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Shop Talk: From the Big Easy to the Big Apple

After 15 plus years as a New Orleans-based artist, Ashley Longshore is headed to the Big Apple to sow her wild, glittered oats. It’s a loss for New Orleans of course. We’ll miss her flamboyant Magazine Street gallery, proudly displaying rotating tongue in cheek mantras via window decals. Still, she plans to keep New Orleans in her stratosphere even as she boards a rocket towards otherworldly success. We had a chance to chat with her briefly about her relocation and what’s up next.

Tell us about your decision to move your showroom from New Orleans to New York City? I have always dreamed of having a gallery in SOHO. For 30 years and four months I have worked towards this. I love New Orleans very much, but I have to carpe diem. We have gotten through a pandemic and now more than ever we all know the power of NOW… we gotta go for it!

How will the new studio be different? The new showroom will be a place for not just my work, but a place for me to showcase the creatives I love so much. My musical theatre scholarship winners, the photographers, drag queens, artists/creatives from SCAD, poets, performance art… all nestled on a thriving iconic street flooded with people from all over the world. It is going to be so much fun!!!!! It’s a DREAM! Crosby Street has always been my dream!!!

Any favorite memories/experiences of living in or having a gallery in the Big Easy? There are countless memories. Mardi Gras dancing and partying for weeks on end in front of the studio, meeting new collectors, helping so many local organizations like Amy’s Art Cart, the ADL, Second Harvest… working with the film industry. At one point having that gallery on Magazine was my biggest dream. It was all a dream come true! And then my insatiable thirst for NYC consumed me. I hope to maybe open a spot in the French quarter in a couple of years. We will see how things go.

Will you maintain a connection with NOLA? Yes. I will still have my studio team in Nola so I am NOT DONE… They just will no longer have to run a showroom too. It’s exciting. Change is good and fortune favors the bold! I love New Orleans, nothing can change that! Ever!

You are such an outspoken proponent of strong women. Which women are you inspired by right now? There are so many, and this series of women I am painting for my ROAR! Collection will continue until I no longer have breath in my body. I am obsessed with Nadia Murad, Lily Ledbetter, Fern Mallis, Diane Warren and Haley Arceneaux. Look them up, read their stories. It is how they overcame their hardships that inspires me! So much! I love them!

Our readers are avid philanthropists; can you tell us about The Ashley Longshore Charitable Trust? Yes, It is an unrestricted award for excellence in the arts that I have been presenting for two years with the Young Arts Organization. They have the most incredible emerging talent that needs to be supported. This is the future of art!!! It is truly the greatest part of my career to be able to give unrestricted awards so that these artists can thrive! My first winner was Blaine Krauss; he is so brilliant and such an unforgettable performer! And this year the award went to Daveed Baptiste, a remarkable young photographer. Look them up. I just want people to immerse themselves in art that they love. That relationship between artist and patron is such a special one. It is like magic when you find art that moves your soul. Could be a photo, could be a performance, could be a plate of food, a painting, a song. Artists are so special. We must protect them and SUPPORT THEM!!!

Shop Talk Interviews: Stoney Clover Lane

Meet Penn

Penn larocci is a born and raised New Orleanian. After graduating from Tulane University, she lived in NYC for nine years working in sales in marketing at an invest­ment bank. When she missed New Orleans more than she could stand, she moved back home, met her husband and started a family. She’s now raising two rambunctious little boys and spending her free time on envi­ronmental sustainability projects.

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