NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC) is pleased to welcome back audiences with the announcement of its Summer / Fall 2021 multidisciplinary arts season, featuring in-person performances, exhibitions, artist residencies, and online programming.

Anchored by Inter[SECTOR], the CAC’s multi-year, multidisciplinary program that explores issues of incarceration, health, and the environment, several exhibitions and performances will foster cross-sector collaborations that place art and social issues into context. By building coalitions between artists, civic leaders, and impacted communities, the CAC seeks to foster awareness, empathy, and greater civic dialogue through contemporary art.

The CAC’s season and Inter[SECTOR] programming opens with its annual Open Call exhibition for Gulf South artists entitled “Behind Every Beautiful Thing: Encountering Bodies, Wrestling the Human Condition”, featuring multimedia works by artists from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas. The exhibition offers a deeply personal portrayal of artists’ experiences with health and illness, and the reverberating impact on the life, body, and psyche of the individual and their community.

“Behind Every Beautiful Thing: Encountering Bodies, Wrestling the Human Condition” has been curated by Dr. David W. Robinson-Morris Ph. D, Founder and Chief Reimaginelutionary at The REImaginelution, LLC, a strategic consulting firm working at the intersections of imagination, policy, practice, and prophetic hope to radically reimagine diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) toward racial justice and systemic transformation. Most recently, he served as the Regional Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Ochsner Health System for the Bayou Region of Louisiana. David is also the Founding Director of The Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier University.

After a robust submission and review process, 36 artists were selected including: Artemis Antippas, Jan Arrigo, Abdul Aziz, Micaela Rianne Cadungog, Anita Cooke, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Stephen Paul Day, Muse Dodd, Andrea Dubé, Su Ecenia, Owen Ever, James Flynn, Steven Forster, Maria Haag, Ann Haley, Sally Heller, Veronica Ibargüengoitia, Kabot + Desmarais, Heather Ryan Kelley, Frahn Koerner, Maria Lino, Lake Newton, Mary Jane Parker, Antoine Prince Jr., Nik Richard, Coralina Rodriguez Meyer, Judith Rushin-Knopf, Caroline Ryan, Cynthia Scott, Rick Shopfner, Sam Spahr, Jamie Spinello, Sarah Sudhoff, VntheV, and Caitlin Ezell Waugh. In tandem with the exhibition, Gia M. Hamilton will present Gris Gris Lab: An Afrofuturist Apothecary, an arts and healing incubator in the CAC’s Oval Gallery.

“We have come to realize behind every beautiful thing lurks the joy and the wound of the human condition: birth, love, death, dis-ease, grief, suffering, sickness, aging, sex, happiness, joy, and anger,” says guest curator Dr. David Robinson-Morris Ph.D. “The last couple of years have highlighted, for every human being across the globe, the temporality of the body, the joy of being human, and the great woundedness of humanity.”

CAC Executive Director George Scheer adds, “We are fortunate to have the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a community of long-time supporters who, in this critical moment, have decided to support transformational artistic programs like Inter[SECTOR] at the CAC, and many others around the country.”

The CAC’s Inter[SECTOR] programs continue September 17 and 18 with a series of performances by CAC artists-in-residence The Graduates, a New Orleans-based performance ensemble composed of formerly-incarcerated women and former members of the Drama Club at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW).

After its debut at The Ford Foundation in 2017, The Graduates will present Life, a performance created to accompany “The Life Quilt” (2017), a hand-beaded quilt adorned with the names of the 107 women serving life sentences in Louisiana. Crafted to honor these women, Life combines spoken word, music, dance, video, and live musical accompaniment by New Orleans musicians Zohar Israel and Big Chief David Montana.

While in-residence at the CAC, The Graduates’ Co-Directors Ausettua AmorAmenkum and Kathy Randels launched “Sacred Wellness 360,” a series of workshops designed to help formerly-incarcerated women heal from the trauma of prison. Inspired by these efforts, The Graduates will present the world premiere of Sacred Journey, a performance that addresses the thoughts, challenges, and needs of the women as they continue to heal from the carceral system.

