UNFRAMED- Presented by the Helis Foundation

Large-scale mural project to transform Downtown New Orleans

First Unveiling: September 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LA –  Arts Council New Orleans announces Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation, downtown New Orleans’ first multi-mural exhibition of large-scale artwork by local and international artists. With a focus on the epicenter of the Arts District’s museums and galleries, the initiative will commission a series of large-scale public murals, enhancing New Orleans reputation as a leading city for contemporary art.

“The Helis Foundation is committed to providing access to world-class art to all New Orleanians and visitors,” said David Kerstein, President of The Helis Foundation. “Partnering with Arts Council New Orleans, we are able to bring innovative artwork from our own city and around the world directly to the streets of New Orleans.”

The first round of commissions to be awarded will result in an inaugural exhibition of five large-scale murals to be unveiled in Spring 2019. Opportunities are still available for property owners in the Arts District to partner with organizers to be considered for a mural.

Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation launches with a “Call for Artist Qualifications” on Saturday, August 4th, in coordination with the annual Whitney Hancock White Linen Night.  Arts Council New Orleans will have an interactive mural on the 600 block of Julia Street during the festivities, inviting locals to contribute to a work of art and learn more about the project.

Muralist selections will be made by the Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation selection committee comprised of:

-Andrea Andersson, The Helis Foundation Chief Curator of Visual Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center
-Brandan Odums, Artist and Curator of Studio BE
-Chris Alfieri, Esq., Arts District New Orleans Resident and -President & Board Chair, Prospect New Orleans
-Danielle Del Sol, Executive Director, Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans
-Leslie-Claire Spillman, Director and Curator at Soren Christensen Gallery and Board Member of Arts District New Orleans
-William Andrews, Director of The Ogden Museum of Southern Art

Of the initial mural commissions, two will be dedicated to local artists through an open call for artists. The selection committee will also nominate international artists to complete two additional murals. The final mural will result from a community-created effort led by Brandan Odums in partnership with Young Artists Movement. The murals will be strategically situated within a walkable cluster to reinforce Arts District New Orleans as an emerging contemporary art hub while driving traffic to the businesses and venues within the district and enlivening the streetscape.

“Vibrant and engaging murals have the power to transform communities. They transform bland facades into signature contemporary works that enhance urban landscapes, establishing a unique identity for the area,” Arts Council New Orleans Executive Director Heidi Schmalbach said. “We are proud to partner with The Helis Foundation to reflect the artistic energy happening inside the museums and galleries on walls within the Arts District for the public to enjoy.”

Unframed Call for Artists can be found on ArtsNewOrleans.org beginning on Saturday, August 4th. Artists are not required to have past mural experience to apply. The application deadline is September 2nd. During the month of August, Arts Council New Orleans will host two public workshops for interested artists. Following review by the Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation Selection Committee, the next round of artist applications will be invited to submit a final mural design for committee review. Finalists will be announced on site at LUNA Fête, the Arts Council’s annual festival of light, art, and technology on December 6th in Lafayette Square.

Unframed Call for Walls Business and property owners who have a wall within the boundaries of Loyola Avenue, Poydras Street, Calliope Street and Tchoupitoulas Street, and would like to be considered as a site for a future Unframed mural can apply here: LINK TBD

As New Orleans largest signature mural collection, Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation will generate economic benefit for artists, stimulate pedestrian traffic in the area, and reinforce New Orleans’ position as a national and international destination for contemporary art.


The Helis Foundation (thehelisfoundation.org) is a Louisiana private foundation, established and funded by the William Helis Family with a mission of advancing access to the arts and continuing a family legacy of philanthropic support to the New Orleans community.

The Helis Foundation makes grants to sustain operations, to provide free admission to, and to acquire significant art works on behalf of major institutions within the Metropolitan New Orleans area. The Art Funds also underwrite major initiatives and special projects, such as Prospect.3’s Basquiat and the Bayou presented by The Helis Foundation, the ongoing Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition presented by The Helis Foundation, the installation of Lynda Benglis’ The Wave of the World in City Park, The Helis Foundation Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden, Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection presented by The Helis Foundation organized by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art, and most recently, The Historic New Orleans Collection’s Tricentennial Exhibition, Art of the City: Post Modern to Post Katrina.

Arts Council New Orleans (artsneworleans.org)  Unframed builds upon the Arts Council’s past history in mural curation and established partnership with public and private entities. Notably, the Arts Council coordinated the creation of 10 murals across the Fat City Neighborhood and is currently organizing murals for the One Time in New Orleans Campaign in partnership with the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. The Arts Council’s mission is to demonstrate how art transforms communities.

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