History of the New Orleans Arts District


The New Orleans Arts District, centered primarily on Julia and Camp Streets, encompasses 16 art galleries, 4 major museums of art, as well as fine arts schools and artist’s studios. The area, which formerly was considered a skid row, had begun to be reclaimed in the 1970’s by artists and by a visionary gallery owner.  It wasn’t until the 1984 World’s Fair, however, that major revitalization began in what was to be termed “The Warehouse District” with fashionable condos in the former industrial buildings. The Riverwalk Marketplace and Convention Center also were a product of the World’s Fair.

Serendipitous with the residential and commercial development was the interest in the area as an arts district. In 1977 the Contemporary Arts Center opened at 900 Camp Street; and as the arts district grew, so did the CAC, with the massive renovation completed in 1990. In that year, the area was designated “The Warehouse District Arts Association” in an effort to link urban revitalization with that of the arts; and in 2002, the name was changed to “The New Orleans Arts District”. The growing Association is a major force for cultural and economic development.

Today, the galleries are active in promoting the arts, with an Art Walk the first Saturday of each month.  Some of these Art Walks have become legendary as the start of the art season in the spring and fall with the trend-setting street parties Jammin’ on Julia, White Linen Night, and Art for Arts’ Sake. New Orleans was always a mecca for artists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, because of its mild climate and picturesque architecture and lifestyle.  Today, it has become an Art Destination, with recent international acclaim for the first Biennale Prospect 1. New Orleans, a multi-media city-wide installation of contemporary art.

This post was contributed by Jean Bragg Gallery. In 1991, Jean Bragg opened an art and antiques Gallery on Magazine Street, providing the best in Louisiana painting and pottery to collectors and museums across the country. The Gallery’s exhibitions of classic Southern Art acquaint the public with the importance of the regional school. In 2005, the Jean Bragg Gallery of Southern Art relocated to the New Orleans Arts District in the important Julia Street Row. This 1832 building is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. With this move, the Gallery also showcases contemporary artists to promote local talent and complement the aims of the growing Arts District. Each month the Gallery participates in the popular Art Walk, the reception for new art exhibitions held the first Saturday evening of each month.

Jean Bragg Gallery of Southern Art
600 Julia Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 895-7375

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