The galleries of New Orleans bring vibrancy to the city. Whether tucked away on Magazine Street, in the French Quarter, or in the Arts District, the variety of styles and media connect viewers to regional and international works. If you're unsure of where to start exploring, the six galleries below leave visitors captivated.
1. Terrance Osborne Gallery
Terrance Osborne's work speaks to the brightest parts of the city. As a New Orleans native, Osborne paints works that depict NOLA trademarks: Creole cottages, jazz instruments, and streetcars. But it is the warmth behind the palette that conveys his electrifying emotions. "I try to capture the culture that underlines the city," says Osborne. "When you look at my work, it's almost like I am a producer of the culture, rather than an artist who mimics the culture."
The gallery itself creates a bodily experience that stimulates all five senses: The air smells of lavender, Rebirth Brass Band plays in the background, a thick rug sits on the floor, and candy bowls are readily available to complement the art. The innate joy is contagious and a critical part of visitors' experiences. 3029 Magazine St., (504) 232-7530, terranceosborne.com
2. Ashley Longshore Studio Gallery
Walking into Longshore's gallery can make any adult feel like a kid in a candy store. The sizeable paintings and sculptures coated in glitter will make you feel small by comparison.
Most of the hanging artwork portrays sassy phrases, such as, "Feminism is a Real Panty Dropper." Often, the words are painted across faces of politicians or celebrities, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Barack Obama. Even when Longshore is not physically present, her poignant personality is always evident.
Before leaving the gallery, make sure to peek into the back room, where artists finalize Longshore's paintings. The walls stacked from floor to ceiling with glitter and jewels—instruments to make the pieces even more radiant—are as breathtaking as the finished artwork itself.4537 Magazine St., (504) 333-6951, ashleylongshore.com
3. Stella Jones Gallery
Nearly 25 years old, the Stella Jones Gallery has always been devoted to showing and celebrating black artists. Although the gallery displays work from all over the country, Stella Jones has curated a space that puts the Southern context at the forefront of her audience's mind. Recently, the gallery has shifted to exhibit works by local and contemporary artists.
Patrick Waldemar will be opening a show, Courtyards of New Orleans, in August. Although the exhibition was made last year, Waldemar has adjusted the show in order to address the current political climate. According to Stella Jones, Waldemar is now exploring the idea of "an untold and painful story behind the most beautiful facades." 201 St. Charles Ave. #132, (504) 568-9050, stellajonesgallery.com
4. George Rodrigue Gallery
Nestled in the French Quarter sits one of the most famous New Orleans galleries. When walking in, you will immediately notice dogs of various shapes, sizes, and colors. Rodrigue, born in Louisiana, is best known for his Blue Dog series. Despite his death in 2013, the gallery continues to show his most popular paintings, including his works depicting the Louisiana landscape and Cajun culture. The George Rodrigue gallery rotates his collection of paintings year-round so that there is always new artwork to view. 730 Royal St., (504) 581-4244, georgerodrigue.com
5. Caliche and Pao Gallery
Nearby, Caliche and Pao's gallery bleeds color from the artwork that they have been co-painting for over 20 years. Pao, initially from Uruguay, explains that their paintings mimic the way that the couple sees their surroundings. "We see the city with bright colors," he says. "When you see our canvases, you feel happy."
The Caliche and Pao Gallery displays work from all over the world, but the majority of the paintings are their own. Both artists work together to make each piece; the combination of their techniques makes their work unique and powerful.
Aside from the bright colors, Caliche and Pao use the texture of their materials to create depth within their work. The thick and heavy application of paint on canvas makes the viewer feel grounded and peaceful. 312 Royal St., (504) 588-2846, calicheandpao.com
6. Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
Located in the center of the Arts District, the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery focuses primarily on international art. Matthew Showman, partner and director of the gallery, specified that the artists featured there stray from the norm: "We are interested in sharing artists that are a little off-trend or a little ahead of trend," he says.
In September, the annual show "No Dead Artist" will open. After 24 years, this exhibition is older than the gallery itself. "[The show] is always diverse because it's an international call for artists, where there is no theme," says Showman. The winner will be awarded his or her own solo exhibition at the gallery the following year.
Like other galleries on Julia Street, the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery will be unable to participate in White Linen Night this year. However, the nearby galleries are planning for a daytime event: White Linen Light. Showman invites visitors to stop by, with a white mask, to view the art safely. Plans for the modified event are not yet finalized, but the Arts District website will post information once logistics are clear. 400A Julia St., (504) 522-5471, jonathanferraragallery.com