LPO_FEB12

To activate newly renovated and rebuilt community spaces in three different neighborhoods spread across New Orleans, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) will deliver music experiences to communities of people at Edward Hynes Charter School (Lakeview), L. B. Landry High School (Algiers), and Mahalia Jackson Early Education and Family Learning Center (Central City). Community leaders from each location will choose artistic opportunities that will best engage the members of each distinct community. Because music is an integral part of culture and community in New Orleans, regularly scheduled music programs funded by ArtPlace, including full Orchestra concerts, ensemble performances, and music workshops that engage various community partners will enable these sites to become vibrant centers of community life where people and community partners can come together to partake in cultural activities and community building.

Rebecca Brown is an Elementary School Music Teacher at Edward Hynes Charter School, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and reopened in January 2012, in an entirely new facility in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans. The LPO joined in the community celebration for Hynes’s opening reception and ribbon cutting ceremony with a string ensemble offering performances in the library. The LPO has also been coordinating with Ms. Brown making plans for in-school and community building activities including a full Orchestra concert developed for Lakeview community members this spring. When interviewed about her experience with the LPO, Ms. Brown had the following to say:

ARTPLACE: As you reflect on your work to date, what unexpected challenges have you encountered?

BROWN: After significant flooding in Hurricane Katrina, Edward Hynes Charter School was forced to leave its original Lakeview neighborhood campus. Six years later, we returned to a beautiful new school at our old address. While we have been thrilled with our new building, we did not move in until January of 2012. It was exciting and motivating but also challenging to plan and envision major musical events without having seen the brand new performance spaces in the new school building.

ARTPLACE: Have you had any happy surprises in your work to date?

BROWN: Yes, I have been delighted by the response from our Hynes community regarding our LPO event. Everyone, from our pre-kindergarten students to our business manager has expressed excitement over the concert. Our PTO has offered set-up assistance, and non-music teachers have asked for assistance in planning lessons about the orchestra visit. Everyone wants to be part of this event.

LPO: Are there things you’ve learned in your work that others in the creative placemaking field can learn from?

BROWN: I would definitely suggest informing everyone in your community about your project. You never know who might want to help. In addition, tap every resource you have in order to promote your project. I am using our school’s website, newsletter, and Facebook page, as well as flyers to promote our LPO community projects. I also hope to get it in our local newspaper.

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