Shop Talk: Ellen Balkin

What are your responsibilities as Director of Education? I lead Ogden Museum’s efforts to fulfill our educational mission to provide innovative programs and tours designed to bring art and people together. I also foster relationships with area educators, students and artists, to make certain the museum is embracing and engaging the entire New Orleans community. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job? I feel delighted and fortunate to play a role in exposing New Orleans youth to the art of the American South. Through educational tours, summer camps, adult workshops, free family days and other programming, we’re able to introduce adults and kids to Southern artists and provide them with an outlet for creative expression and exploration. Our educational programs reached more than 17,000 people in 2019, and we’re always eager to share the museum with new audiences. Many educators in the greater New Orleans area don’t know that the museum is free to all Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish public school groups. We are committed to reaching new schools each year, with the hope that someday every student will have the chance to experience the museum.

Are there any upcoming events you would like to showcase? The exhibition, “Melvin Edwards: Crossroads,” will open to the public on Saturday, February 8, and will feature metal assemblages that explore the formal, familial and conceptual affinities between Edwards’ work and that produced by African artists and artisans. 

How can we help support Ogden Museum? If you join as a member, you’re able to visit the museum as much as you would like! By attending exhibition openings, gallery talks, panel discussions and other events, you’re supporting our mission. You can also volunteer at the museum as a Docent and provide informative and engaging tours to visitors of all ages, helping them to make meaningful connections with Southern art and artists. You can also make a donation to Ogden Museum – large or small, every contribution helps support our dynamic exhibitions and educational offerings. 

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about the museum? Whether it’s a visitor’s 50th or first visit to the Ogden Museum, we aim to present visitors of all ages with a welcoming, active and inviting experience that fosters a lifelong involvement in the arts – and don’t forget that we’re free to all Louisiana residents on Thursdays, thanks to the generous support of The Helis Foundation!

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9650,


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