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Xavier is host to Mardi Gras Indian Arts Summer Camp 2011 Exhibition

8th August 2011   ·   0 Comments

The Community Arts Program (CAP), part of the Xavier University Department of Art, recently unveiled “Mardi Gras Indian Arts: Summer Camp 2011,” an exhibition that represents the culmination of an eight-week summer program for New Orleans youth that focuses on a rich legacy of Mardi Gras Indian traditions is on display in the Xavier University Center, 1 Drexel Drive (1st floor gallery).

The exhibition, which opened on July 29 and will remain on view through Sept. 9, features an eclectic selection of beadwork, photographs and other materials that document the program’s hands-on sessions, taught by artist and educator Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indians and Big Chief Walter Landry of The Black Mohawks. Students were immersed in four-week sessions marked by instruction in both Uptown and Downtown Mardi Gras Indian sewing styles, and an engagement with historical narratives that highlighted the vibrancy and diversity of Mardi Gras Indian Culture, a New Orleans tradition that has endured since the mid-19th century.

The 2011 Mardi Gras Indian Arts theme focused on insects as primary subject matter. Students participated in interactive field trips to gain inspiration for insect-themed designs. They also visited cultural and art museums to learn about the histories of various New Orleans traditions and cultural practices. These visits included trips to the Audubon Insectarium to learn more about exotic insects from around the world, the Dances and Feathers Mardi Gras Center and the New Orleans African American Museum in Tremé.

The program was supported by a grant from the Unified Summer Grants Collaborative. The United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation provided funding to 34 summer programs, totaling just under $250,000 and serving more than 5,000 low-income children and youth in a seven-parish region.

Earlier this summer, representatives from the United Way and the Lagasse Foundation kicked off the program at the opening day of the Xavier Mardi Gras Indian Arts camp.

The Xavier Mardi Gras Indian Arts exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Xavier CAP Director Rashida Ferdinand at (504) 975-5168 or email at For more info on Unified Summer Programs visit­fo/re­sources.

This article was originally published in the August 8, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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