The Newcomb Art Museum reopens to the Tulane community Saturday, Sept. 5, with an extended run of Bmike Odums:
NOT Supposed 2-BE Here. In accordance with guidelines set forth by the university, Tulane students, staff and faculty can schedule their visit with free easy-to-book time slots via the museum’s website and choose a Saturday to explore this groundbreaking exhibition.
In addition to visiting the museum, Tulane audiences and all off-campus community members can engage with the exhibition through the museum’s series of new virtual programs including artist tours, panels, conversations, performances, a digital Family Day and more premiering Saturday.
At noon on Sept. 5, the museum will release a brand new artist walk-through featuring Brandan “Bmike” Odums. Guiding visitors through his show, this 45-minute tour is an in-depth look at the bold histories — and futures — that Odums’ work encapsulates. To view it, visitors can follow the museum’s Facebook page, sign up for the museum’s e-newsletter, or check it out on the museum website.
Debuting later in September, the museum’s program Been Here will feature Melissa Weber, curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive of Tulane University Special Collections, in conversation with Mia X, New Orleans native and Billboard charting emcee hailed as the “Mother of Southern Gangsta Rap.” Focusing on the evolution and influence of hip-hop, the discussion will showcase the impact of trailblazing artistry in New Orleans’ genres beyond jazz.
Throughout October, the museum’s programs will use the themes of inclusion and identity presented in Bmike’s work as catalysts for further conversations. Facilitated by the Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life and moderated by Sienna Abdulahad, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, By Leaps and Bounds will be a roundtable discussion addressing the Black experience at Tulane featuring the voices of alumni and current students alike. On Remembering, set to be released on Indigenous People’s Day, is a conversation between indigenous artist Monique Verdin, a member of Louisiana’s United Nation Houma Council, and Rachel Breunlin, co-founder and director of the Neighborhood Story Project. Anchored from work in
NOT Supposed 2 BE Here and a Toni Morrison quote regarding water as memory, the two will discuss the planetary “power point” of the Mississippi River where it enters the Gulf of Mexico, as detailed in Verdin’s recent book “Return to Yakni Chitto: Houma Migrations.”
In November, the museum will host a virtual Family Day inspired by the current exhibition. Local teaching artists — including Bmike — will engage youth and their caretakers with age-specific art projects made with materials within reach. Culminating in a drivable citywide mural scavenger hunt, the event will bring out the child in everyone and inspire a new generation of artists.
The final digital program, premiering online in December, is a multidisciplinary conversation exploring the life and legacy of local civil rights leader Llewelyn J. Soniat, who is the subject of a 2020 portrait by Odums currently on view at the museum. This program highlights Soniat’s activism, from his work in the 1960s with youth leadership groups desegregating Canal Street to his later interests in the phenomenon of police brutality in the New Orleans community. Bringing special attention to archive collections as instruments for social justice, the guest speakers for this event include Amistad Research Center archivist Felicia Render, ethnomusicologist Matt Sakakeeny, and historian Raphael Cassimere Jr.
Beyond these thought-provoking and inspiring programs, the museum will also be sharing recorded tours of its collection — including Newcomb Pottery and Tiffany Tours — as well as sharing new videos of artists in different disciplines interpreting Bmike’s work and themes into their own mediums.