Newcomb Art Museum to host free performances, reception for the close of 'Flint is Family' and 'The American Dream Denied'

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Newcomb Art Museum will host a variety of performances from artists and collaborators from their current student-organized exhibition The American Dream Denied: The New Orleans Residents of Gordon Plaza Seek Relocation to celebrate the run of the impactful exhibition, as well as to mark the final days of the powerful solo show Flint is Family by photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier, also currently on view. Beginning at 5 p.m., the gallery will transform into a venue for spoken word, dance and song as new works inspired by the experiences of the residents of Gordon Plaza are performed for the first time. The event, which also features catering and drinks by Chef Ashley Jonique, is free and open to all.

“We wanted to create a closing event that was impactful and unique,” says Tom Friel, Coordinator for Interpretation & Public Engagement at the Newcomb Art Museum. “Featuring performances by artist LaVonna Varnado-Brown and poets Shera Phillips and Jewell Prim, the exhibitions will gain new context from these inspired events. Likewise, the reception will give visitors the opportunity to engage with residents of Gordon Plaza, members of the Critical Visualization and Media Lab and the New Orleans People's Assembly.”

The first performance, a spoken word by poet Shera Phillips accompanied by imagery, will start at 5:30 p.m., with a second spoken word performance by Jewell Prim beginning at 6 p.m. The final performance, a mix of spoken word, song, and interpretive dance choreographed by artist LaVonna Varnado-Brown (whose work Microfloria Cornocupia is featured in the exhibit The American Dream Denied) and performed by members of the New Orleans People’s Assembly will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the museum’s galleries.

In addition to viewing the various interpretive performance works, visitors will also have the opportunity to meet current residents of Gordon Plaza and students from Tulane’s Critical Visualization and Media Lab, which organized The American Dream Denied, and hear first-hand about the residents' daily experiences as well as learn more about how the exhibition came to be.

The exhibitions, which close on Dec. 14, both raise awareness of environmental issues facing marginalized communities across the country and close to home through photographs, video, audio, and mixed media. A free closing exhibition tour will be provided on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 12 p.m.

The event and the exhibitions are free and open to all. More details can be found at