A while ago there was a very interesting mosaic arch at the front of City Park near Orleans and City Park avenues. Can you tell me about it and where it was moved?
The piece was created by artist Shannon Landis Hansen. It is a ceramic-encrusted doorway titled Still Standing. For about two years, this tribute to what was lost in Hurricane Katrina and what was left stood in City Park and was admired by those fortunate enough to see it. Hansen's doorway is covered with ceramic figures, mosaic tiles, plates, cups and saucers and other bits and pieces representing treasures lost in the storm. It is fitting it was placed in City Park, parts of which flooded with up to 8 feet of water after the federal levees broke in 2005.
Hansen, who spent her childhood moving from place to place, was an award-winning watercolorist during her early career. In the 1980s, she began to create layered assemblages, showing her work mostly in California. Now her pieces incorporate ceramic figures (or pieces of them), mosaic tiles, plates, cups, saucers and found items, reflecting what she calls "transitoriness," or how things change over time.
The sculpture was part of the Arts Council of New Orleans' $750,000 Art in Public Places program in which the Arts Council commissioned local artists to create unique pieces to display throughout the city, beginning in October 2008. Artists from Louisiana and Mississippi who were affected by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita were eligible, and 308 proposals were submitted. An anonymous panel of five chose 20 public art projects, and each of those artists received $25,000.
The Arts Council project was funded through the estate of abstract painter Joan Mitchell, who died in 1992. The Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York helps artists throughout the country, and it has given more than $1.5 million to various art institutions in New Orleans since Katrina. The two-year Art in Public Places project came to a close in October 2010. Some of the artworks will remain in place permanently, but most have been dismantled or moved. Hansen's piece was relocated to the front yard of The House on Bayou Road (2275 Bayou Road), a bed and breakfast near North Tonti Street.