NEWS BEAT: Fleur de children’s charity

NEWS BEAT: Fleur de children’s charityThe fleur-de-lis has flourished across New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, with people embracing this traditional emblem of the city as a symbol of pride and perseverance during its recovery. It has turned up on banners, jewelry, business logos and even as tattoos. Now, artistically decorated statues of the ancient symbol are the vehicles for a public art installation around the city that will deliver charitable grants to help local children in need.

The Fleur de Lis Fore!Kids art project is the latest initiative from the Fore!Kids Foundation, the local nonprofit that produces the annual stop on the PGA Tour in New Orleans known as the Zurich Classic. Through this and other annual fundraising events, the foundation generates millions of dollars each year for dozens of children’s charities.

NEWS BEAT: Fleur de children’s charityThe foundation commissioned the construction of 40 fiberglass fleur-de-lis statues and gave them to local artists as blank slates to decorate with their own work. The finished products comprise a unique collection of local art and are on display in public spaces across New Orleans. At the end of the year, they will be sold or auctioned off to companies and individuals interested in acquiring the art and supporting local children’s charities, says Aeree Kim, the foundation’s director of charity development. The statues are expected to fetch $10,000 each, generating a pool of $400,000 to be distributed to local agencies with which the foundation works.

“We wanted to do something that would help beautify the city after Katrina and help our partner organizations. The fleur-de-lis is a symbol of hope, so we thought this was all a good mix for the project,” says Kim. 

NEWS BEAT: Fleur de children’s charityThe project is part of a trend of public art displays that began with a bovine-themed Parade of Cows exhibit around the streets of Zurich, Switzerland – the home base of the local golf tournament’s sponsor, Zurich Financial Services. Chicago had its own Parade of Bulls and in New Orleans, the Young Leadership Council organized its Festival of Fins with fish-shaped statues installed around town in 2000. 

NEWS BEAT: Fleur de children’s charityThe four-foot-high fiberglass fleur-de-lis statues were crafted by Kern Studios – the Algiers company famous for its Mardi Gras floats. The Arts Council of New Orleans was tapped to hire local artists to decorate the statues, which make up the first public art program in the city since Hurricane Katrina.

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