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Q&A with Teresa Parker Farris

Marketing Coordinator, Newcomb Art Gallery

Cheryl Gerber Photographs

What is your favorite kind of art? My house is filled with works by Southern “folk” artists, and I’m also interested in 19th- and 20th-century regionalist painters.

Who is your favorite artist? I like too many to name just one, but if I won the lottery I’d buy a work by self-taught Alabama artist Bill Traylor.

When there are so many things to fix – from roads to health to schools – why should we spend money on art? Art sustains people in profound ways – it inspires, challenges and even entertains in a manner that a new road or building cannot.

Why do New Orleanians love art so much? I think the arts are generally accessible in the city; they aren’t the exclusive domain of a rarefied stratum of society. Also, New Orleanians tend to celebrate life in a colorful, expressive manner – so art is a natural complement to their daily experience.

What advice would you give to people who want to work in the arts? Be patient and resourceful. Being an arts professional typically doesn’t offer immediate financial rewards, so one often has to cobble projects together to make ends meet. Eventually, this does pay off, but it takes time.

How would you describe the creativity levels in the city right now? Extremely high. It’s exciting to see established and pioneer institutions thriving and often working side-by-side.

What kind of art do New Orleanians like? I don’t think any one genre can be named – the city is too diverse; however, residents do tend to support work that’s made in and reflective of the city.

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