Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Art exhibits to enjoy during your visit to Mardi Gras

Although visitors come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, there’s a lot more to the Crescent City than parades and partying. Take time to enjoy the museums and free venues for art around town for a delightful change of pace. Beyond the art galleries in the French Quarter, visitor can find many artistic treasures in the city. Check venue hours during the hectic days of the Carnival season to avoid disappointment. Here are a few to get you started.

Jackson Square
The artists surrounding Jackson Square present a colorful introduction to the New Orleans art scene. The eclectic genres available assure something for everyone. Browse along fence to see the work of up to two hundred artists, operating on licenses granted by the city. Looking is free, and visitors might find the perfect piece to purchase as a souvenir of the visit.

Woldenberg Park

Across Decatur Street from the square, climb the steps to the Riverwalk and turn right along the path to visit another free venue, Woldenberg Park, sixteen acres of green space and art leading toward Canal Street. The park operates under the auspices of the Audubon Foundation which also operates the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, among other attractions. Sculptures and mobiles dot the park, giving art lovers an open-air viewing experience along the bank of the Mississippi River. Watch river traffic glide by for a glimpse of reality art in motion.

Dutch Alley

Tucked away behind the buildings lining Decatur Street at Dumaine, a circular fountain hosts a band in silhouette. The characters captured there welcome visitors to Dutch Alley, a combination of open-air art exhibit and art gallery. Step into the alley and meet Jacques the Butcher by Eric Kaposta, who greets visitors entering the Alley.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Go beyond the boundaries of the French Quarter and into the Warehouse District to enjoy art created by a wide spectrum of southern artists. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art boasts multiple floors of paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and installation art. The reasonable admission fee coupled with the variety of artists makes the O an excellent destination for any art lover. The Confederate Museum next door will interest history buffs.

Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans

Stroll across the street from the Ogden Museum to reach the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and another reason to love the Camp Street museum corridor. Park once for access to both art centers, plus the National World War II Museum.

New Orleans Museum of Art and Besthoff Sculpture Garden

Venture out of the French Quarter and Central Business District for a visit to a New Orleans legacy, the New Orleans Museum of Art. Although the traditional museum facility requires an admission fee, the stunning open air Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA does not. More than sixty sculptures dot the peaceful garden, including the iconic Hercules the Archer which stood at the main entrance to the museum for decades.

Originally appeared on 02/24/14 at

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