Some regions have trees with leaves that change to brilliant colors as a way of ushering in fall. New Orleans has Art for Art’s Sake, which is just as colorful—though contained to walls instead of tree limbs.
Created by the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in 1980, Art for Art’s Sake is a way of closing out one art season and ushering in another. It began small, just the CAC and a few nearby galleries, but these days it reaches all the way into Uptown.
For the CAC, Art for Art’s Sake marks the last chance to see artists who are part of their guest-curated Open Call Exhibit, Constructing the Break. Through a variety of medium—film, photography, sculpture, painting, and others—30 regional artists consider what it means to be rooted and moving, inspired by the Mississippi River which has marked land and people for centuries. The exhibit, which opened August 4, will close along with the Art for Art’s Sake evening festivities, on October 6.
In an effort to encourage more performance work, the CAC invited several artist collaborators to use their space and resources for the months of August and September. During Art for Art’s Sake, you can catch an informal showing of what they’ve been working on—Vessels, a seven-woman harmonic meditation on the transcendental possibilities of song, Raw Fruit, dance theater that illuminates the relationship between ancestral values and our lives, or Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Theater, a multimedia performance piece inspired by Haiti’s first privately-owned Kreyol-speaking radio station.
And this is just what you can find on Camp Street.
Along Magazine Street you’ll find over 150 different businesses participating in Art for Art’s Sake, with special deals ranging from half-priced House Old Fashioneds at Barrel Proof to pet-friendly treats for Fido at Amis des Paux. The Downtown Arts District is even hosting an Art for Art’s Sake Instagram giveaway that involves taking a few selfies with at least 10 different gallery exhibitions for a chance to win some fun prizes.
Even if you’re not into selfies, you can still wander the galleries and take advantage of live music, wine, and a little shopping. Or sit at a cafe and read up on all the fall exhibits coming to the CAC—from performance art and modern dance to photographic exhibits like Labor Studies, which spans 40 years of documenting New Orleans’ laboring communities from photographers living and working in the Ninth Ward. From 6-9 p.m. Saturday, the night is yours.
It’s a night of endings, of beginnings, and maybe even a few fall-like breezes.