On Thursday, August 29, some of New Orleans’ most acclaimed artists will join forces to explore the watery, mysterious boundary between music and the visual arts. This one-night-only concert event, “The Art of Music,” will feature performances by the Faubourg Quartet, presenting works by Wynton Marsalis, Philip Glass, Debussy, and Tania Leon. A highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of a new arrangement of a spiritual that the late New Orleans visual artist John Scott loved. The arrangement is composed by Ellis Marsalis for cello and piano, and will perform it himself with cellist Jee Yeoun Ko at Thursday night’s event.
The late New Orleans artist, John T. Scott
That exceptional roster of musical performers will be joined by visual artists Ron Bechet, Ayo Scott, andMichel Varisco. Their work is intended to reflect the many ways that the visual and the aural interact. Each will work in different mediums; Bechet has created fabric to costume dancers, who will perform to the live music, while Scott has recorded the steps involved in his own painting process to be played back to live accompaniment. Varisco’s stunning video about the ebb and flow of water will also be accompanied by the Faubourg Quartet. Finally, a special video dedicated to John Scott, Ayo Scott’s father, will screen.
The late John T. Scott grew up in New Orleans and attended Xavier University. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Michigan State University, then returned to Xavier to teach. He subsequently received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Michigan State University and a Doctor of Humanities from Tulane University. In 1992, he was awarded the exclusive MacArthur Grant (also known as the “Genius Grant”) from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Scott is perhaps best known for creating large woodcut prints and for his African-Caribbean-New Orleans-inspired kinetic sculptures, as well as his collaborations with John O’Neal and his pioneering Civil Rights performing arts organizations, the Free Southern Theatre Institute and Junebug Productions. In 2005, he was the subject of a major retrospective exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art entitled Circle Dance: The Art of John T. Scott. Scott was also commissioned to create several pieces that are placed throughout the City of New Orleans. These public works include Spirit Gates at the DeSaix Boulevard traffic circle (at St. Bernard and Gentilly Boulevards) and River Spirit at Woldenberg Park. Scott had been quoted as saying that he tried to capture the musicality of New Orleans in the colors and rhythms of his sculptures.
One of John Scott’s famous city sculptures on the bank of the Mississippi River, “Ocean Song.”
Scott’s son, Ayo, also a well-known local artist and graphic design company proprietor, carries on his father’s legacy of traversing the sonic with the visual as a popular live painter at many of the city’s liveliest concerts. New Orleans patriarchs of their respective mediums, Ellis Marsalis and Ron Bechet rarely need introduction. All of Thursday’s participating artists are either alumni of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) school and/or have served as teachers or artist mentors, making for a very intimate setting.
“The Art Of Music” takes place in NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall on Thursday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students and seniors) and can be purchased in advance online atNOCCAInstitute.com or by calling 504-940-2900.