April 22, 2008
Hello blog readers!
It has been a special treat to be able to walk out my doors and work "in" my studio on my side porch. What's been most important to me is to get settled back at home and in my community―physically living there―and to continue working with others on its redevelopment. It's taken some steps of progress since the last two years and will continue to.
There has still been a lot of attention on the house since its publicity on TOH, which continues to bring people into the neighborhood and give it the attention it needs. We have a lot of redevelopments, new developments, and historic landmarks already in place.
I'm beginning classes at my home on my huge side porch on Monday afternoons to get the creative clay energy moving. I met with students from University of Minnesota about my side lot and its needs for a rain garden to absorb the flooding water―at least 1-2 feet during long rains. (I'm on high ground by the river so the water wants to go down towards the yard away from the levee and just sits there until it soaks in the ground.) A rain garden is a system of sand, rocks, mulch, and plants that enjoy an abundance of water, which enables large quantities of water to soak into the ground.
These amazing students, who were in New Orleans with hundreds of other spring-break-working young people with Historic Green, put their brilliant minds together and developed a wonderful design, with 3 rain gardens, a small pond and a deck in the back.
My vision for the space is for it to be a sculpture garden and artist-in-residence space. This would be a peaceful, contemplative space where artists can come for 3-6 months and work on their creations―with access to my studio, the Mississippi River, privacy, and the Lower 9th Ward Community.
The biennial, Prospect 1, will be coming to New Orleans this November, with hundreds of artists creating and installing work throughout our city. The curator, Dan Cameron, visited my space last week and is communicating with one of the artists about working in my lot to create his sculpture. The L9 Arts Center on Caffin Avenue will also be housing artists-in-residence. The House of Dance and Feathers, a cultural museum on Tupelo St. houses art and memorabilia of New Orleans and Social Aid & Pleasure Club and Mardi Gras Indians.
I am co-teaching, with Ron Bechet, at Xavier University, a Community Arts Course, during which students are learning about the work of the various community service centers in the Lower 9th Ward and creating sculpture and installations that reflect the work of these organizations and will be housed on their grounds.
So you see, my home is not just in my house. It is an extension of my community, of which I am a stakeholder―culturally, economically, and physically―and I am here as long as God keeps me here to do what I'm supposed to do. Our business district on St Claude and Claiborne Avenues needs help with economic development. I'm working to building a clay resource center and clay guild program for young people and a building on St Claude Avenue where their works―as well as other artists' works―can be showcased.
I will be meeting with my artist and ceramic colleagues, as well as community members within the next couple of weeks to begin the foundation for this work. It is a true blessing to have a house to come home and comfortably settle into. I thank This Old House for being a great contributing catalyst for this energy and revitalization of my home and neighborhood!
So in closing, I say that since I have chosen to not live on an isolated island, but within a community, I need to keep rebuilding outside of these walls.
(13) CommentsComment on this Blog
Your house is awsome, they did a great job. Wish you all the best and hope New Orleans comes all the way back.
The House looks great! I have follow along with the shows rebuilding your home. It's a really cool house. Each time I hear anything on the new regarding the lower 9th ward and rebuilding efforts my ears perk up...and this is why.
Hi I am a member of an organization called LEEP-Leaders in Education, Emporwerment and Purpose and we have teamed together with Mack McClendon to assist him in raising funds for the building of the Lower 9th Ward Community Center. I am reaching out to you to see if you can help since you obviously have strong ties to the lower 9th ward. In assisting Mack with the building of the community center one of our fundraiser was a thing called "The Tree of LIFE". It is going to be a symbol in the foyer of the village and we were selling leaves and rocks for certain dollar amounts to raise funds for the center. This venture will cost us about $8000.00 up front to start this "Tree of LIFE", which we now feel that $8000.00 dollars can be put to better use somewhere else in the center. I have had a thought that you may be able to assist in this venture at a minimal cost. We were wondering if you would be interested in helping us on this project by doing the leaves on the tree and rocks of support around the base in ceramics? We have other artisty people who can probably draw and paint the tree on the wall if that is outside of your realm. We may also be able to get your supplies for this endeavor donated. It would also get your artistic talents displayed in the area and it would be a way in which you could give back to your own community. I would really like to here from you about this venture. I will be contacting Mack and Dar MOnday April 21 at the village so if you drop by to speak with them about this they will know what you are talking about. If you would like to contact me directly my home # is 804 778-7279. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org Cant wait to hear you thoughts on this ventrue. In great anticipation, Melanie Scruton
What a great photo of You,(and the side porch).
More Blogs,you bring the world to life.Later...
Last week PBS finished airing the final show of the New Orleans house project. It was like coming home. Congratulations! Your house and the Tucson, AZ house project a decade ago, I feel, have been the two best TOH projects in the show's history! Beautiful! Happiness, health, peace and long life in your glorious home!
I was just thinking about you this morning and what a pleasure it was to see you and be around you this past Jazz Fest. Your work is evolving so beautifully and it's such a blessing to the world that you choose to reflect your amazing spirit in a visual way. And now I find your blog and get to share your verbal blessings as well. Give thanks! Keep doin' whatcha do honey!
Your house turned out really nice. We are coming back to New Orleans in July for the second time since the storm, it would be a nice treat if I could surprise my wife with a visit to your "new" home. Wishing you the best!
Your new home is lovely, I saw the first show but I missed the in betweens and the final stage. Do you have a virtual tour posted? Congratulations, ATL, www.realestatesalesandservice.net
I saw the final TOH episode on TV 8/31\08. What a beautiful job-like some thing out of "House Beautiful" But at the same time,here comes Gustav!
Oh Man!!!I know every viewer will br praying for you. God Bless!
I have been concerned, too. Are you ok after Gustav?
This was my Grandmother's home before she passes away. She would have been so happy to see someone love and care for her home as much as she did. We have many happy memories there running around the yard, playing in the shed, and smelling Grandma Munn's sweet roses. Thank you for saving this wonderful home.Cheryl Munn Farhat
Hope your door gets her make-over! You should keep on posting blogs here! I think your posts will be much fun and entertaining to read like this one!
Your house really look great! Thanks to those brilliant young minds! Found this site that may help you add a fountain to your place: http://www.garden-fountains.com Hope it will help a lot.