The "culture hub" announces its presence during Prospect 3 with a traveling bounce-themed party.

rashaad newsome art
"Status Symbol #31" by Rashaad Newsome

Prospect 3 starts Saturday, and though the international contemporary art festival hasn’t quite lived up to the initial hype, the first two presented a lot of impressive art, often in unconventional spaces.

Keeping track of Prospect 3 has been part of the challenge with its official and satellite sites, and unofficial activities that piggyback on Prospect 3 further complicate things. One such event is “The Public Practice,” a parade through the St. Roch neighborhood with musical performances and art on many of the porches it will pass scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. organized by Delaney Martin, Claire Tancons and art provocateur Kirsha Kaechele . Another is “Amen Amen! The 17 Wards of Wonder”Saint Heron’s traveling art party, which takes place Saturday night.

Saint Heron is the brainchild of Solange Knowles and Armina Mussa, and it’s their effort to create a “culture hub,” as Mussa calls it. Knowles’ Saint Records has released Saint Heron, a compilation of progressive R&B artists, and she and Mussa have thrown events in New York during Fashion Week and Austin during SXSW. So far, they have kept a fairly low profile in New Orleans but believed Prospect 3 is the right situation to make their presence known.

“We thought this was the time to throw a really grand event,” she says. “It came about by grabbing that perfect opportunity to see if we have folks who want to be involved in Saint Heron and work to build that community here.”

The event has three components—each ticketed—and people can buy the total package or a la carte.
It starts with “Bounce Baby Bounce,” a “bounce bus” experience hosted by Katey Red with a performance by Christian Scott and art by Rashaad Newsome. Then the party moves to “The Wine and Grind,” a five-course dinner prepared by Dinner Lab with an art by Newsome, Hisham Bharocca and Tameka Norris and a live performance by SZA. “Ball Out Beaucoup” continues the event in the same space, and it’s the party with a live performance by Kelis and a DJ set by Mannie Fresh. Solange, SZA and Katey Red will host the show.

The night connects to Prospect 3 in its experiential nature, and the work of Newsome, Bharocca and Norris. “Newsome is based out of New York City, but he’s from New Orleans,” Mussa says. For dinner and the party, Bharocca and Norris will project live animation on 30-foot balloons that will be in the space.

Tickets range from $1,400 for the whole night to $35 for Ball Out Beaucoup; you have to buy a ticket to learn the events’ locations. 

Bounce music is the through-line for the night, and for Mussa that only makes sense. “Bounce music is very well known in New Orleans but not as well known to the rest of the world,” she says. For her and Knowles, it’s an effort to pay tribute to this element of New Orleans’ culture that is consistent with Saint Heron’s innovative R&B vision.

As the overall ticket prices suggests, “Amen Amen! The 17 Wards of Wonder” is aimed first at visitors to New Orleans who may not already know about bounce. “That gives us the opportunity to spread awareness,” she says. “The $35 ticket for Ball Out Beaucoup is very affordable and gives people an opportunity to see all these installations by the artists as well as party and listen to great tunes. We’re speaking to everybody.”