We spent many a summer weekend getting lost in his first “legal” exhibit last year, so we knew this one would be larger than life as well. Then dubbed “the largest street art exhibit in the American South”, Exhibit Be was a successful quest to shed light on the blight problems in the Greater New Orleans area, as well as social disparities we’ve faced as Americans. Brandan and an amazing group of street artists from around the country turned dilapidated housing complex, that was once full of families, into a massive display of historically and socially relevant paintings.
I was pregnant then. We even did our family pregnancy shoot there.
So it was really cool to walk our newest little toddler through his newest work space today. Which is housed in a huge 34,000 sq. ft. blighted warehouse in New Orleans famous Treme neighborhood.
One of my favorite parts was the movable block children . The boys loved turning the blocks to change the profession on each block. We talked about what they want to be when they grow up. Of course “ninjas” and “photographer like daddy” came up…but we’ll see as they grow.
I can only call it inspired genius how BMike creatively weaves the past into the present.
From ProjectBe, to ExhibitBe, to Studio Be, I’ve never not been affected by his passion for his purpose.
Unlike many other artist spaces, there’s always a feeling that children are not only welcomed but encouraged to touch, hear, see and explore as much as they’d like. There were even printed coloring pages of the various paintings at a dedicated children’s station. My boys loved coloring the Black Christ coloring page as well as one with local singer Tank and the Bangas.
The grown ups had a good time too. I even shed a few tears. There were huge boxes shaped in the letters “BE” when you entered the BE, there was paper and a faux flame. The idea was to write down whatever is holding you back from love and throw it in the flames.
Inside of the “E” there were pieces of paper stuck everywhere. Patrons got to write down affirmation, letters to themselves, telling themselves why they deserved love.
Just being in there you could feel that folks were moved by it. I was for sure!
My heart was full in what looked like an “all white” space. There were TV monitors next to blank canvases. Brandan had actually painted his ex-loves on those canvases and covered them. He even had one come to help him paint over her picture. Look, I was ALL the feels when I saw the playback, OK?! What was really cool was that the space was interactive. With the flip of a switch, black lights came on that revealed quotes painted in fluorescent colors. They spoke all about how we view love now…and y’all know that’s our area. I wish I could’ve gotten pics of it but I was too emotional.
You can find more information, including tickets and memberships <here>