For the centerpiece of its Inter[SECTOR] programming, the CAC will venture off-site to Algiers Point across from the Algiers Courthouse for an outdoor presentation of Jo Kreiter and Flyaway Productions’ The Wait Room, an aerial performance that exposes the physical, psychic, and emotional burden faced by women with incarcerated loved ones. Utilizing a large hydraulic stage shaped as a clock dial, the performance incorporates dance, installation, an original score by Pamela Z, and oral histories of women whose families are fractured by the carceral system.

Additional season highlights include the CAC’s annual celebration of White Linen Night on Saturday, August 7, 2021. The CAC will present a special opening of its annual open call exhibition, “Behind Every Beautiful Thing: Encountering Bodies, Wresting the Human Condition” from 6 – 9pm, followed by its popular White Linen Night Party, After Dark, featuring DJ RQ AWAY, specialty bars, food trucks, and more. Advance tickets available soon at

Later in August, the CAC is excited to present offerings from its visual and performing artists-in-residence. On view August 27 – September 26, 2021, the CAC will present “SOLOS,” its annual artist residency exhibition featuring works by artists-in-residence J Knoblach, Keysha Rivera, kai barrow, and Ellen Bull. The weekend of August 27-August 29, the CAC will also host Performance Showcases of works-in-process by its performing artists-in-residence paris “cyan” cian, Jarrell Hamilton / De La SoL Dance-Theatre Co, and Rebecca Elizabeth Hollingsworth. The CAC’s Artist Residencies are an annual, application-based program offering time, space, resources, and professional development opportunities for visual and performing artists in New Orleans.

The CAC is excited to serve as a hub of the highly-anticipated return of Prospect New Orleans’ Triennial exhibition Prospect.5 “Yesterday we said tomorrow”. An expansive exhibition of works by internationally-renowned contemporary artists will be on view at the CAC galleries October 23, 2021 – January 23, 2022. P.5 is curated by Artistic Directors Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi who are presenting an intergenerational roster of artists from the United States, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe at select venues throughout the city of New Orleans.
Conceived by CAC artists-in-residence Renee Benson and co-produced by Jennifer Sargent of Vagabond Inventions, “The Gorgeous Offerings” are a series of rituals, sacred spaces, workshops, and community gatherings created to support healing from the loss and disorientation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first of these offerings take place November 5 & 6, 2021 with a free public screening of The Black Ophelia, a short film created by Renee Benson, Jason Foster, Ja’nese Brooks-Galathe, and Jennifer Sargent, that chronicles a “grief walk” from the Black femme perspective. The film explores the dignity of fragility in mourning and is a collaborative, experimental work that weaves documentary style into an expressionistic, filmic ritual. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s creators.

After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CAC is excited to present Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, December 3 – 5, 2021. Directed by Kiyoko McCrae the work is a multidisciplinary performance set to new music by Haitian-American singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla that explores the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner, Jean Dominique, in 2000. Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever has been in development in the CAC’s artist residency program since 2019 and enjoyed its premiere at Duke University in 2020.

Rehearsing in-residence at the CAC since 2020, re:FRAME is a movement-research collective of six dance-makers exploring alternative systems for cultivating artistic community, exchange, and sustainability. re:FRAME, in collaboration with Beaubourg Theatre / The Free School, will present Every Body Dance Now, a week-long series of workshops and activities exploring the expression of our bodies and their creative potential to examine the society we live in. December 13 – 19, 2021, cohort will lead free Community Conversations, all-levels movement workshops that address different socio-political issues, and a dance second line through downtown New Orleans.

Kicking off its 2022 programs January 14-16, the CAC presents Raw Fruit by KM Dance Project, a New Orleans-based dance company presenting choreographic works that lie at the intersection of art and social justice. Raw Fruit is a multidisciplinary work featuring a collection of stories that reveal the essence of ancestral values which have been woven into the cultural fabric of Black lives.

