3718 Saint Claude Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70117
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Press Street was formed in 2005 with a mission to promote art and literature in the community through events, publications and arts education. Shortly after Katrina, Press Street began producing events in small businesses which had yet to reopen, including the Saturn Bar and Preservation Hall, to promote a symbiotic relationship between small businesses, non-profits and artists in the city’s rebuilding. The organization continued to develop around the project INTERSECTION | NEWORLEANS - a blind collaboration between 25 New Orleans artists and 25 writers, inspired by 25 specific street corners of the city. Though started in the summer of 2005, pre Katrina, it became all the more poignant when it was finally published in April 2006. INTERSECTION | NEWORLEANS spawned the first indoor art exhibition in the St. Claude Arts District with the original work from the project hanging in the gutted l’art noir space and 100 percent of the proceeds going to affected artists. INTERSECTION | NEWORLEANS established the mission of Press Street’s book projects, which focus on the relationship between the visual and literary arts.
Since 2006, Press Street has produced the event Draw-A-Thon, a round the clock, 24-hour drawing extravaganza where multiple forms of drawing are explored by artists and non-artists alike, last year attracting over 700 attendees. Press Street’s 24 hour Draw-A-Thon is the only event of its kind in the city of New Orleans. It is an art experience in which people are active participants– not spectators; where the premise is to encourage creating for the sake of creating, process over product. It is an all-ages, free event that is open to the public. All art materials are provided. The 24 hours are punctuated by two-hour drawing workshops led by local artists and arts educators, designed to encourage the participant to experience different aspects of the art of drawing. The environment constantly changes because of what is being taught and drawn. In addition to these more structured events, there are on-going activities: the Drawing Room, in which every surface is covered in paper, fun for children of all ages; as well as the Amazing Draw-a-tron 3000 and live figure drawing.
In March of 2008, Press Street opened Antenna at 3161 Burgundy Street, located in the 9th Ward Bywater neighborhood, one of the few small, non-profit spaces to exhibit visual contemporary art in the city of New Orleans. Until May of 2012, Antenna developed exhibitions at the Burgundy street location which emphasized emerging artists and young curators focusing on collaborations, group shows, solo shows featuring long time local artists who are still underexposed, and challenging works of video and digital media while also encouraging partnerships with city-wide programming initiatives like Si Cuba and PhotoNOLA and national arts initiatives such as Independent Lens. Some new additions to programming are exchange shows with national and international art organizations and Press Street|Antenna public arts initiatives such as the Happy Hour Salon series. An active member of the New Orleans arts community and the St. Claude Arts District (SCAD), our shows have been well-received and well-attended with reviews in local, national and even international media. Drawing from the diverse strengths of members of the collective, we were one of the first galleries to embrace video arts, performance art, literary arts and community film screenings into our public programming.
In 2009 Press Street’s Art House Film Program was created through a partnership with Jerald L. White and the Charitable Film Network – a diverse community of media-makers, dedicated to connecting and collaborating with non-profits, artists, and activists on projects that benefit the community. The Art House Film Program initially hosted New Orleans Community Cinema, a national civic engagement initiative featuring free monthly screenings of films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, and monthly screenings about art and artists. Press Street’s Art House Film Program currently supports screenings and discussions, festivals throughout the city – including a monthly environmental film series called The Green Screen, a bi-monthly Japanese Cinema Series, a weekly film series called Musically Speaking, and other film and art related programs (New Orleans Loving Festival, Deep South by Suroeste, and NOLA MIX).
In 2011 Nathan C. Martin started the Room 220 blog. What began as a literary hub in the former Colton School, Press Street’s Room 220 is now a virtual clearing house for news about New Orleans book and literature culture. In addition to an extensive online presence, Room 220 hosts a variety of workshops, lectures, and events focusing on all things written. And with the introduction of the expanded Press Street facilities at 3718 Saint Claude Avenue in November 2012, a physical Room 220 is back with an expanded Antenna Gallery space and so much more to come!
Press Street is supported in part by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the RosaMary Foundation, The House of Blues Foundation, and The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. Additional operational support for Press Street is provided from a Community Arts Grant administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans and made possible by the City of New Orleans, and by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency.