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New Orleans artists build public music venue in Shreveport Commo - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

New Orleans artists build public music venue in Shreveport Common

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Welder James Cousins works on Shreveport musical village Welder James Cousins works on Shreveport musical village
SHREVEPORT, La. -
Artists and volunteers transform piles of reclaimed pipes, wood and metal at 1001 Texas Ave. scrap-by-scrap into a bohemian, musical village.

The vision comes from New Orleans Airlift, but materials and labor are donated.

Related link: http://www.dithyrambalina.com/

Towering over the grassy lot is one of the city's historical landmarks, the Calanthean Temple, which once hosted musical greats in its rooftop garden. The artists have dubbed their project Calanthean Canyon in honor of their Shreveport Common neighbor's legacy.

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"I've been looking forward to something like this happening in Shreveport for awhile," collaborating artist James Cousins said. "A lot of other cities are doing an urban renewal thing [and] building up lower income neighborhoods. It's a good thing for Shreveport, and I'm happy to be a part of it."

"There's just so much waste," said Delaney Martin, New Orleans Airlift artistic director. "Part of this project is just show how you can imaginatively work with things that could be seen as a problem for a community- say blight- and turn it into something new."

These structures will soon become musical instruments themselves. The shutters provide percussion. Participants can draw sound from nearly any area.

Martin says the project's run in to a couple obstacles. The first site they chose was unavailable collection. Asking for building material handouts can be hit-or-miss, but when they hit she calls the scraps of "little adventures."

"[We have] everything from an 1872 log cabin, to having people come here and meet us and bring us wood," Martin said. "One gentleman brought us wood from his grandfather who used to build his own houses. It's always an experience and a journey."

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Calanthean Canyon will debut at UNSCENE! May 16 and 17. 

When Airlift organizers finish their run in six months, two of the shantytown-style houses will be transported back to New Orleans. The others will stay at the Texas Ave. location for Shreveport residents to continue adapting and using.

To volunteer for the project, contact Shreveport Regional Arts Council.


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