900 Camp St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
The CAC is a multi-disciplinary arts center, financially stable and professionally managed, that is dedicated to the presentation, production and promotion of the art of our time.
Statement of Purpose
The CAC is a cultural leader. As such, it organizes, presents and tours curated exhibitions, performances and programs by local, regional, national and international artists. It demonstrates proactive local and regional leadership by educating children and adults; cultivating and growing audiences; and initiating and encouraging collaboration among diverse artists, institutions, communities and supporters.
Our vision is that the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans be a multi-disciplinary arts center, nationally recognized as a leader in the presentation and support of contemporary arts, artists and emerging art forms. In doing so, it will explore and involve the diverse cultures of our communities.
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) was formed in the fall of 1976 by a passionate group of visual artists when the movement to tear down the walls between visual and performing arts was active nationwide. The CAC began as an artist-run, artist-driven community organization in the nearly empty arts district of New Orleans. As the burgeoning arts district grew, so did the CAC, evolving to meet the increasing needs of a diverse audience and artist communities. Renovated in 1990, and donated to the CAC in 1999, the CAC’s building mixes the timelessness of New Orleans’ historic architecture with contemporary materials and usable open spaces. Throughout the CAC’s 35 years, the center has remained active in the visual and performing arts and arts education communities, continuing to represent an era of creative freedom and multi-disciplinary expression. Today, the CAC is one out of a handful of nationwide arts organizations who have remained solvent and successful while serving a truly multi-disciplinary mission. Currently dedicating two floors, about 10,000 square feet of gallery space, on the 4-story building to rotating exhibitions throughout the year, the CAC is home to artists’ bold experiments in painting, theater, photography, performance art, dance, music, video, education, and sculpture. Since 2006, the CAC has awarded $350,000 in grants to individual New Orleans’ artists who were affected by Hurricane Katrina through the CAC Theatre Arts Fund and the SweetArts Katrina Fund. Offering creative outlets and opportunities, the CAC’s education department successfully engages over 10,000 children and adults annually, including those with special needs and those from economically deprived backgrounds. The CAC’s education and outreach projects offer intimate arts education settings where students, most for the first time, work together with artists, generating a greater impact through more personal, interactive experiences. The CAC’s significance and role in the cultural community of New Orleans has and always will be cemented in its broad community-based programs and initiatives.
The Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) has been the corner stone of the New Orleans Downtown Warehouse District. The CAC has been in the heart of the Warehouse District since 1976. It is the place to find new and exciting expression in the medium of painting, theater, music, performance art, dance, photography, video, sculpture and more in New Orleans.
The building space is 30,000 square feet and the architecture is a mix of historic New Orleans architectural features with contemporary material. The building was built in 1905 and renovated in 1990. The galleries are spacious and they have a sleek modern layout which also is true of the atrium, theaters and studios.
The CAC event programming is all year round and includes:
World-class visual arts exhibitions
These are exhibits spotlighting unique and eclectic works in all mediums by local, national and internationally renowned artists, are displayed in a 10,000+ square foot space, illuminated with natural light.
Cutting edge performing arts shows
These arts shows range from urban dance theatre to legendary jazz master series to avant-garde classical and everything in between.
These programs delight the young and young at heart with a children’s gallery, creative art workshops, summer arts camp, field trips, and a variety of lecture series and learning programs.
Fabulously festive celebrations
Including two of the largest art happenings and outdoor celebrations in New Orleans, NOADA’s White Linen Night (always the first Saturday in August) and Art for Arts’ Sake (always the first Saturday in October). Plus huge parties like SweetArts and Bourbon & Burlesque add a touch of debauchery and mystery to the traditional arts benefit.
The CAC is also a wonderful venue to rent for a wide range of private and public events, for as little as 10 guests, and as high as 3,500 guests.
The Contemporary Arts Center is located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans in close proximity to the commercial galleries of Julia Street. It has two floors of exhibition space plus areas for the performing arts and a cafe/shop. This is the first time I have been to the CAC and have seen actual exhibits, as pervious attempts have caught them between shows. During this visit I was particularly drawn to two exhibits: Saints & Spirits: Art of Haiti and Harry Shearer: The Silent Echo Chamber. The second was a video installation with projections and TVs hosting videos of famous personalities (Barack Obama, John McCain, James Carville, Etc.) waiting to go live. The CAC is an interesting space in its own right, with a winding ramp/stair and exposed beams.