Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo

JAMNOLA is a Colorful Oasis

11:57 July 29, 2020
By: Emily Hingle

JAMNOLA is the thing that New Orleans needs right now. The walk-through, multi-room art installation in the Bywater is a welcome respite from the increasingly painful virus restrictions. Happy memories of Mardi Gras, dinners with friends, and fun-filled festivals will flow through you as you journey throughout JAMNOLA.

The founders of JAMNOLA Jonny Liss and Chad Smith were already creating this winding art space before the world was ravaged by COVID19. Jonny said about his creation, "I have always had a passion for happiness and well-being. I wanted to create something joyous and pursue it as a full-time career. Since I first visited New Orleans nearly 20 years ago, I knew this place was special. We wanted to create a love letter to New Orleans--and celebrate the joy, art, and music that radiates from its people. All of the ideas came together when we started collaborating with Collin and Cat from Where Y'Art who were our creative directors.

We chose New Orleans as the home for the project because we felt people can find joy in New Orleans everywhere - from stumbling upon a second line parade and celebration of life to costuming whenever possible to enjoying incredible food in one of the world's premier culinary destinations."

The pair had originally planned to open during French Quarter Festival which was supposed to happen in mid-April. They refused to let this strange new world shut them down entirely, but they did have to delay their opening and retool some aspects of the exhibits. Jonny continued, "We took time over the summer to reimagine our interactive exhibits and rooms to ensure everything was safe and adhered to health protocols. We are ready to open and feel like now more than ever, people need joy in their lives." Only six people will be allowed to go through the exhibit at a time. All visitors must wear a mask at all times, and hand sanitizer is readily available at different locations throughout the exhibit. You must pre-register for a time to go through JAMNOLA.

In addition to lots of picture-perfect scenery and opportunities to take photos with props, you can scan a code on your phone at each exhibit to get interactive materials sent to your email. "There's nothing in the city--or region for that matter--like JAMNOLA. Each room shares history and insight into New Orleans culture. By incorporating new technologies into the interactive exhibit, visitors will leave with their own webpage of photos and videos from their tour—a digital keepsake - and a guide to go out and experience these cultural gems firsthand. JAMNOLA features 12 exhibits celebrating the iconic art, music, food and theatrics of New Orleans through the eyes of 20+ local artists and collaborators." JAMNOLA has a permanent home, but the exhibits will be changed out regularly so that there's always something new to see.

Jonny ended his interview saying that New Orleanians, native and transplanted, can all find something that they appreciate. He said, "I think New Orleanians will appreciate the authenticity and focus on culture from our NOLA artists. Especially our investment in the cultural community. I think tourists will leave with a great snapshot of what New Orleans has to offer and will be excited and inspired to get out and see and do the real thing in the community."

JAMNOLA: 2832 Royal St., JamNola.com

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