by Tribune Staff
After six long years, the New Orleans African-American Museum of Art in Treme reopened its doors on April 11 with the unveiling of its offices, gallery and event space at 1417 Gov. Nicholls St., a beautifully renovated building just across the street from the historic museum campus, which remains closed as it awaits an estimated and much-needed $12 million restoration.
Through a partnership with the Amistad Research Center, NOAAM opened its new building with an exhibit titled “Everywhere We Are/Everywhere We Go: Black Space and Geographies,” which will run through the end of the year. The exhibit is a historical chronology of the contributions of Black New Orleanians in The Treme neighborhood. The exhibit is open during the museum’s hours, which are 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and by appointment.
First opened in 2000, the museum closed in 2013 amid financial trouble. A group of investors also made a $1 million loan to the museum to help resuscitate the facility. That arrangement also resulted in some contention. However, now that issues between the NOAAM board and the investor group seem to have been ironed out with a new agreement, the museum’s leadership is looking forward to raising the money needed to redevelop the rest of the museum’s complex.
NOAAM’s new Executive Director Gia Hamilton says museum officials and its board look forward to leveraging support from the city, the community and foundations to raise the funds needed to restore the buildings that comprise NOAAM’s main campus, including the Treme Villa Meilleur, the nearly 200-year-old mansion considered the jewel of the facilities.
“I hope you all leave here excited and enthused about what’s to come,” Hamilton told the crowd filling spilling out of the buildings doors, lining the second floor balcony and filling the backyard.
Michael Griffin, chairman of the museum’s board, echoed Hamilton’s sentiments.
“This has been a labor of love for so many who worked tirelessly to re-energize, reinvigorate and start the renaissance of this museum,” said Griffin, adding that he too looks forward to working with entities throughout the community to complete the museum’s restoration.
The museum’s website provided details about a personalized brick campaign to help raise funds. To donate or for more information, visit www.noaam.org.