Sustained Winds: before – during – after

  • curator
  • Sustained Winds: before - during - after at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

In an effort to support Louisiana artists after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Acadiana Arts Council, through its new initiative Project HEAL (Helping Employ Artists Locally), organized a juried art exhibition giving local and displaced artists an opportunity to respond to their new environment or reinterpret past work. Sustained Winds: before-during-after has developed into a multi-disciplinary art exhibition with a powerful message in which artists have taken their own personal experiences and translated them into diverse and provocative artworks.

Artists have discovered that older works take on new meaning when viewed from a different perspective. Hurricanes and evacuations are not uncommon for those living along the coast therefore; it is no surprise that many of the artworks created before the summer of 2005 were influenced by this way of life.  Mary Perrin’s collages and Elizabeth Wright’s installations are examples of how hurricanes and the damage that follow them leave a lasting mark on the minds of coastal residents.

During the evacuation, artists Heather Weathers and Julian Helms found comfort in the process of creating their artworks. Weathers’ photographic documentation of her flee from New Orleans, with a melancholy glance out of the window, provides an open and innocent insight into the uncertain emotions she felt when leaving her home and community for an undetermined period of time.  Helms created broadside journals that express her anger, frustration and need for laughter throughout her evacuation odyssey.

Many people – artists and non-artists alike – felt a need to document the state of their homes and communities once they returned after the storms had passed. The photographs allow the viewer to experience the new environment that is now reality. David Rae Morris and Zack Smith have captured the spoiled urban environment of New Orleans through their color photographs, while artists such as Irena Mandic-Mandichka and Elemore Morgan, Jr. reveal the damaged coastal areas around Cameron and Vermilion Parishes.

The Acadiana Arts Council and Project HEAL hope that Sustained Winds: before–during–after  has provided comfort for the artists impacted by the Hurricanes and a reminder for its viewers that the Gulf Coast region of the United States remains in a state of crisis.

Rose Macaluso

Exhibition Curator

Acadiana Center for the Arts


**artist list available**