The $20k grant from Bike Easy and the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition will provide for installation of Thompson’s ‘Living Room’ at several locations along the City’s new Moving New Orleans low-stress bikeway network
New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition’s ‘Art for the Bikeways’, a $20,000 grant for an artist or team to design and install themed artwork at multiple locations of the Moving New Orleans bikeway network, has been awarded to local artist Breanna Thompson for her proposal, Living Room. In partnership with the City of New Orleans, the art installation will highlight the City’s investment in biking and better mobility with the construction of 75 miles of new and improved bikeways across the city.
Thompson envisions Living Room as, “a safe gathering space for people to connect outdoors and a place to provide comfort and community at an outdoor living room for people biking and walking who need a break on their commute.” Made from formed soil and sod, the installation will have couches as a playful interpretation of the ordinary, inviting residents to interact with the streetscape and connect with nature.
“Art for Bikeways is an amazing initiative for the increased use of cleaner, more accessible transportation for our city and world,” said Thompson. “I want to highlight that by making safe spaces for us to gather in these uncertain and difficult-to-navigate times.”
A colorful column wall carved digitally etched with neighbors’ faces will illuminate viewers and their surroundings at night and provide a colorful backdrop in the daylight. Living Room offers opportunities for activation, interaction, and contemplation.
“We are truly excited about the opportunity this set of installations will provide to community residents as they bike and walk along the coming Moving New Orleans Bikes network,” said Robert Henig Bell, campaign manager for Bike Easy and the Coalition. “Our selection committee’s confidence in Breanna and her ability to bring this vision to life made Living Room our clear winner of the Art for the Bikeways public art grant.”
Breanna Thompson, a New Orleans native, has built her career as a craftsperson in carpentry, welding, painting and finishing; production design and art direction; visual art, and teaching and activism. In her work, she discusses the metaphysical, examining form and place through various media. In welding steel poles end to end and weaving them through each other, she discusses collective existence. Throwing paint at her substrate, she examines the exertion of control on what is essentially chaos. Pulling forms from that chaos proved that to succeed, one must release some control to gain more. Marrying various media, the available visual vocabulary is extended to have discussions on the creation and collective existence.
The Coalition and Ms. Thompson plan to have all Living Room installations completed by June of this year.
For more information on Breanna Thompson and her work, visit her website www.btart.org.