A discussion about the social impact of the aesthetic resurgence in surrounding communities such as the St. Claude Arts District and the Oretha Castle Haley Corridor.
Rebecca Snedeker is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University. For the past two decades, she has created and contributed to documentary projects that support human rights, environmental justice, and creative expression in her native New Orleans, including Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (University of California Press), Land of Opportunity (ARTE), Witness: Katrina (National Geographic Channel), and By Invitation Only (PBS). Snedeker has received an Emmy Award and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and she serves on the Steering Committee of New Day Films, a 40+-year-old, filmmaker-owned, educational film distribution company.
Gia Hamilton, a native of New Orleans, received her Bachelor’s in cultural anthropology with a minor in visual art from New York University and her Master’s in applied anthropology from City University of New York. Hamilton has received continuing educational support through NODE Center for Curatorial Studies in Berlin Germany and Professional Coaching training at Ekaya Institute in California as well as training in eastern healing modalities such as massage therapy, acupuncture and herbology.
For 17 years in New York City, Hamilton worked with non-profit organizations as a serial entrepreneur, program development consultant, cultural practitioner and curator. Gia spent 6 years working in the corporate sector as a researcher and organizational design consultant with Downey Associates International, supporting financial firms and non-profit organizations in their restructuring process. In 2009, Hamilton founded Gris Gris Lab, as a place based incubator and cultural exchange space to ensure that emerging thought-leaders could actualize their interdisciplinary projects through an innovative live- work model in Central City, New Orleans. In 2010, Gris Gris Lab built a team of social scientists who began cultural consulting to further support and strengthen the local economies and infrastructure of non-profits and small businesses in New Orleans, Seattle, Port au Prince, Haiti, Havana, Cuba, Washington D.C., Detroit and New York City through a model developed by Hamilton called Social Magic. Hamilton joined the Joan Mitchell Center in 2011 as a consultant and was appointed Director in July 2013. Hamilton’s work sits at the intersection of art, food security, education and healing as pillars of sustainable community formation. Hamilton is currently on the board of Tulane Newcomb Gallery and Museum and Alliance for Artist Communities as well as a member of ArtTable, Independent Curators International, Inc., Res Artis, The American Anthropological Association, and a Dr. Norman Francis Leadership Institute 2014-2015 Fellow. Hamilton lives and works with her four sons who she “creatively” schools in New Orleans.
Justin Shiels is a creative director, graphic designer and web strategist whose greatest joy is making things happen. He received his BFA in Graphic Design from Loyola University New Orleans and a Masters degree in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans. By day, he helps build brands through his boutique design studio This Creative Lab. His passion is creative culture and his goal is to encourage people to live a well-designed life. Through public speaking, his media company goINVADE.com, and his creative work he hopes to leave a small dent in the universe.
Jonathan Traviesa is a photographer and artist living in New Orleans since the late 1990s. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Madrid, and Tokyo. Traviesa is a founding member of The Front gallery and released his first book, Portraits, with a concurrent exhibition at The Front during October and November of 2009. As part of Photonola, Traviesa received the New Orleans Photo Alliance’s inaugural Michael P. Smith Grant Award, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art exhibited a selection of his portraits from the book. Traviesa’s project “Beacons Abound”, which focuses on the ambiguity of objects and how they fall along the continuum between randomness and specific intent, opened in April 2011 at The Front. Since 2012 his photographic installations have become more immersive – often using his images as wall-paper. Recently, his show Shadow Park, at Tulane University’s Carroll Gallery in 2014, explored the idea of authenticity within global tourism. Medium Surface, a body of work debuted at The Front in November 2014. Recently, he installed a site-specific photo-mural work for the The Rising exhibit at the Odgen Museum. His work is collected privately around the United States and publicly in New Orleans by the Ogden and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Carl Joe Williams
Carl Joe Williams was born in Uptown New Orleans, LA (b.1970). Art was Williams' first love. At fourteen, he was accepted into the New Orleans Center for Creative Art (NOCCA) where he received his formal training. Upon completing high school, Williams continued his studies at the Atlanta College of Art.
In Atlanta, Williams flourished in his craft; graduating in 1994, produced solo exhibitions, participated in several group exhibitions and completed several public art projects. Williams’ work has been displayed in several venues in both New Orleans and Atlanta, including Journeys, an installation at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (Atlanta, GA). Williams’ Sculptural Trees public art installation (Metairie, LA) was described as reminiscent of “lollipops in a Candyland forest,” with their custom acrylic light boxes attached to crepe myrtles.
In 2013, Williams had a solo exhibition at the George Ohr Museum in Biloxi, MI and was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell NOLA Studio Artist Residence Program. He was selected to participate in the 2014 Crystal Bridges State of the Art Discovering American Art Now exhibition. Williams is the founding member of Blights Out. Blights Out is a community- and artist-led initiative to activate community agency in neighborhood development.