September 5 – October 11, 2008
Curated by Aubrey Edwards

Preview Fundraiser: Thursday, September 4, 7-10pm

Public Reception: Friday, September 5, 7-9pm

Civilian Art Projects is pleased to announce the exhibition, Way Down in New Orleans, from September 5 – October 11, 2008. Opening on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Way Down in New Orleans unites an array of New Orleans-based artists with artists nationwide; both groups affected and shaped by the storm, and its aftermath. The exhibition is curated by New York based artist and curator Aubrey Edwards. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, September 5, 2007, from 7 –9 pm.

Artists & Collaboratives include:

Marc Bianchi
Brice Bischoff
Jacob Borndal
Kyle Bravo & Jenny Leblanc
Lauren Castle
Chin Music Press
Lisa Choinacky
Mike Combs
Beth Dary
Dirty Coast
Aubrey Edwards
Courtney Egan
Skylar Fein*
Abby Gitlitz
Kevin Golden
David Grant
Jenny Hart
Brad Jensen
Kid Camera Project
Miranda Lake*
Kristin Littwin
Leo McGovern & Jason Reeves
Neighborhood Story Project
New Orleans Craft Mafia
Royce Osborn
Marlowe Parker
JR Portman
Matthew Bonifacio Rodriguez
Megan Roniger
Beth Schindler & Summer Bethea
Dread Scott
Tabitha Soren
Elizabeth Underwood
David Wingo
JT Yost

* Courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Taking place on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina as New Orleans poises to host Prospect.One, the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States, Civilian is honored to present just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, Way Down in New Orleans, an exhibition of over 30 artists, presses, zines, and collaboratives inspired by or working in New Orleans.

Curator Aubrey Edwards, an artist and itinerant New Orleanian, selected works in all media to address the tragedy of Katrina while exemplifying the explosive rebirth of culture shaping the city today. According to Edwards, “the common thread is celebrating the city while paying tribute to the pain it saw. The artists chosen are peppered throughout the country, the bulk are presently residing in the city and did reside in the city in August of 2005…I selected pieces that show how the artist and artist's work was affected by or addressed the storm, the aftermath, or the rebirth of the city. These pieces work almost as a timeline to embody the present-day history of this city since Katrina hit.”

Today, a frequent comment about the New Orlean’s art scene is that there is an energy, something powerful bubbling to the surface post-Katrina. Edwards refers to it as a common language among artists. “The energy in the city is vibrant and exhilarating,” she continues, “every artist working in New Orleans feels as if they are truly apart of this community that is rising from the city; a new community that is supporting its members and their arts, a new community that is bonded through the shared experience of having and continuing to survive. Local, artist-run galleries are springing up in lower-income neighborhoods where there was no ‘art scene’ before the storm....After the storm, guards were let down between the various artists and their respective cliques, they had to be let down, it was a matter of emotional and physical survival.”

Edwards stresses that the city is better but it is not “fixed.” There is still much work that needs to be done. She hopes that visitors to the exhibition will take time to understand efforts that are happening in New Orleans including what an individual can do to help Gulf Coast recovery. Artists as well as the majority of residents lost nearly everything in the storm. They are still rebuilding.

Bio for Aubrey Edwards:

Aubrey Edwards is a Brooklyn-based arts educator, videographer, and freelance photographer who began her career as a commercial rock and roll/portrait photographer while living in Austin, Texas and Wellington, New Zealand. Her client list includes the likes of Comedy Central, Fender Guitars, XXL, Spin, Volcom, Texas Refugee Services and FilmAidInternational. Aubrey has been working intimately in New Orleans since the storm: teaching with the New Orleans Kid Camera Project, guest lecturing at University of New Orleans, shooting program sites for Catholic Charities, and providing free portraits to New Orleans rebuilders, community organizers and families. Through her years working within the population of the Southern city, she has developed amazing relationships with 9th Ward Mardi Gras Indians, Old Arabi elderly, Treme school teachers and young Uptown artists— all of whom fueled her mission to bring the slow and saddening state of the recovery process to larger attention. She has exhibited her work nationwide, and is presently working on a children's book therapeutically addressing little one's post-disaster stress, as well as a series of Roxy Music album cover renditions. She dedicates this show to the children who bore the weight storm, the tenacity of the Cajun spirit, and to her brother-in-law Chris Roberts who loved his city, and whose murder in post-Katrina New Orleans still goes unsolved.

About Civilian Art Projects:

Founded in 2006, Civilian Art Projects is an arts organization committed to strengthening community and culture through the voice and vision of the artist. The gallery is located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, DC near many major museums, galleries, and national treasures. Civilian has a three-fold program: 1) representing a core group of emerging contemporary artists; 2) operating a store of artist made works; and 3) partnering with curators, NGOs, and other experts on exhibitions addressing compelling social themes and pressing issues.

This exhibition marks the launch of Civilian’s new non-profit partnership initiative “Art4Rights” that will serve as a gateway to exploring crucial issues and stimulating change. Uniting unlikely allies through the power of contemporary art, the initiative will work to increase understanding and advocacy for human rights and social justice issues. Civilian seeks to bridge a gap by becoming a forum and resource for a new type of community that approaches global challenges in creative and inspired ways.

For Way Down in New Orleans Civilian gratefully partners with D.C. Arts Center (DCAC) as the fiscal sponsor of the exhibition. DCAC is a twenty-year old non-profit supporting emerging artists.

Civilian will host a preview fundraiser (click for details) for Way Down in New Orleans with partial proceeds going to The New Orleans Kid Camera Project, an organization created to address the psychological and emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans. The fundraiser will be held one day prior to the public opening of the exhibition, Thursday, September 4, 2008, featuring New Orleans inspired food, drinks and music. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door. This donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please make checks payable to D.C. Arts Center.

Exhibition Hours:

Wed-Saturday 12-6pm and by appointment – note new expanded hours!

Artist bios and selected JPEGs are available upon request. If you would like to get involved with this project, please contact Civilian.

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September 5 - October 11, 2008

Showing just days after the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Way Down in New Orleans unites an array of New Orleans-based artists with other artists nationwide, including:

Marc Bianchi, Brice Bischoff, Jacob Borndal, Kyle Bravo & Jenny Leblanc, Lauren Castle, Chin Music Press, Lisa Choinacky, Mike Combs, Constance, Beth Dary, Dirty Coast, Aubrey Edwards, Courtney Egan, Skylar Fein, Abby Gitlitz, Kevin Golden, David Grant, Jenny Hart, Brad Jensen, Kid Camera Project, Miranda Lake, Kristin Littwin, Leo McGovern & Jason Reeves, Neighborhood Story Project, New Orleans Craft Mafia, Royce Osborn, Marlowe Parker, JR Portman, Matthew Bonifacio Rodriguez, Megan Roniger, Beth Schindler & Summer Bethea, Dread Scott, Tabitha Soren, Elizabeth Underwood, David Wingo and JT Yost.