Public Art Placemaking Project

Arts Council New Orleans, in partnership with the City of New Orleans, sought qualified multidisciplinary artists to create permanent public art projects at key locations alongside London Avenue Canal in the Gentilly Resilience District. We hope that this art can elevate the public's awareness and understanding of the canal, highlight the important role that it plays in the city’s day-to-day functions, and portray the possibilities that the canal holds for Gentilly and the city as a whole.  Collectively, artist projects are intended to excite the public imagination, engage residents, and raise awareness about New Orleans’ climate vulnerability, resilience efforts, flood mitigation, and green infrastructure improvements while offering new amenities and recreation opportunities.

The finalists, highlighted below, were selected based on their submissions to our Request for Qualifications, which sought out relevant project concepts. Individual project budgets ranged between $5,000-$30,000, dependent on media and scope, for a total project awardee budget of $100,000.

Project Goals

  • Create and install public art along London Avenue Canal and other Gentilly water features designed to enhance public understanding of "Living with Water." 
  • Build capacity of artists to address critical civic needs through the training and mentorship initiative, Public Art School.
  • Create lasting, innovative works of art that inspire curiosity and creativity and that influence and shape the development of the Gentilly Resilience District as a location for community exploration, gathering and celebration of arts, culture, and ecology.
  • Create a sense of place that reflects the local landscape and community through site-specific, public artistic installations to advance future use, enjoyment, and development of the London Avenue Canal.
  • Build shared understanding amongst Gentilly's residents of the changes in the City's flood defenses and the opportunities that now exist to reclaim London Avenue Canal as a public amenity and place of ecological health and aesthetic beauty across neighborhoods.
  • Generate community input about the future transformation of London Avenue Canal, so that the result is a waterway and a public space that is unique to Gentilly and New Orleans more broadly, and that serves nearby residents and connects them to the broader ecology of the delta.

Opportunity Sites

Artwork will be installed on public land at sites adjacent to the London Avenue Canal in the Gentilly Resilience District. Potential sites include, but are not limited to: London Avenue Canal Levee Breach Site; A location near Bastion Community of Resilience; Gatto Playground; NORA Rain Garden at Wildair and Filmore; Filmore Playground; Drainage Pump Station 4 and neutral ground at Prentiss and Warrington.

Winning Artists Proposals

Artist:  Brendon Palmer-Angell
Location: Gatto Park at Wildair and Windsor Drives

The sculpture depicts a portrait of a young child and an adult.  Each holds a vessel, a metaphor for the ways in which our current decisions impact future conditions.  We can choose whether the vessel overflows and is something to dread, or whether it is balanced and manageable.  The portraits shift and intertwine depending on the angle from which they are viewed, representing the interdependency of younger and older generations in environmental stewardship. The final images will be selected through dialogue with community members.  The arch echoes the shape of the massive water storage tanks that will be buried beneath Gatto park.  It’s covered with flowering vines that reinforce the role of plants in holding and filtering water in healthy ecosystems.

Artist:  Courtney Egan
Location: Filmore Park at Rapides and Wildair Drives

“Footbridge Over the Bioswale” is an artwork and functional footbridge that will cross over a 15-foot wide bioswale encircling Filmore Park.  Cut and painted metal relief panels mounted to the sides of the footbridge will show images and text that bring attention to the park’s new features of water management.  Neighborhood residents will be co-producers in the design process, participating in the creation of a visual narrative that builds deeper understanding about living with water.  As a visual focal point, the footbridge beautifully engages the themes of biodiversity, water management and environmental stewardship, while serving a functional purpose of protecting the bioswale from damage.

Artist:  Langston Allston
Location:  Filmore Park at Rapides and Wingate Drives

New Orleans rests in a dynamic landscape that has undergone monumental change to accommodate the city built here.  This mural project will reflect on the legacy of people carving a life out of this shifting environment.  Murals on the playground fence will be composed of three vignettes, beginning with people traveling through Bulbancha on boats, flowing into the transformation of the swamp into the neighborhoods we know today, and concluding with a vision of a future that strikes a balance between those neighborhoods and the natural environment they rest on. The mural painted on the basketball court is inspired by Harold Fisk’s 1944 Mississippi river map.  The artist will work with community members to gather images, stories, and histories to inform the final design.

