COMMUNITY ART IN THE POST-DISASTER LANDSCAPES OF TODAY

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Site #26: NOCCA Visual Art Renegades "Black, White, Blue" Milne Boys Home: 5420 Franklin Avenue, Gentilly: Unveiling: Mar 15



Google map.

ARTinACTION is pleased to announce Director Elizabeth Underwood's collaboration with a collective of NOCCA visual art students on the former Milne Boys Home site in Gentilly. In their efforts to address the Milne Boys Home's history of segregation as well as the city's negligence regarding the removal of the blue tarps installed on the Milne rooftops post-Katrina, the artists worked with old and new blue tarps to "segregate" the blue with the surrounding landscape. Creating obviously sculpted mixed-media works amongst the tattered remaining tarps, a narrative is initiated exploring the tension between good intentions and neglect. At what point do the traces of disaster become integrated into the "new" environment? How responsible is "the human hand" in the construction (or deconstruction) of the aesthetics of a post-disaster community? Should a community that is fighting for attention embrace or critique the signs of this lack of attention? By raising a blue tarp on the flagpole, the artists make an ironic and proud statement expressing the power of victims of disaster to not just survive but thrive.










































Milne Boys Home began in 1933 as a residential facility for troubled and needy boys. It was originally called the "Asylum for Wayward Orphans" and has gone through many incarnations - all proposing to tend to the needs of delinquent and impoverished young men. Since its inception, it has been under the jurisdiction of the Milne Trust, a private foundation that stipulates that the facility be run for boys. For some time now the City of New Orleans has been leasing the property from the Milne Trust.


ARTinACTION would like to thank Mary Len Costa, John Otis, Monty Burlingame, and the Milne Trust for their generous support of this project.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in this neighborhood and we all really got a kick out of what you all did on this property. That you were able to get the city to cut the grass was really an accomplishment. We've been trying since Katrina and they just ignore us. I'm not an artist or art critic but I believe that if art projects can bring people together like this project did and can get things done on a civic level you must be doing something right. I especially appreciate how you included the neighborhood; it was so nice to meet you and talk. So thank you for remembering us and doing the work you do. KEep up the good work!

Martha.

Amanda said...

While I appreciate your group's sentiment and desire to express these very important and poignant topics, as a member of a volunteer relief team which worked on cleaning and restoring the Milne Boys Home a few years ago, I have to express a dislike for your chosen means of expression.

You wrote that your work was intended to explore "the tension between good intentions and neglect," and I feel that your efforts perpetuated this tension to a further degree than was necessary. Now, this may or may not have been your intention, but from the eyes of those attempting to clean and restore this beautiful and historical site, your creations served to further hinder the already difficult task of cleaning and renovating the property as we were the ones who had to clean up the expression that you created. It seems to me that there could have been another means to express your groups ideas without causing additional work for the volunteers.

Now, I don't want to be overly harsh, and I truly don't wish to offend you because I do very much appreciate art and find that it is an excellent way to express thoughts and ideas which cannot be expressed in any other way. And I truly understand your intentions. However, it was very upsetting to all the members in my volunteer group to see that in the midst of all this natural destruction and devastation, others had chosen to add to the mess and chaos rather than help improve the mess that was already there.

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B. Holmes said...

I have a pan to revamp this property & put it to a very good use. Helping children as it was intended. If anyone knows any information that may help (esp regarding the Milne Foundation) can you please send me an email fazin@hotmail.com. Unfortunately the city is of no use.