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New Orleans embraces the pop up

Pop up has become a popular term in the cultural vernacular. Though sometimes pop up galleries and exhibitions are the result of planned events with at least semi-permanent homes, the term pop-up implies an event or often an art exhibition that “pops up” for a short period of time. Because they interrupt potential onlookers interactions with a particular place by changing the cultural landscape for a limited-time, they encourage more active engagement with one’s surroundings.

Charles Trapolin’s “Hang” from his Preludes exhibition. Photo courtesy UPtown Pop UP Art Gallery.

New Orleans is no stranger to the pop up. Pop ups in the city include Art Below’s Pop Up New Orleans as well as Nola Vie’s own PopUp Art Show  and Pop-Up art event and dance party .

The UPtown Pop UP Art Gallery in the East Carrolton neighborhood provides a new twist on the pop up. Because it has a “permanent” location, it seems to defy the very nature of a pop up. But upon interviewing gallery owners Patty Latter Barnett and Ro Mayer, the Uptown Pop UP Gallery remains true to its namesake.

Latter Barnett and Mayer opened the gallery in August 2011 in the Prague Mansion building at 7835 Maple Street. The building was then for sale by Latter and Blum Realtors, who wanted the building staged. Rather than present a conventional commercial staging, Latter Barnett and Mayer decided to fulfill their creative desires and “pop” an art gallery into the vacant space. They created the space on a shoestring budget and brought artists on board.

From reproductions of sculptures by Dr. Arthur J. (Arty) Silverman, the unique drawings of Carol Pulitzer, to the rubar, wood, and paper sculturpes by Charles H. Trapolin, who creates his sculptures by first burning paper then creating sculpture from it, the gallery features a host of New Orleans-based artists.

Kenneth A. McAshan, "Red Yellow #5," photo courtesy UPtown Pop UP Art Gallery.

Kenneth A. McAshan, “Red Yellow #5,” photo courtesy UPtown Pop UP Art Gallery.

The gallery will open an exhibition of newly-completed paintings by Kenneth A. McAshan on April 14. This unfortunately will be the gallery’s last exhibition in its current location. As the building has sold, the new owners will move in, leaving Latter Barnett and Mayer to find a new location — hopefully closer to the New Orleans Arts District — in which to “pop up.” For more information on the Uptown Pop Up Art Gallery contact Latter Barnett at or Mayer at


Brianna Smyk has an M.A. in Art History. She lives and works in New Orleans and writes about arts and culture for NolaVie. Read more of Brianna’s articles at


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