Damn the thermometer, full speed ahead. White Linen Night, one of New Orleans’ sultriest soirees, takes place on Saturday evening, Aug. 6. As many as 20,000 fashionable art lovers are expected to swarm Julia Street during the annual gallery stroll. Elegant summer-white attire is suggested, but heaven knows there’s no dress code.
The big block party, which includes food trucks, cash bars, liquor company promotions, DJs, and mister-equipped cooling stations, is free. As is admission to the twenty art galleries and nearby museums. This year, the see-and-be-seen event, is presented by Fidelity Bank, with proceeds from liquor sales going to the Arts District of New Orleans organization.
Since its inception 28 years ago, White Linen Night has become the biggest event on the Crescent City’s art community calendar. The 2022 iteration is a comeback, after a two-year COVID disruption. The 2020 event was cancelled entirely and in 2021, the street party was nixed, though the art galleries remained open, with coronavirus protocols in place.
This year’s street party will be concentrated in the 300 to 600 blocks of Julia Street, which is a bit smaller footprint than in past years, when the festivities continued through the 700 block. But the duration of the street party has been increased from three to five hours, from 5 to 10 p.m (gallery and museum hours vary). Unlike past WLNs, there will be no official after party.
Fun and fashion aside, the essence of the party is the paintings, sculpture, photos, and conceptual creations in the galleries and museums. Based on a few online and in-person previews, this year’s assortment should be marvelous. The shows not to miss this year include:
Dapper Bruce Lafitte’s “The Bricks,” an exhibit of drawings that, in part, recall New Orleans’s bygone housing developments, at Gryder Gallery.
Best known for his dizzyingly detailed renderings of high school marching bands, Lafitte’s recent works blend his charming style with sometimes comforting, sometimes disquieting subjects.
Alexander “Sasha” Stolin’s darkly nostalgic solo exhibit at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400A Julia St.
Stolin, who lived his first 29 years in Kiev, Ukraine, before immigrating to Louisiana in 1992, ruminates on his personal history in a series of shadowy genre scenes.
George Schmidt Gallery, in a new location, 612 Julia St.
The 77-year-old history painter left New Orleans on a two-year sojourn to a pastoral patch of North Carolina. But the colorful chaos of New Orleans has drawn him home again. Schmidt’s oils are utterly naturalistic, but they are built on an underlying foundation of abstraction.
The lavish “Louisiana Contemporary” group show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St.
The eclectic annual exhibit is always a great place to catch both the established and rising stars of the regional scene. This year, search for Mitchell Long’s small but splendid images from inside the Walmart. Applying the warmth of Impressionist painting to the chilly interior of a big box store, is deliciously ironic.
The “Remember Earth?” 54-artist group show at the Contemporary Art Center, 900 Camp St.
Meant to warn of impending eco catastrophe, we’re worried the dour topic might deflate the WLN party atmosphere a bit. But maybe the irrepressible wit of Quintron – maker of the Weather Warlock meteorological music machine -- plus street art masters Hugo Gyrl and Read More, will still manage to put a wry smile on our faces.
WHAT: Fidelity Bank's White Linen Night 2022
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 6, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
WHERE: The 300 to 600 blocks of Julia Street, and the surrounding area.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: The Arts District of New Orleans website.