The idea to mount a large-scale international art biennial in New Orleans came to Dan Cameron, an internationally-recognized contemporary art curator, during his first post-Katrina visit to New Orleans. An annual visitor to Jazz Fest and acknowledged “Nolaphile”, in early-2006 Cameron was invited to New Orleans by friends in the art community to attend a public meeting about the role of art and artists in the rebuilding of the city. As a veteran curator of international biennials in Taipei and Istanbul, Cameron had witnessed first-hand the social and financial benefits that biennial exhibitions yield for their host cities, and was keenly aware of the fact that the U.S. does not have an international contemporary art biennial on the scale of major cities in Europe, Asia, and South America. Given the potential benefits and opportunities, Cameron decided that post-Katrina New Orleans was an ideal time and place to launch such a venture and in 2007, with seed money from the philanthropist Toby Devan Lewis, Prospect New Orleans was born.
In the tradition of the great international exhibitions, Prospect New Orleans invites leading contemporary artists from around the globe to exhibit at venues that include major cultural institutions, as well as non-arts venues, and public spaces. In addition to its impact on cultural tourism and the fact that people travel to and spend money in New Orleans to see Prospect, its larger impact has been the way that artists have embraced the social mission of the biennial, and created projects that resonate deeply with the City’s unique history, culture, people, and institutions, making a lasting impression on audiences both local and throughout the world. At the heart of Prospect is the connection that it enables between “high art” and the larger cultural landscape of the city, with its rich and diverse vernacular traditions of music, Mardi Gras Indians, second line parades, and other popular cultural forms. Prospect introduces audiences to the richness of New Orleans culture as seen through the eyes of artists.Source: www.prospectneworleans.org