La Vie de Ville: Royal Street art corridor shows off funky side

Art galleries that line Royal Street were the feature this past weekend during the New Orleans Arts Council’s annual presentation of Dirty Linen Night. The funkier cousin of the Warehouse District’s White Linen event, Dirty Linen originated several years ago as the French Quarter’s way of showcasing art along the Royal Street corridor. The idea is for art patrons to don the same outfits left over from the weekend before.

Dirty Linen is definitely a quirkier and less formal affair than what takes place on Julia Street. Locals and visitors to New Orleans collectively mix and merge with participants from the morning’s Red Dress Run, adding somewhat of a Fellini element to the show. Of course, Quarter residents infuse their own unique character to the event, which takes place during the balmy August heat. Most of the show is inside at each of the more than 60 participating galleries.

If you’re into people watching, Dirty Linen definitely has much to offer. I spotted some residents simply pulling up chairs and breaking open some wine to enjoy the endless passing parade of characters.

What better place on the planet to check out the work of some of our city’s finest artists. Of the many stops I made along the more than eight-block-long art walk, the Alex Beard Studio was among my favorites. Beard’s intricately detailed colorful drawings were a big attraction for many art patrons, with an added perk of getting to watch the artist at work in his studio.

“Crowds were steady all evening long,” Dolita Brown, of the Arts Council, said. “They seemed to arrive earlier than last year and, based on our observations, the crowds are growing larger as the evening progresses.”

I can certainly attest to that fact since it became increasingly more challenging to move about during the latter hours of event.

For art patrons who wished to party on after the galleries closed, there was the after party at Latrobes. Proceeds derived from cocktail and vendor sales went to support the mission of the Arts Council.

If you missed Dirty Linen this year, make plans to not make the same mistake next year. Check out www.artscouncilofneworleans.org for the latest news and a detail on all of the nonprofit’s future events. The Arts Council of New Orleans advocates, administers and educates the community on the value of art and it was evident the community supports it.

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in the Advocate. Email robertagrove@hotmail.com.