Nick Cave, Soundsuits, 2011. Installation view at the Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University. // © 2011 Michael Smith. Courtesy of Prospect.2 New Orleans
In 2008, to spur both cultural tourism and the revitalization of a vibrant artist community, Prospect New Orleans biennial art exhibit opened in New Orleans. The citywide event featured 81 artists in 24 venues and generated more than $23 million.
The recession created a road bump for the new cultural project, and a smaller Prospect.1.5 was instituted in late 2010, focusing more on artists in New Orleans and the Gulf South.
But the train is back on track. Prospect.2 New Orleans opened in late October, featuring 28 artists from nine countries, including the United States. In fact, because organizers wanted to address the local arena of a resurrecting city, one-third of the artists hail from New Orleans.
“I looked for artists who were responsive and responsible in regards to New Orleans,” said Dan Cameron, Prospect New Orleans curator and founder. “We wanted artists who attract a national and international audience, but also have meaning to the people of New Orleans. We wanted to reinforce the idea that this is a biennial event for the city of New Orleans.”
In addition to the local artists, one third hail from the U.S. and the remaining artists come from abroad, explained Cameron.
The biennial consists of numerous pieces of art at several venues throughout New Orleans and the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, La. Some of the venues in New Orleans include the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans African American Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
“It’s pretty much all the art venues in New Orleans,” said Cameron.
In addition, dozens of satellite exhibitions exist throughout New Orleans.
Tickets to Prospect.2, offered at $10 for a day pass and $20 for a week’s pass, include admission to all of the event’s venues so visitors may view not only the biennial artwork but the venue’s offerings as well. Cameron recommends the week pass since it’s impossible to see all participating artwork in one day. A season pass costs $30 and allows ticket holders admission through the end of the biennial, which is Jan. 29.
Tickets may be purchased online at or at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Museum of Art and at the Prospect.2 Visitors Center.
Docent tours may be arranged at individual venues or a collection of venues, Cameron said. Group travel and tours are offered through Turon Travel, which is donating booking fees to the nonprofit Prospect.2.
In addition to exhibiting world-class art, this citywide collaboration helps promote local artists, Cameron said. On the opening weekend of Prospect.2, art collectors from around the country visited the city and bought local art, he said.
“We’re a little bit of an economic stimulus package,” said Cameron.