New Orleans artists form Carnival Collective aimed at preserving local art form

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Mardi Gras artists emerge from behind the scenes and make handmade parade float art available for public collection for the first time

“We want to introduce the public to the artists that have been working anonymously behind the scenes for years under float building companies or designers."

Some of the most talented artists behind celebrated New Orleans parades have banded together to form the Carnival Collective, making authentic Mardi Gras float artwork available for public collection exclusively at eclectic art boutique Miette.

The group's mission to enhance the artistry in Carnival season is beyond the sale of a Mardi Gras float flower. The hope is that by raising the public’s awareness of who they are, and how the art pieces that adorn New Orleans’ grand rolling tableaus are lovingly created for the unique celebration each year, Mardi Gras revelers will slow down and admire the work.

"The parades go by so fast and there's so much emphasis on Mardi Gras throws that people aren't necessarily aware of some of the really incredible artwork that's on the floats," said float artist Caroline Thomas.

Miette invites locals and visitors alike to visit the shop to take home a piece of Mardi Gras, or to interact with the art in the “selfie garden,” a magnificent display of giant flowers and winged creatures hanging from the ceilings and walls.

The fact that Mardi Gras has remained independent of outside funding allows the krewes and artists to have carte blanche to create as they desire. It also means that they are free of any endorsements or corporate advertising. In addition to supporting its mission, the Carnival Collective serves as a way for hardworking artists to bring in additional revenue, and for the community to support local art.

“We want to introduce the public to the artists that have been working anonymously behind the scenes for years under float building companies or designers,” said artist Dana Beuhler. “We hope this will inspire the sharing of our creations year round, beyond just the short glimpse revealed in the few weeks of Carnival parading.”

The creations include a wide variety of elegant float-scale flowers, giant butterflies and fireflies. They are inspired by work that the artists have built for Mardi Gras krewes in the past, as well as innovative pieces that they would like to see on floats in the future. They are constructed in a tedious process of combining poster board, wire and sculptural elements like foam or paper mache. The pieces vary in size and range from $40 to $500.

“The shop is a place where people can come and participate with the art,” said the owner of Miette, Angee Jackson. “We’ve designed the display so guests can take cool selfies with the flowers, and have the giant bees and butterflies appear to be coming at them in the background.”

Miette is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, and is located on one of New Orleans’ most bustling streets full of art galleries, locally owned shops and restaurants, Magazine Street.

About Carnival Collective

The Carnival Collective is a group of New Orleans-based artists who work for the independent float building companies behind Mardi Gras. They believe their beautiful, original pieces should be shared with everyone and banded together in late 2015 to create iconic Carnival art pieces for public collection. The artists’ not only work in Mardi Gras, but are known for their other magnificent works. The founding artists include Thomas Randolph Morrison, Dana Beuhler, Brian Bush, Caroline Thomas and Gabrielle Bruno.

About Miette

Miette is an eclectic art boutique located at 2038 Magazine Street in the historic Lower Garden District of New Orleans, 10 minutes from the French Quarter – easily accessible via car, bus or cab. The boutique features primarily local artists, as well as artists from all over the world, most who use re-purposed materials as their medium and believe in producing new things out of old. It is the only dedicated retail outlet to purchase handmade pieces of art seen on Mardi Gras floats. It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information about Miette call the store directly at 504-522-2883 or visit iheartmiette.com.

Media Contact:
Maggie Robert
maggie(at)onlineoptimism(dot)com; 504-521-6222

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