Culture Collision is a one-stop shop for arts in New Orleans

CULTURE COLLISION

Like a trade show for the arts in New Orleans, the fifth annual Culture Collision will serve as a one-stop site for 65 artistic and cultural entities to publicize their work, Wednesday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Generations Hall. It is free and open to the public.

“Our mission was to increase and further the collaboration of arts organizations in New Orleans, so why not work together and share?” event directors Jess Brown said. “It’s also to benefit the community and the people of New Orleans so they could go to one place and learn about all of the arts and meet people. There’s a buzz. There’s an excitement.”

Patrons will be able to stroll the venue and learn about each of the arts organizations represented, picking up free goodies at each table. There will be a free photo booth and pop-up performances by local artists during the event, and the Lower 9th Ward Youth Orchestra will give a welcome performance.

Funk-rock band Morning 40 Federation will perform at the after-party, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at culturenola.org, $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Past Culture Collision patrons selected Morning 40 as the overwhelming favorite band for this year’s event in response to an informal poll.

The brain trust for Culture Collision includes event directors Brown and Janet Wilson in cooperation with some of the most prominent art and culture organizations in New Orleans.

“It’s a great opportunity for those who are new to the city to get a taste of everything that is going on,” said Brown, who is a communications coordinator at Loyola University.

“Our most powerful voice is the 65 arts organizations who send out a uniform message to their entire audience. You can see the diversity of the groups who will be there,” said Wilson, membership manager at WWNO-FM.

Culture Collision has grown exponentially since its inception in 2008 at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Both Wilson and Brown hope to turn the event into an outdoor festival.

“It’s a grassroots efforts, but it’s getting a little more glossy,” Wilson said.

“It just keeps getting better,” Brown said. “We started not knowing how it was going to be received and there has been an overwhelming reception. We’ve tried to make it bigger and better, we’ve added the after-party to give that fun element to round out the evening.”

Wilson and Brown are expecting as many as 2,000 patrons this year, up from their previous attendance of 1,700.

Visitors to the website at culturenola.org can purchase tickets and access one free raffle entry which will cover chances for all of the prized art and cultural items, including a season subscription to Southern Rep Theatre, adult classes at Dancing Grounds, a mural print by Sarah Dunn, a family membership to City Park and many others. Anyone posting an online donation to Culture Collision will receive a ticket for a free drink.

Brown said Culture Collision also provides fund-raising and job opportunities for those interested in the local arts scene. She said some new or smaller organizations have been able to tap into resources that weren’t previously on their radar.

“New Orleans is a viable arts community and the local economy for the arts is amazing,” Wilson said.

Culture Collision 5 is hosted by WWNO-FM and sponsored by New Orleans & Me, Generations Hall, Canary Collective and Barcadia. The event is organized by the Arts Council of New Orleans, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Loyola University Montage Series, New Orleans Ballet Association, New Orleans Opera Association, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and Southern Rep.

Karen Celestan is a writer, educator and cultural administrator living in New Orleans. She can be reached at Karen@mosaicliterary.com