Tickets and advance gallery reservations for the CAC’s Fall 2021 season are available at Though mask-wearing and social distancing are now strictly voluntary at the CAC, these measures are required for patrons who are unvaccinated, as per requirements issued from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



2021 Open Call Exhibition of Gulf South Artists:

“Behind Every Beautiful Thing: Encountering Bodies, Wresting the Human Condition”

On View:  July 31 – September 26, 2021

Gallery Admissions:  $10 General Admission, $8 Students & Seniors, Free for CAC Members, Free for K-12 children and students, Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Reserve advance gallery admissions online

Exhibition Activities: 

  • Opening Night Celebration (July 31, 6 – 10pm): Featuring music by Felice Gee, Grounding Ritual and Activation of Gris Gris Lab with Soundscape by Funké.

  • The Gris Gris Lab (July 31 – September 26, 2021) Created by “Gris Gris Mama” Gia M. Hamilton, the Gris Gris Lab is an Afrofuturist Apothecary and healing incubator featuring activations and performances inside the CAC’s Oval Gallery.

  • White Linen Night Exhibition Opening (August 7, 6 – 9pm) 

  • StudioV with Veronica Ibargüengoitia (August 12, 5pm CDT) A virtual studio tour with “Behind Every Beautiful Thing” artist Veronica Ibargüengoitia, hosted online via Zoom by guest curator David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D.

  • StudioV with Su Ecenia (September 2, 5pm CDT) A virtual studio tour with “Behind Every Beautiful Thing” artist Su Ecenia, hosted online via Zoom by guest curator David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D.

  • Panel Discussion: Behind Healing and Wholeness: Art + Health  (September 9, 6 pm) Featuring artists and health policy-makers, hosted by guest curator David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D at the CAC.


CAC Artists-in-Residence: “SOLOS” Exhibition

On View August 27 – September 26, 2021

Gallery Admissions: $10 General Admission, Free for CAC Members, $8 Students & Seniors, Free for K-12 children and students, Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents courtesy of The Helis Foundation | Reserve advance gallery admissions online

CAC Artists-in-Residence: Performance Showcases

Performances: August 27 – 29, 2021 at 7:30pm

$10 General Admission, Free for CAC Members | Reserve Tickets

Artist Residency Activities:

  • CAC Studio Sundays (July 25 and August 22, 11am – 2pm)

Free and open to the public | RSVP


The Graduates: Life

Performance: September 17, 2021 at 7:30pm

$25 General Admission, $20 CAC Members, Free for prison-impacted patrons | Reserve Tickets

The Graduates: Sacred Journey (World Premiere)

Performance: September 18, 2021 at 3pm

$25 General Admission, $20 CAC Members, Free for prison-impacted patrons | Reserve Tickets


Flyaway Productions: The Wait Room

Performances: Sept. 24 at 7:30 pm, Sept. 25 at 3pm and 7:30pm, Sept. 26 at 7:30pm

Offsite: 200 Morgan Street Parking Lot, Algiers Point, New Orleans

$25 General Admission, $20 CAC Members, Free for prison-impacted patrons | Reserve Tickets

  • Post-Performance Talks

September 24: Maryam Henderson-Uloho, SisterHearts Thrift Store                                          

September 25: The Graduates, Alanah Odoms Hebert and Friends, ACLU of Louisiana   

September 26: Norris Henderson and Bruce Reilly, VOTE (Voice of the Experienced)


P.5 New Orleans: “Yesterday we said tomorrow”

On View October 23, 2021 – January 23, 2022

Gallery Admissions: $10 General Admission, Free for CAC Members, $8 Students & Seniors, Free for K-12 children and students, Free on Sundays for Louisiana residents courtesy of The Helis Foundation. Advance tickets will be available early Fall. Visit for more information.

P.5 Exhibition Opening Celebration                                                                                                  

October 23,  2021, 6 – 10pm


“The Gorgeous Offerings:” The Black Ophelia Screening and Community Discussion

Screenings: November 5 – 6, 2021 at 6:30pm

Free admission | RSVP Now


Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever

Performances: Dec. 3 at 7:30pm, Dec. 4 at 7:30pm, Dec .5 at 2pm and 7:30pm

$25 General Admission, $20 CAC Members | Reserve Tickets


re:FRAME: Every Body Dance Now

December 13 – December 19, 2021

More Information at


KM Dance Project: Raw Fruit

Performances: January  14 – 16, 2021 at 7:30pm  

$25 General Admission, $20 CAC Members | Reserve Tickets