Miami based novelist Maria Trujillo contributes this Fresh VUE feature. Her inspiration? An independent artist collective in New Orleans.
My first day in New Orleans, I walked for miles. Several blocks into my expedition, the seasoned city reaffirmed one of my culture mantras: For better or worse, with hardship comes inspiration. Creative minds merge to dissect problems and realize solutions—whether it be recovering from the devastation of a hurricane or forging a path for contemporary art. The Front artist collective is no exception. Their not-for-profit space wraps around the corner of St. Claude Ave. and Manzant St. in the quarter known as the Bywater. Behind the group’s humble façade, are four galleries cleverly curated to show the work of the 18 artists in the collective.
The creatives behind the gallery bring to mind the many manifestos of art history’s past in that, by uniting, they are cultivating new and experimental work. Within their exhibition space, the Front exposes local contemporary art that stands apart from work seen in major art fairs. The Front’s grass-roots moxie echoes the independent spirit that so many love about New Orleans. An equally engaging characteristic is their open and inclusive attitude. Many of the shows include the work of artists that are not part of their collective, but whose philosophies or investigations align with theirs. The Front’s refreshing attitude has gained them notice and helped extend their reach as far as Japan. No doubt, their gallery, lectures, performances, and screenings are a growing asset to the New Orleans contemporary art scene. If you find yourself on the Prospect.3 route this fall, take time to stop by and see for yourself the inspiring dynamic of The Front.
Photos courtesy The Front