We’re excited to announce the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities as the latest site for Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation, a project of Arts Council New Orleans, downtown New Orleans’ growing mural project.
As part of the project’s third iteration, local New Orleans artist Ayo Scott and internationally-renowned artist Sanford Biggers have created two prodigious murals for New Orleans’ signature collection of large-scale murals. Premiering in 2019, with the addition of these two new works, Unframed has quickly grown to nine murals in the Arts District and continues to highlight the vibrancy of New Orleans as an international cultural center.
Scott’s mural at LEH’s headquarters at 938 Lafayette Street in New Orleans pays homage to his late father and artist, Xavier University of Louisiana professor, and MacArthur Fellow John T. Scott. The mural coincides with The Helis Foundation John Scott Center, which will open early 2022, and is an ode to generations of New Orleanians, with depictions of his father’s well-known public sculptures Spirit House and Ocean Song, and his young daughter dressed as Superwoman.
Artist, educator, and humanist John Scott exemplified the genius that runs in the veins of many Louisianans who live dedicated and distinctly local lives. Opening in early 2022, The Helis Foundation John Scott Center will be a hub for integrated arts and humanities programming unlike any in the Gulf South, presenting the LEH-held collection of Scott’s art in 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibition space.
The Center will allow visitors of every age to wholly engage with Scott’s art and explore its three primary humanities themes: human expression, human and civil rights, and human interaction. Programming at The Center will draw first and foremost from John Scott’s body of work, but will also expand to offer educational opportunities as well as programs on the environmental humanities, pandemics, poverty, and justice.
Ayo Scott’s originally painted as a means of letting go of life’s curveballs, such as the death of his father, graduate school, and post-Katrina New Orleans. Those curveballs brought grief but also a purpose to Scott’s art. After seeing the face of a city change so quickly, he began creating to preserve and magnify pieces of what makes the city special. While much of his work abstract, his subject is now focused on ways to celebrate the defenders of the spirit of New Orleans.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Ayo Scott is a graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and Xavier University of Louisiana. He entered grad school at The Institute of Design in Chicago before taking a year off to create a series of paintings inspired by the tsunami of 2004. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans the year after, prompting Scott to immediately return home to New Orleans. While living in his parents gutted home in the Gentilly neighborhood, he started a clothing and design company which continued for several years until he began to drift from commercial work toward his own artistic projects.