Three New Orleans Students Selected Winners in ‘Unframed’ Downtown Mural Art Project
Three New Orleans students were recently named winners of a citywide art contest as part of Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation, a project of the Arts Council New Orleans. International School students Akayla Bailey, Darriel Brooks and Encore Academy student Xzivion Strong were selected by local artist Jessica Strahan to help provide inspiration for her new mural design, which is planned to be painted within Legacy Park in the New Orleans Arts District this fall. In addition to having their artworks provide as basis of the new public mural, the students also won a print of Jessica Strahan’s work, an Arts Council T-shirt, and a $50 VISA gift card.
The new mural will be the first of three unveiled in 2020–21 as part of Unframed 2.0 after an international call to womxn artists last year. Strahan’s mural proposal is an extension of her “You Are What You Eat” series and will depict mothers and children across cultures.
Strahan’s artwork consistently depicts the city’s rich culture, distinctive landmarks, and colorful people juxtaposed with tribes of Africa. With works already on the walls of homes in London, England, New York City, and Athens, Greece, Strahan is set on sharing her art throughout the world. Her recent works include the Treme Fall Fest poster, an art installation with Felicity Redevelopment, and 300 for 300 Where Y’Art in partnership with the Times-Picayune. Strahan was also the 2019 winner of The Helis Foundation Art Prize for Louisiana Contemporary at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, selected by the exhibit’s juror, David Breslin, Director of Curatorial Initiatives at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The winning student artworks also portray cultural food incorporated into their designs.
According to 10th-grader Darriel Brooks, “For my artwork, I did a painting using not only of a person close to me but things that are mean[ingful] to my family. This picture is of my mother in her natural hair form with her favorite food, red beans, which hang around her neck and as her earrings.”
Unframed 2.0 is the second edition of downtown New Orleans’ largest signature mural collection that brings the vibrancy of the New Orleans Arts District from the gallery and museum walls into the streets. Future artists and mural locations will be announced in partnership with the Downtown Development District and Arts District of New Orleans Association in the coming months.
Current Unframed murals that can be viewed in the Arts District include:
Brandan “B-Mike” Odums in partnership with YAM: 636 Baronne St.
Carl Joe Williams: 827 Tchoupitoulas St.
Etam Cru: 600 O’Keefe St.
MOMO: Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St.
Team A/C: 746 Tchoupitoulas St.
Text “Unframed” to 56512 to take a virtual tour of the murals.