Artists:  Youth Projects by Young Artist Movement and Carl Joe Williams
Location 1 of 2: London Avenue Canal Levee Breach Site at 5000 Warrington Drive

“Unity” is a collaboration between Carl Joe Williams and Young Artist Movement students from The NET Charter High School in Gentilly.  Unity commemorates the stories of residents that experienced devastating loss due to Hurricane Katrina, and who continue to face stormwater and other environmental risks.  The sculpture will be made out of steel with a brown patina and some elements painted in color. The overall composition consists of concentric circles. The negative space between concentric circles will be cut out using a plasma cutter, making the other side of the wall visible through the empty space. The circles will have images and text inspired by research on the history of the site and residents’ input.

Location 2 of 2:  Rain Garden at Filmore Avenue and Wildair Drive

“Harmony” is a collaboration between Carl Joe Williams and Young Artist Movement students from The NET Charter High School in Gentilly.  Situated in a rain garden, the series of sculptures represents the theme of environmental resilience through patterns and imagery related to the flow of water. The sculptures also represent an inhibitor to the healthy flow of water: plastic waste.  Harmony is based on a quilt pattern, alternating between images, patterns, and objects. Using plastic bottles, the students will create casts from aluminum that they will polish to a mirrored finish, reflecting back on the viewer their role in living harmoniously with their environment.

2023 Community Engagement

Living With Water Sculpture Unveiling - May 11, 2023

2022 Community Engagement

Gentilly Art Parade - June 7, 2022

2021 Community Engagement

Arts Celebration: Unveiling of Unity and Harmony Sculptures - November 7, 2021

Check out the event pictures below:

2020 Community Engagement

Lantern walk and online program - September 10 - 20, 2020

Lantern walk and online event series / Past, present  & future + Share & connect - September 19, 2020

Meet artist Langston Allston and discuss the history of the neighborhood and the city, and what the future might hold.

Join us to share and see our collective creations. Learn more about how to get involved in the creation of the five public art projects that will become part of your neighborhood!

Check out the meeting recording below:

Lantern walk and online event series / People & Water - September 17, 2020

Meet artist Brendon Palmer-Angell, join a discussion about our relationship to water, and get involved in the creation of a new sculpture for Gatto Playground.

Check out the meeting recording below:

Lantern walk and online event series / Plants & Ecology - September 12, 2020

Meet artist Courtney Egan and find out how you can contribute to the footbridge design for Filmore Playground. Talk about plants and ecology and learn how to use iNaturalist.

Check out the meeting recording below:

Lantern walk & online event series kickoff - September 10, 2020

Click this link to view the meeting presentation

Check out the meeting recording below:

Meet The Artists Series - May 12 - 19, 2020 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 

Featured Artists:  Courtney EganBrendon Palmer-AngellChristine Ledoux

Click the Link to View the:  Series Finale Zoom tele/web conference

Friday, May 15, 2020 

Featured Artists:  Langston Allston, Rachel David, and Caitlin Waugh

Click the Link to View the:  May 15th Zoom tele/web conference

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 

Featured Artists:  Carl Joe Williams & Young Artist Movement (YAM) students

Click the Link to View:  May 13, 2020 Zoom tele/web conference

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 

Featured Artists:  Hannah Chalew & John Kleinschmidt, Rontherin Ratliff, and Ashley Pridmore

Click the Link to View the: May 12, 2020 Zoom tele/web conference

Public Art & Social Engagement Workshop - May 5, 2020 

Click the link to view the:  Public Art & Social Engagement Workshop Zoom tele/web conference
Click the link to view the:  Public Art & Social Engagement Workshop Zoom transcript

Water City Tour - April 22 & 28, 2020 

Click this link to view the presentation

Session II - April 28, 2020 

Click the link to view the:  Water City Tour:  Session II Zoom tele/web conference

Session I - April 22, 2020 

Click the link to watch the:  Water City Tour:  Session I Zoom tele/web conference
Click the link to view the:  Water City Tour:  Session I Zoom transcript

St. Anthony Green Streets Health & Wellness Week - Water & Community Resilience Walk - January 18, 2020