Mardi Gras Indian Council & Foundation for Louisiana Receive $500,000 ArtPlace America grant for Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus


Foundation for Louisiana is working with the Mardi Gras Indian Council to create a new Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus along New Orleans' historic LaSalle Street Corridor

New Orleans, LA (July 17, 2015) – Foundation for Louisiana (FFL), has received a $500,000 grant from ArtPlace America for the development of the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus along New Orleans’ LaSalle Street Corridor, a historic home for traditional Mardi Gras Indian cultural activities. The project is the vision of the Mardi Gras Indian Council and planned in collaboration with Tulane City Center.

The Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus will provide a permanent space for the Mardi Gras Indian Council to educate the public about Mardi Gras Indian traditions, and practice and preserve their culture while showcasing and sharing their traditions.

The project is one of 38 recipients of ArtPlace America’s 2015 National Grants Program, selected from a pool of nearly 1,300 applicants across 48 states and the District of Columbia. Grants range from $50,000 to $500,000 with an average of $265,000. This is one of two 2015 New Orleans recipients; Arts Council New Orleans received $350,000 for its Youth Solutions initiative.

“The new Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus links culture, community and commerce – connecting the preservation of Mardi Gras Indian traditions, the renewal of blighted historic buildings and revitalization of neglected neighborhoods as a game-changing growth strategy along one of our city’s treasured cultural corridors,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., CEO and President of Foundation for Louisiana. “We are honored that ArtPlace America shares this vision of the Mardi Gras Indians, our community, and the preservation of our city’s deep and rich traditions.”

According to Chief Howard Miller, President of the Mardi Gras Indian Council and Chief of Creole Wild West, the Mardi Gras Indian Campus will provide opportunities to preserve and strengthen the Mardi Gras Indian culture and traditions. “We’ll be able to control the destiny of our culture and have a place to express our traditions. People who mask, Social & Pleasure Clubs, and our communities will be able to have a permanent place to meet, gather, and celebrate each other.”

The Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus will be located along LaSalle Street between Third and Fourth Streets in New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood, across the street from A.L. Davis Park, named after a former New Orleans City Councilman and a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The project will redevelop a vacant lot and two shotgun-style houses into a campus that will include classrooms and workshop studios, indoor and outdoor event and performance spaces, offices and a kitchen. Proposed activities include classes and hands-on workshops about the Mardi Gras Indian traditional art forms, including beading and sewing the iconic Mardi Gras Indian suits; exhibits; performances; and various community gatherings.

The Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus represents a new opportunity for Mardi Gras Indians to recognize economic benefit from their unique contributions to arts and culture in New Orleans and worldwide. At the same time, the Campus will add to the revitalization now underway along LaSalle Street, through projects such as the redevelopment of the Harmony Oaks housing development.

“The Cultural Campus will provide essential tools for Mardi Gras Indians to preserve and develop their rich history, as well as create a formal venue for both visitors and members of the community to gather and appreciate the beauty and tradition of their craft. It is imperative that our City unites behind the Mardi Gras Indians in their efforts to create a permanent home where they can continue to build upon the culture that has been so important to us,” said New Orleans City Council member LaToya Cantrell, in whose district the campus site is located.

“Investing in and supporting the arts have a profound impact on the social, physical, and economic futures of communities,” said ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie L. Bennett. “Projects like these demonstrate how imaginative and committed people are when it comes to enhancing their communities with creative interventions and thoughtful practices.”

“The National Grants Program is actively building a portfolio that touches each of the sectors and stakeholders that make up the community development field,” said ArtPlace’s Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres. “Last year, ArtPlace developed a Community Development Matrix to help us better evaluate our success on this front. So, we’re thrilled that this year’s 38 grantees represent a dynamic spectrum of creative approaches and partnerships in community development that expand the dimensions of our portfolio.”

The campus will be managed by the Mardi Gras Indian Council, with technical support during the development process from Foundation for Louisiana. Foundation for Louisiana has hired Program Fellow Matt A. Williams to manage the campus development process. Mr. Williams received his Master of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University and his Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

To view the complete list of 2015 ArtPlace grantees, including photos, visit ArtPlace America’s website..

About Foundation for Louisiana. The mission of Foundation for Louisiana is to invest in people and practices that work to reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities statewide. For more information, visit the Foundation website.

About the Mardi Gras Indian Council. To learn about the Mardi Gras Indian Council, visit their website.

About ArtPlace America. ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration of foundations, banks, and federal agencies that exists to position art and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. For more information, visit ArtPlace America’s website..