STATEMENT ARTS- "The World Art Project"

The World Art Project blog is a forum dedicated to helping Katrina Victims share the experience and journey of a group of Professional Actors, Singers and Performers who traveled to the Gulf Coast to help uplift the spirits of those surviors. Our hope is to provide insight, knowledge and offer way for readers to get involved and help in forms of Donations, support or expression of opinions and feelings.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

See Us on!

STATEMENT ARTS- "World Art Project" is's lead story!
Check it out:

From The Times Picayune, New Orleans
N.Y. group is music to our ears

Thursday, December 29, 2005
Carol Wolfram
I'm a holiday music fanatic.

I like it all -- from the romping "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" variety to my ultimate favorite, "O Holy Night." I embarrass everyone in the vicinity by tearing up every time I hear that admittedly schmaltzy song, "The Christmas Shoes." And I will forever get chills when I hear Allen Toussaint sing, "The Day it Snows on Christmas (in New Orleans)," remembering that the "Christmas Gumbo" CD was released last year just before it actually did snow on Christmas in New Orleans.

Look in my car at any time of the year and you'll find a holiday CD or two or three. Look beside/in our home stereo at any time of the year and you'll find another cache of Christmas carols.

Even I can admit that I may have tiptoed into the realm of pre-therapy when, during a recent road trip to spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws, I only brought Christmas CDs in hopes that John would, once he starts talking, break into a holiday tune or two. I didn't think that was too grand a Christmas wish. Mike was sure I'd finally lost my mind.

Smokin' Slidell stage
There's just something about Christmas music I find relaxing and uplifting, which is probably one of the reasons I've always been eager to volunteer at the city's annual Christmas Under the Stars celebration in Olde Towne Slidell.

Every year there's an entertaining show, whether the tunes are performed by a local elementary school or the Navy Band of New Orleans.
This year the stage was smokin', courtesy of STATEMENT ARTS', "World Art Project."
You knew something special was in store when The World Art Project performers' presence became known before they'd even taken a step on stage.

As the St. Paul AME Church Mass Choir sang on stage, the professional troupe from New York City began clapping and dancing along, their energy igniting an even more moving performance by the local choir and propelling into action a crowd that previously had been clapping politely between St. Paul's sets.

They were the very embodiment of Christmas spirit.

Gift of the heart
Three thousand miles away, in New York City, the men and women of Statement Arts comprise a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing visual and performing arts to underserved, low-income individuals. Their goal is to use the power of art to educate and empower.

In Slidell, they were transformed into Christmas elves, spreading cheer first in the Cracker Barrel restaurant where they broke into a few impromptu carols and, like the Pied Piper, were trailed by diners to Griffith Park.
"They just started singing in the restaurant. They told us they were coming here, so here we are," said Barbara Gourdon.

Once on the Griffith Park stage, the sprites presented a 40-minute show that included traditional carols and some holiday favorites performed to distinctly nontraditional choreography.
They called children to the stage -- scratch that, they called everyone to the stage -- to perform at their side.
Before the troupe was through, the members of the audience were singing as heartily as the choir, laughing, and dancing. As the concert ended they converged on the stage to shake hands and meet the performers, unwilling to abandon the merry mood.

Four months earlier, Griffith Park had been underwater, its oaks inundated by Hurricane Katrina's floodwater.

But that night, thanks to The World Art Project and the power of music, Christmas felt like Christmas is supposed to feel.

Mission accomplished
That was the mission of the Tour, explained Liza Politi, creative director of Statement Arts and one of the performers on stage in Slidell, to "bring a little joy to a lot of people who needed it through music and the spirit of Christmas."

Before performing in Slidell's portable stage aka trailer, the group had performed under tents in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Waveland, Kiln and Pearlington, Miss. The following day they were scheduled to perform in the French Quarter.

The gift of spirit was the repayment of a debt, Politi explained. After 9/11, groups from throughout the world descended on New York City to volunteer in the disaster zone.
"Their generosity was amazing. In the months that followed, it became obvious to us that the threat that connects us all, however thing it may seem, is very strong," she said.
She remembered, particularly, a group from Louisiana that set up shop just outside the ground zero perimeter and cooked up and gave away pot after pot of jambalaya. "The Mardi Gras beads that they were handing out still hang in my office," Politi said.

Jambalaya, like music, has the power to heal when delivered with heart.

. . . . . . .

Carol Wolfram can be reached at or (985) 645-2857.


Post a Comment

<< Home