Before Katrina, the Arts Council of New Orleans had a grand idea: to build a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art studio for painters and sculptors. The Arts Council took donations from people from all over the country to build the facility.
Millions of dollars from donors and worse, $7 million from the city of New Orleans. The city pays about $50,000 per month just to satisfy the loan it received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The building, on Howard Avenue, just off Lee Circle, was finally finished at a cost of around $25 million.
It’s now sat idle for years. I doubt seriously that the ac is even running, meaning the building is probably starting to fall into disrepair.
What a shame. The vision by the Arts Council was a bold one: build a state of the art facility to benefit local artists and to add to the culture of our city. $25 million later, the Arts Council doesn’t exist, the city is on the hook for nearly $7 million, and a nearly 100,000 square foot facility sits empty.
Now the city has no choice but to auction off the building at pennies on the dollar.
The big losers on this one are local artists and the citizens of New Orleans.