Joy, art, and music are three seemingly simple words, but words that really strike home for Jonathan Liss. Liss is a member of the Krewe of Fesshead, a local krewe that celebrates Professor Longhair and is known for the "Golden Head of Professor Longhair." He is also one of the key members of JAM, which is an organization that aims to spread Joy, Art, and Music ("JAM") throughout New Orleans.
Liss has been instrumental in creating the eponymous JAMNOLA, a pop-up exhibit that offers a family-friendly, touch-free experience that will bring joy to visitors through various forms and mediums. This experiential museum has a number of rooms, ranging from the flamboyant Feather Forest to the raucous Bling Bayou, with each room boasting characteristics all its own.
The project is the result of a long thought process that followed a light-bulb moment for Liss, after he heard about other such experiential joy-based art exhibits, which inspired him to create JAMNOLA . These were art exhibits that were meant to be photographed and taken home, via the internet or photo, in a way that is very modern and accessible.
The Feather Forest is a room in the exhibit that will be sure to bring smiles to the kids' faces, as they experience a wealth of colors and textures—without touching them—that celebrate the art of costuming. Then there's the luscious color palette of the spirit trees, which pop and catch the eye in ways that all but guarantee a like on your Instagram feed. And, above all, they are bound to spread happiness.
This museum is thanks to the work of, in total, 18 artists and
two legendary musical curators. It was also made possible by JAMNOLA's creative partners Where Y'Art, whose founders Cat Todd and Collin Ferguson oversaw artist direction for the project and were essential partners throughout the entire process.
JAMNOLA will raise money for three charities, including Feed the Second Line NOLA, the NOCCA Institute, and the Trombone Shorty Foundation. It has a total of 12 rooms, four of which are decorated with custom wallpaper by Flavor Paper, encompassing a grand 5,500 square feet of space.
JAMNOLA opens in July, and visits will be spaced out into six-person private tours—with each ticket issued designated to a specific time slot—and are a totally touchless experience.
The adventure will be launching soon, for local families as well as visitors to the New Orleans area.