28-29

Our Visual Artist Business Boot Camps roll on in St Francisville April 28-29th.

This program focuses on business management, grass roots marketing, and developing a  plan for artists to advance their art careers. Artists should leave with a greater understanding of how to think of their art as a business, how to confidently promote themselves and their artwork, and how to further develop a strategy for getting their work into the public.

The weekend program is facilitated by:
Gene Meneray, Co-Founder of The Ella Project
Ashlye Keaton, entertainment attorney and Co-Founder of The Ella Project
Katie Odell, gallerist and social media manager

There is no charge for this weekend workshop. Enrollment is limited.
To reserve a spot, contact Lynn Wood at or 225-721-1296.
For more information, go to



For a detailed schedule of this weekend, please click here. 

Copyright and trademarking for artists with Ashlye Keaton workshop at NOCCA June 9

Business of art class: Copyright and trademarking for artists with Ashlye Keaton

Time: Saturday, June 9 from 10am-12pm

Instructor: Ashlye Keaton

Location: NOCCA, 2800 Chartres Street


Anyone who wants to have a successful career in the arts needs to be able to protect and distribute their work. Join Ella Project Co-Founder and Supervising Attorney Ashlye Keaton as she discusses:

  • What copyright does for you
  • How to register your copyrights
  • What is (and isn’t) copyrightable
  • Do you need a trademark?
  • What’s the difference between copyright and trademark?

This is a multi-disciplinary workshop, covering musicians, visual artists, performing artists, filmmakers, writers, and all other creatives.


No previous experience is required. Enrollment is limited to adults age 18 and older.



Copyright Workshop on April 26th as part of World IP Day

Copyright workshop in conjunction with World IP Day

Every April 26, we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day to learn about the role that intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) play in encouraging innovation and creativity.


This year, join Ella Project pro bono volunteers Max Hass and Bri Whetstone as they present Copyright Basics for the New Orleans Creative Community. This free workshop will be held on Thursday, April 26th at 12 noon at Mag’s 940 at 940 Elysian Fields. Please click here to RSVP.

Ella Project at Music Cities Think Tank

The Ella Project was honored to participate in this year’s Music Cities Think Tank, hosted by Sound Music Cities at SWSW in Austin. This two day think tank brought together

music policy leaders from across North America to discuss issues including developing music friendly municipal policies, new revenue streams for musicians, the evolving role of non commercial radio, and more.

We’re excited to continue these conversations to bring the most progressive, music forward

public policies to New Orleans. Along with Austin, we met with music policy experts from:

  • Seattle
  • Washington Dc
  • San Antonio
  • Memphis
  • Victoria, BC
  • Portland, OR
  • London, ON
  • Milwaukee
  • Fort  Collins, CO

See more about the Think Tank here.

The Ella Project’s Visual Artist Business Boot Camp

This fourteen hour program focuses on business management, grass roots marketing, and developing a plan for visual artists to advance their art careers. Working through small group work and presentation, the Business Boot Camp is designed for up to 20 individual artists. Artists should leave with a greater understanding of how to think of their art as a business, how to confidently promote themselves and their artwork, and how to further develop a strategy for getting their work into the public. Gene Meneray, Co-Founder of The Ella Project, is the lead instructor. Additional instructors include Katie Odell, gallerist and social media manager, and Ashlye Keaton, entertainment attorney and Co-Founder of The Ella Project. This workshop was developed with support from the State of Louisiana’s Office of Cultural Development, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ella West Freeman Foundation.


Saturday The Artist’s Career

  • How is art sold? What determines pricing?
  • Marketing materials for the independent visual artist.
  • Creating an artist brand.
  • Working with galleries, festivals and public art.
  • Designing a career plan.
  • Current trends in grassroots marketing.


The Artist as Business Person

  • Social Media: What’s worked, what hasn’t.
  • Identifying your target market.
  • Legal issues for visual artists.
  • Basic finance for self employed artists.
  • Goal setting for the future.

Quotes from previous attendees:

  • “Super informative for all levels of accomplishment! I didn’t feel left behind or like I was being taught things I already knew.”
  • “When thinking about the next steps to take in my career, this workshop helped me find a direction to focus my attention..”
  • “Y’all left no question unanswered!”
 Supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council

The Ella Project releases our 2017 Mayoral Platform



The Ella Project respectfully submits the following recommendations to the next administration with an overarching goal to promote a healthy ecosystem where music and culture may continue to thrive in New Orleans.

As New Orleans moves towards its next municipal election, we see an opportunity to re-envision the city’s cultural policies and strategies. We see cities across the globe developing cultural strategies to develop neighborhoods, enhance education, and improve their quality of life. We see many of these communities using intentional models to create a cultural climate that New Orleans has developed organically and often without the aid of city government. To the contrary, our city has often been indifferent at best to our cultural creatives and the overall role they play in New Orleans.

