The Creative Alliance of New Orleans (CANO) was founded in 2008 as a network of cultural and creative producers, professionals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations based in New Orleans, Louisiana, whose mission is to provide training, education, and information for creative artists, cultural producers, and the community; to protect our cultural legacy; and to promote the revitalization of the city as a cultural and economic center.
CANO provides numerous resources for creative professionals across a variety of industries, including: visual, performing, design, media, literary and culinary arts. Services include professional development for working artists, cross discipline networking to promote collaboration and career opportunities, public tours of artist studios and private collections to encourage the purchase of art, and extensive advocacy initiatives to position New Orleans as a creative economic center.
CREATIVE ALLIANCE OF NEW ORLEANS: Growing the City’s Creative Economy and Artists’ Careers
In a freezing room at the Art Egg building in the fall of 2007 about thirty artists and art supporters gathered to talk about building a better understanding of the city’s creative economy, to better recognize the growing creative scene here, and to explore how to make sure our triennial, Prospect.1, opening the following fall, could benefit the city’s artists and creative initiatives. We decided to form an organization to pursue those goals, supporting visual, performing, media, design and culinary artists. The Creative Alliance of New Orleans became a Louisiana State non-profit, a board was formed, and the Colton School on St. Claude Avenue was borrowed from the Recovery School District for Prospect.1 to showcase the work of what came to be over 160 artists and creative industries organizations. The Studio at Colton was visited by over 30,000 people before we returned it to be renovated as a school again in June 2014. This experience led to one of CANO’s key programs today, our Creative Spaces program.
CANO today supports and presents the work of creative artists in underserved communities. Our Creative Space at Alembic Community Development’s Myrtle Banks Building, includes a 2,000 square foot gallery space where we have exhibited works that honor the history and achievements of the Central City community with works by emerging and under-recognized artists. Crevasse 22 and the River House are respectively a new sculpture garden and museum in Poydras, Louisiana, sponsored by the Torres I Burns Trust — the first arts venue in St. Bernard — where the works of regional artists address environmental and community issues. Attorney Blake Jones invites us to use the vacant St. Maurice Church in the Lower 9th Ward where we have hosted performances by Airlift, and presented our own “9th Ward Improv Opera”, showcasing the talents of regional spoken word, jazz and dance artists and resident voices. We are now working on a video production based on this work.
New Orleans is globally recognized as a seminally creative city, so no surprise that we have an unusually high number of creative students in our schools. CANO set out to make sure these students know about creative educational and job opportunities through classes, and the first national data base for post-secondary educational programs. We are now developing a Career Technology Education pathway leading to certification for high growth, high paying creative industry jobs.
Art Home New Orleans Tours:
Despite a lively art scene in the metro area, purchases of visual arts do not reflect the quality and output of work here. CANO is addressing this gap with a program aimed at helping residents and visitors alike to experience private art collections in the homes of residents, as well as work in studios and galleries, to better understand the accessibility and affordability of art. Our tours help visitors also see the culture of New Orleans in a deeper context, fulfilling our image as a culturally rich city.
Advocacy: The Breakthrough Coalition, and CANOpeners
CANO has convened a coalition of arts and non-arts interests to unite in a campaign to press for annual dedicated funding for the arts, no overnight task. So a short term program to provide marketing opportunities through new media is in development. CANO also provides CANOpeners to bring cultural, business and community leaders together to learn about and work with each other.