View of damage inflicted on the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art, by Hurricane Katrina.

Learning from New Orleans: A Conversation with Shirley Trusty Corey and Mary Len Costa

While images of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath are well known, other behind-the-scenes aspects of the devastation have not received much media attention. For instance, what happens to an art community when a disaster like this occurs? What precautions can art professionals take now to lessen the impact? Near the third anniversary of Katrina, Robert Preece, a New Orleans resident in the mid-1980s, interviewed Shirley Trusty Corey, the former CEO/president of the Arts Council of New Orleans (1991–2007) and Mary Len Costa, the interim president and CEO of the organization, and former director of public art for the city.1 Their experiences and efforts offer important, common-sense lessons for everyone involved in the arts. As New Orleans continues to rebuild its communities and its cultural life, the city is marking its steps toward recovery with “Prospect.1 New Orleans,” the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States. The exhibition, together with associated special events, will be on view November 1, 2008 through January 18, 2009. More information is available at <>.