Moving into our next 300 years, we believe that New Orleans’s cultural community and assets will be critical to the sustainability of New Orleans as a place for residents to live and tourists to visit.  We see an opportunity for city government to play a key role in flipping the paradigm so that music and culture is embraced and supported instead of ignored and restricted.


To accomplish this, we encourage you to envision New Orleans as a city where artists and musicians are self-empowered socially and economically, where the means of production and distribution will be rooted in the community and decision makers, and where urban planners and business leaders will appreciate the importance of creatives to their long-term interests. The relationship between the makers of culture and the mainstream power structure will be reversed.  The default policy will be to encourage city-wide music and cultural performance and tradition with limited exception, justified only by reasonable, consistent and clear considerations and measures that are not selectively enforced.

We seek a further shift of thinking regarding the public sector’s relationship with the cultural community. As respected members of their communities, artists and creatives often have a deep understanding of their neighborhood’s issues, often run grassroots arts education programs, and often participate in cherished neighborhood traditions. We believe that creatives can play a major role in working with policy makers on education, public safety, healthcare, and housing.


To achieve our goal of promoting a healthy ecosystem for music and culture in New Orleans, we recommend the next administration implement  the following:

    • Develop a comprehensive music and culture strategy using best practices and an inclusive process with measurable outcomes and accountability enforcement.
    • Establish a full-time, designated and authorized liaison between city government and the music and cultural community, with an independent budget and staff exclusively committed to working with stakeholders to address music and culture issues on both a proactive and reactive basis.  Whether a music office, a music commission, and whether a city agency and/or an independent nonprofit and/or a hybrid, include stakeholders in the development of the structure that will oversee this work.
    • Develop a comprehensive sound strategy and fully fund it for implementation before 2019.
      • Hire a qualified sound expert as an independent contractor to shepherd this process, and ensure all stakeholders have an equally reasonable part of the process.
      • Immediately formally repeal section 66-205 of the municipal Noise Ordinance, which is the city-wide ban on musical instruments after 8pm. This section has already been publicly recognized as unconstitutional by the New Orleans City Attorney’s office.
    • Promote public health care models that sustain and strengthen our cultural community culture in mind, body and spirit. Work directly with the New Orleans Musicians Clinic to develop strategies for the well-being of our musicians and culture bearers.
    • Develop a strategy for the night-time economy, including but not limited to shifting hours on several code enforcement officers to address issues such as sound, parking, litter and other matters that often fall to NOPD.


  • Support ongoing music and cultural education and performance, including neighborhood-based grassroots initiatives.


    • Reduce fees associated with parading for Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs. Establish a permit structure that encourages cultural traditions, with fair and anti-discriminatory standards.
    • Increase the Community Arts Fund by $60,000 per year for a total of $240,000 during the first term to support parading and public performance activities via the More Joy funding category and to support continued arts education via the city’s organizational funding category.

Fund local musical acts on tour by piggybacking on the State’s Music Ambassadors program.  Use existing tourism funds (as the State does) to provide a stipend to qualifying musical acts performing outside the state borders in a qualified venue. Supplement the State’s $1,000 stipend per qualifying musical act with an additional $500 from city funds.


Download the The Ella Project Music and Culture Policy Platform.

Mayoral Forum on Music Policy, Monday, September 11

The Ella Project, OffBeat Media, and The Recording Academy (GRAMMY) announce a public forum on music policy Monday, September 11th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the historic Carver Theatre at 2101 Orleans Ave in New Orleans. All major candidates will be in attendance. The forum will be moderated by author and former Times Picayune columnist Lolis Eric Elie. Panelists include Jan Ramsey, Publisher and Editor in Chief of OffBeat Media, Fred Johnson, Co-Founder of the Black Men of Labor, Melissa Weber (DJ Soul Sister) & Larry Blumenfeld, journalist and music critic.  This forum is free and open to the public.

As both the City and the music business have changed dramatically over the last eight years, New Orleans is primed to assert its commitment to its cherished culture and place music in the forefront of its overall quality of life, business and community development strategy. Candidates will address their policies for:

  • Nurturing an environment where our citizens are able to express their cultural traditions uninhibited.
  • Ensuring New Orleans’ tradition of public performance and neighborhood music flourishes in concert with continued neighborhood development.
  • Working with the music community to utilize music to address other major issues such as public safety, education, and housing.

Please see these articles in OffBeat, and Gambit for more on this forum.

RSVP’s are requested but not required. Please rsvp through our Facebook site here.