By Troy Carter
The New Orleans Tribune
On March 15, Jade Meyers, also known as THEARTISTJADE, unveiled her first mural for the I Am New Orleans, a community-led campaign designed to inspire conversation and action to create a child-centered city.
I Am New Orleans is supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation andbegan in 2021 with a series of virtual events focused on critical issues facing children and families in New Orleans. Since then, it has grown to include united partner organizations, community leaders, residents and stakeholders coming together to advance racial equity across key areas through in-person and virtual community conversations.
The murals were incorporated into the I Am New Orleans project when the organization partnered with THEARTISTJADE to create two murals to help bring to life the neighborhoods, people and culture that make New Orleans so unique.
THEARTISTJADE’s 30-foot mural reflects the goal of the project – making New Orleans a more equitable community. The mural’s design encompasses community feedback captured at listening sessions held in 2022.
“Equity means making sure that every voice is heard,” says THEARTISTJADE. “As African Americans, we are disenfranchised, and especially in New Orleans, being such a vibrant and lively city and melting pot, I feel like sometimes our voice still isn’t heard.”
For her part, THEARTISTJADE, who already works with programs through NORD and YAYA, says she wants to do more to contribute to the creation of this equity through mentorship, art, and community action.
It was programs like those that played an essential role in her own development, she says. She participated in NORD art summer camps from the age of five to age 12, formative years for an artist who said she came to understand the importance of her art by the time she was seven years old.
Later this year, a second mural by THEARTISTJADE will unveiled be on the Andrew P. Sanchez Multi-Service Center on Fats Domino Avenue as part of the I Am New Orleans project.