Voices Of The Arts: Brooke Anderson Of Prospect New Orleans

Oct 14, 2013

Voices of the Arts, a series presented by NolaVie and WWNO — New Orleans Public Radio, explores the thoughts and visions of eight new arts leaders in New Orleans.

Through conversations we try to understand how they will engage with the arts and the artists in this already vibrant cultural community; how they view us; what their goals are for their organizations; and what big plans are on their horizons.

Today meet Brooke Anderson, the Executive Director of Prospect New Orleans, now planning its third city-spanning exhibition October 25, 2014 to January 25, 2015. Formerly the Deputy Director of Curatorial Planning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooke will work alongside Prospect 3 Artistic Director Franklin Sirmans, Chief Curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA. Prior to her tenure at LACMA, Brooke was a contemporary art curator at New York’s American Folk Art Museum and a guest curator at Madrid’s Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. She has lived in many cities around the country and currently resides in New York City, commuting to New Orleans frequently.

On New Orleans cultural life: I would say New Orleans is exciting for its history and for its tomorrow. I have been invigorated by my colleagues and peers in the cultural sector here. I am encouraged and excited about the artists who are based in New Orleans and the benefactor community that is wanting this to succeed. They want to see it flourish; they want to see an International Biennial — one does not exist in the United States after all — an International Biennial happen here that has comments to make about contemporary art, but also comments about our contemporary times. There is this wonderful ecology in this city of support and drive. Every meeting I go into it seems the same questions keep coming up: who do we want to become; what do we want to be; how do we imagine getting there? This level of ambition to contribute to the future seems to be evident in most of my meetings with my art colleagues.

On goals for Prospect 3: It will be intellectual. It will be emotional. At moments it’s going to be transformational. Some of the opportunities might build jobs as an art project; some of the opportunities might bring technology and interconnectivity in ways that currently do not exist; some of the projects might startle with graffiti in unexpected places. So there will be about Prospect 3 a connection to all the things that matter in our lives.

On how to handle the financial challenges: Part of the idea of Prospect New Orleans is that fund raising would happen not only in New Orleans but beyond the boundaries of New Orleans; beyond the boundaries of Louisiana. It is proving to work well. The budget for Prospect 2 is about $2.5 million. We are in the midst of fund raising and we are more than a third of the way there, which is pretty much on target. I have complete faith in the Board and the staff that we will get there.

On big plans for the future: Prospect 3 will involve 15 to 20 venues indoor and outdoor, conventional and esoteric that really will take us through the whole swath of the Crescent City and explore the many neighborhoods. We’re doing something a little different for a contemporary art project in that some of the artists date back to the 1800s. I hope that whets your appetite. And yet, some of the artists are as young as my nieces and nephews and coming fresh out of graduate school.