Grandstand Exhibits 2016



Bluesman James “Son” Thomas on Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta in 1985.

Bluesman James “Son” Thomas on Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta in 1985.

The Americana Music Triangle is home to music’s greatest story: nine original genres of music born in one tiny, mystical slice of the globe – a mere fifteen hundred miles of highway. From the moon, it’s just a triangle, but this tiny sliver of the Southeastern United States left its permanent mark on the world as the birthplace of Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock ‘N’ Roll, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Southern Gospel, Cajun/Zydeco and Bluegrass music. The Americana Music Triangle is overflowing with the stories and songs, legends and landmarks, struggles and triumphs that created the country’s most powerful cultural export: the music heard all over the world. In honor of the ten-year anniversary of the New Orleans Photo Alliance, this photography exhibit will feature images focused on the storied area: New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, Highway 61, Clarksdale, the small towns, churches, juke joints, back roads, honky-tonks, dance halls and countless people in between. This exhibition is juried by Sacha Lecca, the Deputy Photo Editor at Rolling Stone Magazine. The New Orleans Photo Alliance launches this traveling exhibit at the Jazz Fest, before touring the Americana Music Triangle route.


Encuentro—a Spanish word with multilayered meanings, “encountering, discovering, confronting, coming together, growing”—is the organizing principle of this exhibit. Encuentro, New Orleans showcases Latino artists from New Orleans on the subject of what encuentro means to them. The Encuentro, New Orleans exhibit is organized by PUENTES|LatiNOLA and Letrarte – a community of creative individuals coming together in New Orleans to build a network for the preservation, development, and promotion of Latino arts, culture and social advocacy.


The tradition of building an altar to St. Joseph began in Sicily in the Middle Ages in gratitude to St. Joseph for answering prayers for deliverance from famine. The families of farmers and fisherman built altars in their homes to share their good fortune with others in need. In the late 19th century, the custom of building St. Joseph Day altars was brought to New Orleans by Sicilian immigrants. The Feast of St. Joseph is now a New Orleans city-wide event celebrated by widely diverse cross-section of the population. Both public and private St. Joseph’s altars are built across the city, and open to any visitor who wishes to pay homage.

Artist Linda Sampson showcases the art of the St. Joseph’s Day altar. A notable feature of Ms. Sampson’s altar is its floral decoration, which are crafted entirely from tiny beads. The creation of beaded flowers is a centuries-old European practice, providing a lasting alternative decoration for church altars and tombs when fresh flowers were not available. Ms. Sampson will present large displays of the faux flowers, painstakingly crafted from the countless tiny beads she has collected, most of them vintage seed and bugle beads.

The Backstreet Cultural Museum – A Powerhouse of Knowledge

Director Sylvester Francis, a.k.a. Hawk Mini Camera, shares his life’s work, The Backstreet Cultural Museum, with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The exhibit includes famous Jazz Funeral photography and memorabilia, Social Aid and Pleasure Club crafts, second-line mementos, and recorded film footage of New Orleans’ funerals, second-lines, Baby Dolls, Skull and Bone Gangs and Mardi Gras Indians. The Backstreet Cultural Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection related to New Orleans’ African American community-based masking and processional traditions.