Creative Assembly

Community Engagement Through Collaboration

What Is Creative Assembly?

Creative Assembly is a community engagement initiative by the New Orleans Museum of Art that uses neighborhood-based participatory art experiences as a vehicle for personal exploration, community collaboration, and social change.

At the New Orleans Museum of Art, we are committed to connecting to people both within and beyond the museum walls, and dedicated to developing sustained relationships with the individuals, organizations, and diverse communities of New Orleans.

Bringing together community members, artists, community-based organizations, and museum staff, Creative Assembly facilitates community-generated art projects and programs in New Orleans neighborhood spaces and at the museum.

Creative Assembly at a Glance

Creative Assembly Cohort

New Orleans is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world, and its layers of culture can be experienced in an endless number of ways. As the largest museum in the region, the New Orleans Museum of Art has a singular opportunity to serve as a nexus and forum for New Orleans’ vast cultural production. The Creative Assembly Cohort is a multidisciplinary group of New Orleans-based creators who immerse themselves within the museum’s collection and use the institution as a catalyst for their own work and creativity.

The disciplines of cohort members vary, but range from musicians, dancers, and poets to mixologists, activists, and educators. Cohort members use the museum as a space for inspiration and collaboration and work with the museum and its staff to develop and implement programs that speak to a diversity of perspectives.

[Left: The 2021–2022 Creative Assembly Cohort in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, November 2021]

Meet the 2021–22 Creative Assembly Cohort

Previous Box Next Box

Ashtin Berry

Activist, Sommelier, Bartender


Steve Lands

Trumpeter, Musician


Kathleen Currie

Perfumer, Herbalist, Breathwork Teacher


Franky Canga

Performance Artist, Dancer


People Museum

Pop-Art and Electronic Band


Courtney Clark

Artist, Food Justice Organizer


Tiana Nobile

Poet, Writer, Educator


Joseph Darensbourg

Singer, Violinist, Bookbinder


Edward Spots

Dancer, Choreographer


Connector Residencies

Creative Assembly Connector Residencies are multi-session collaborations between an artist, the museum, and one or several community-based organizations in the New Orleans area. These projects bring professional artists and cross-generational communities together for collaborative art-making and community development. At the end of each project, there is a final exhibition component or a public program at NOMA.

Previous artists in residence include: Marta Rodriguez Maleck (Fall 2021), Regina Agu (Winter 2020), Garrett Bradley (Summer 2019), and Edward Spots (Spring/Summer 2019).

Partner Workshops

NOMA staff and teaching artists work in partnership with community-based organizations to collaborate on a series of scaffolded workshops/experiences that explore creativity and the arts. The museum partners annually with five or more organizations or sites to facilitate these multi-session workshops. Although not exclusively, many of these sessions focus on NOMA’s collection or exhibition program.

Previous partner workshops have taken place in collaboration with Travis Hill School, New Orleans Public Library, Youth Empowerment Project, Covenant House, New Harmony High School, Warren Easton High School, and Grace King High School.


NOMA+ is NOMA’s mobile museum station that travels to sites across the New Orleans area offering arts encounters and experiences in unexpected locations. NOMA+ appears at community centers, libraries, marketplaces, churches, schools, and festivals, among other community institutions and events with the aim of reaching intergenerational audiences, inspiring community members through arts-based learning, and demystifying the museum experience.

NOMA Announces First Inaugural Creative Assembly Cohort

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), with the generous support of the Wagner Foundation, announces the 2021–2022 Creative Assembly Cohort, a multidisciplinary group of New Orleans-based creators selected to engage with the institution in a year-long exchange of ideas and inspiration. The Creative Assembly Cohort is comprised of a selection of creative minds who will immerse themselves within the museum’s collection and use the institution as a catalyst for their own work and creativity.
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GIRLS NOLA Spends the Day at NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

After several quiet months, the museum is slowly and safely welcoming small groups of young visitors back into our spaces, sprinkling chatter and laughter back into the sounds and rhythms of the galleries. Lit in hot pink on a Saturday in May, NOMA’s new Lapis Center for the Arts became home-for-a-day to GIRLS NOLA—the Girls Initiative for Reproducing Leaders in Society—for an incredibly special reunion and retreat. 
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New Harmony High Students Use Photography to Imagine the Future

Building on an ongoing collaboration between New Harmony and the New Orleans Photo Alliance, this spring NOMA collaborated with local students to explore the fundamentals of photography and curating with some of the city’s foremost artists. The culmination of this project, What Is Harmony?, is on view to the public on an exterior fence to the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden starting June 19.
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A Choice of Weapons: Photography, Surveillance, and Ethics⁠

Gordon Parks famously stated that photography was his “choice of weapons” against racism, intolerance, and poverty. While photographs have certainly been used to document and advance social justice causes in the past, the use of photography in recent protest movements has demonstrated one of the dangers of the medium. While protest photographs have amplified these movements’ messages and visibility, those very same photographs have been used against their makers by other authorities. This panel explored the new emerging chapter in the ethics of photography, considering how the digital, social world has made photography an instantaneous and global “weapon” that can slip easily from one hand to another, and offering guidance on ethical and inclusive approaches to protest photography.⁠ ⁠
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NOMA’s Creative Assembly community engagement initiative is supported by the Wagner Foundation.

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