While it has become one of the city’s most unique arts experiences, the Avant Garden arts market traces its origins back to one man’s need for more space.
“It got started as a very, very small stoop sale just on our porch on a Saturday,” said event creator Erik Kiesewetter. “It was really nice outside, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff I need to get rid of. Then I brought in other friends of mine who were artists to come and participate and just hang out and drink beer and play records.”
Gradually, the event grew into a bi-annual showcase that Kiesewetter called “a response to the usual arts markets” by individually inviting vendors that represent emerging talent in the city, “enriching our cultural economy as a whole.”
The Winter Avant Garden coming up on Saturday (The Joan Mitchell Center, 2275 Bayou Road, 11 a.m.-6-p.m.) will feature more than 60 artists and vendors ranging from painters and jewelry makers to fashion designers, print makers and cocktail mixologists.
The female collective of print makers known as The Community Print Shop will have some exciting work, Kiesewetter said, as will fashion designer Ryn Wilson. “She does kind of like a dark, new age kind of fashion thing,” said Kiesewetter of her work.
“The Department of Change always brings something really nice,” Kieswetter added. “They kind of curate men’s wear, kind of classic Southern, proper men’s wear. They always have something really nice and fitted.”
Little House of Broel, a gay arts making collective, will have a lot of prints, fashion and old vintage clothing, “kind of like high sense of style and I think that’ll be really exciting,” said Kiesewetter. “I don’t think they’ve ever presented anything together before.”
Painter Jeff Pastorek will have new work on display, and Bunny Matthews will be selling collectible prints.
The evening doesn’t end with Avant Garden, however. From 7 to 9 p.m., 10 presenters, including writer Cameron Shaw, medical anthropologist Nick Shapiro and urban planner Alan Williams, will show 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds as part of the sixth New Orleans PechaKucha Night.
According to Sergio Padilla of PechaKucha New Orleans, the unique presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in their gallery, lounge, bar, club, creative kitchen SuperDeluxe in February 2003. The movement has since grown such that there are currently more than 450 PechaKucha Nights worldwide.
Organizers describe PechaKucha Night as “a conversation starter, an informal night for folks to come together, share and draw inspiration. And just as crucially, it’s a brilliant night out with music, spirits, visual treats, and a chance to connect with ideas and creatives in our disparate community.”
Journalist and filmmaker Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.