As a native New Orleanian who spent several years trolling amongst the peaks and valleys of the New York art worlds, from Zucotti Park to David Zwirner, I have the privilege of having known the pre- and post-Katrina faces of New Orleans and of having engaged the New York worldview that laps at our shores. Straddling these two scenes allows me to muster both a militant locality and an international openness. Like many New Orleanians, I fear the influx of a capitalist culture that has already commodified and sanitized culture in New York. I am horrified by Mardi Gras Indians marching through the French Quarter and by the process of unresolved displacement that has brought contemporary visual arts to New Orleans. Yet I also recognize the necessity, joy, and strength of sampling international ideas, knowledge, and inspiration. Only by speaking with the world will we discover tactics to allow our survival in a globalized reality. Only by looking at the world will we recognize the beauty of diversity. Act local; think global. Challenge. Question. Explore. Etc.
Stephen Tremaine is a native of Louisiana and an alum of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Stephen is founder and director of the Bard Early College in New Orleans, a tuition-free satellite campus of Bard College embedded within the New Orleans public school system. BECNO offers young people across New Orleans a home for intellectual ambition, critical inquiry, and the pleasure of asking big questions. Stephen also serves as Bard College’s Vice President for Early College Programs, working across a national network of intensive programs in the liberal arts for young people in public high schools. In this spirit, Stephen is interested in what happens when the institutions that aim to push boundaries of new thinking (colleges, art spaces, theater groups) work alongside the public schools charged with preparing young people to be citizens.