Cantor Art Gallery Presents ‘Katrina Then and Now: Artists as Witness’

Marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Exhibit will feature work by current and past artists from New Orleans

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross will present the exhibition “Katrina Then and Now: Artists as Witness,” curated by Daina Cheyenne Harvey, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology. The exhibition will be presented in two parts, the first installation subtitled “Documenting, Describing and Dealing with Disaster” will be open to the public from Wednesday, Sept. 2–Oct. 10. The second installation subtitled “The Rebirth of Art” will be on view from Thursday, Oct. 22–Dec. 18. A talk by Harvey will precede the first opening reception on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, an event of tragic proportions for the city of New Orleans, “Artists as Witness” will focus on the relationship between Hurricane Katrina and visual art in New Orleans from 2005 to the present.

Harvey grew up in and around the city of New Orleans until the age of 14. In 2010, Harvey moved back to help rebuild homes and work on community projects in the Lower Ninth Ward with a consortium of nonprofits, community groups, and academics. He lived and worked there for 14 months while writing his dissertation for Rutgers University about the rebuilding efforts.

“One of the things that interested me while I was in New Orleans was how much new art and artists I kept running into. When I arrived at Holy Cross to teach in 2012, I was inspired be a colleague to curate an exhibition as a way of exploring how artists responded to Katrina,” explains Harvey.

In 2014, he spent seven weeks in New Orleans developing contacts with artists, gallery directors, and curators and found the community very supportive. A number of nationally known artists, such as Willie Birch and Dawn DeDeaux, will have work included in the exhibition, and DeDeaux will give an artist’s talk prior to the opening reception for the second installation Thursday, Oct. 22.

A special feature of the exhibition will be the creation of a site-specific installation by artist Jeffrey Marshall, associate professor of art foundations at Mount Ida College. The piece will be on view at the entrance of the Gallery throughout the academic year and is based on his documentation of the recovery progress he witnessed in New Orleans post-Katrina. The series, titled “The New Orleans Drawing Project 2006 – 2015,” was created ‘en plein air’ style on the streets of the city. Marshall lived in New Orleans for seven years prior to Hurricane Katrina. Currently, Marshall is working and living in Gloucester, Mass.

“Artists as Witness” brings together a myriad of contemporary artists whose work chronicles art making in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and is timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the disaster. This multimedia exhibition includes work by some of the foremost artists of New Orleans. Artists in Part I of the exhibition include Willie Birch, Sandy Chism, Dawn DeDeaux, Jeffrey Marshall, Malcom McClay, Bonnie Maygarden and Maxx Sizeler. Part II will feature work by Sklar Fein, Generic Art Solutions, Gina Phillips and Robert Tannen.

Works included in the exhibition – drawing, film, installations, painting and sculpture – will highlight art as a way of making sense of social disruption, art as a tool to document disaster, and the importance of art and culture for rebuilding communities in the aftermath of disasters. The exhibition will offer a series of artists’ talks, films and special events throughout the semester – visit our webpage for current list of scheduled events.


  • Wednesday, Sept. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Part I opens
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 12–1 p.m., Gallery talk with artist Maxx Sizeler
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 4:30–5:15 p.m., talk by Daina Cheyenne Harvey, assistant professor, department of sociology and anthropology, Rehm Library
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, 5:30–7 p.m., opening reception, Cantor Art Gallery
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, 4:30–5:30 p.m., talk by Malcolm McClay, artist and associate professor, College of Art and Design, Louisiana State University, Stein 120
  • Monday, Oct. 5, 4:30–5:30 p.m., talk by Thomas Stubblefield, assistant professor of visual and performing art, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Stein 120
  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 4:30–5:30 p.m., talk by artist Jeffrey Marshall, Stein 133
  • Saturday, Oct. 10, Part I closes
  • Thursday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Part II opens
  • Thursday, Oct. 22, 4:30–5:30 p.m., talk by Dawn DeDeaux, artist and founding member of the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Rehm Library; 5:30–7:30 p.m. opening reception.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 18, Part II closes

Gallery Information Founded in 1983 through the generosity of Iris & B. Gerald Cantor, the Cantor Art Gallery serves both as a venue for a changing series of historical and contemporary public exhibitions, as well as a vital resource for Holy Cross faculty and students, linking exhibitions to the broader liberal arts curriculum.

The hours for the Cantor Art Gallery are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Saturdays 2–5 p.m. Located in O’Kane Hall, 1st Floor, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College Street, Worcester, Mass., 01610. Visitors needing assistance with handicap accessibility should contact Public Safety at 508-793-2011. Admission to the gallery is free.

For additional information, please call 508-793-3356 or visit the Gallery’s website at: