The mission of Kolaj Institute is to support artists, curators, and writers who seek to study, document, and disseminate ideas that deepen our understanding of collage as a medium, a genre, a community, and a 21st century movement. We operate a number of initiatives meant to bring together community, investigate critical issues, and raise collage’s standing in the art world.

Kolaj Institute Gallery in New Orleans includes a fully fitted bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen that allow us to provide housing for artists who come to New Orleans to develop their practice and make artwork. Kolaj Institute’s Solo Residencies are designed to provide artists, curators, and writers with dedicated time and space to work on a project.

CURRENT RESIDENT

Julie A. Bell

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

1-15 April 2024

From Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Julie A. Bell is in residence at Kolaj Institute in New Orleans where she is working in a maximalist, abstract style, using found materials, handmade paper, acrylics and inks, Bell will develop a series of collages that explores the history and tourist culture of the city. Her unique and eclectic imagery is rooted in the exploration of place, traditional culture and the evolving social landscape. Using found materials, handmade paper, acrylics and inks, Bell carefully constructs compositions that are full of energetic color and layered meaning.

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Life in Mirrors by Julie A. Bell
16″x16″; mixed media collage and acrylic on cradled wood panel; 2023

UPCOMING RESIDENTS 

Candace Caston

Decatur, Georgia, USA

22-28 April 2024

Candace Caston is a collagist originating from New Orleans, Louisiana, currently residing in Decatur, Georgia. In her work, she primarily uses paper and water-based media to explore the memory of place. During her residency, Caston will make a visual archive of New Orleans that she will use to make collage that explores memory and place. This work will be infused with parts of her family’s story and with her memories attached to New Orleans. Caston earned her BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2014. Her work has been featured in multiple group shows, installations, and public art projects throughout the South. Candace has most recently exhibited with UTA Artist Space Atlanta, Westobou in Augusta, Georgia, and The Front Gallery in New Orleans.

Meet the artist during an Open Studio on Saturday, 27 April 2024, 1-3PM. Please RSVP HERE

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Green House by Candace Caston
18″x24″; collage and gouache on panel; 2023

Maria Schamis Turner

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

29 April-12 May 2024

Montreal collage artist Maria Schamis Turner uses shape and color to play with and question visual conventions of human and animal forms, often venturing into the absurd. She is now working on turning her series of nonsensical beasts–impossible creatures that defy the physics of gravity and motion–into a children’s book. During her Residency, Turner will create a collage series of a fictitious designer’s fashion line–in the spirit of her nonsensical beasts–that reflects the opulent architecture and burlesque sensibility of New Orleans. As well as creating the series, she will create a persona, back story, and biography for the designer. Once the series is completed, the artist will create a chapbook that she will exhibit and sell at Expozine, Canada’s annual small press fair, as well as disseminating it on social media and using it as a portfolio of her work.

A writer and editor with an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, Turner started exploring visual forms of self-expression after her father’s death in 2017. Unable to express her grief in words, Maria began working with mixed media including drawing, painting, and collage. She has studied with local artists including Sarah Mangle, Julie Lequin, and Mariella Borello and has taken workshops at the Centre des arts visuels in Montreal. She completed a two-week individual residency at Toronto Island’s Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts in 2019. The Canadian indie-folk group Caution Horse recently commissioned her to create art for their upcoming EP.

Meet the artist during a special workshop being held on World Collage Day

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Albert from the “Nonsensical Beast” series by Maria Schamis Turner
12″x9″; paper collage on Canson mixed media rough; 2023

Meghan Larimer

Brooklyn, New York, USA

20-26 May 2024

The art practice of Brooklyn, New York-based collagist and designer Meghan Larimer “is meant to be an antithesis to the daily grind of pixel pushing for money hungry corporations.” Collage for her is a space in which there are no restrictions or design briefs, only worlds to be made of paper and ideas that can be as chaotic and nonsensical as she chooses. Her “Hidden Desires” series explores “yearning feelings” the artist has for “people outside of my long-term relationship.” She writes, “I have used cut images of bodies along with shapes of colors and texture to create a confusing tangle of limbs, torsos, and mouths, some of which are hidden from view. In this way, I’ve pieced together different people and the desires I feel while stealing glances and scans of their faces and bodies. I hope to create erotic compositions that spark a desire for connection and exploring the sensual feelings we hide from ourselves and others.” The artworks are paired with love letters and poetic prose that explore lust, love, loss, and grief.

While in residence, Larimer will develop the series into a book and exhibition. She will also host a “Collaging Desire” workshop for members of the public during which she will share the “Hidden Desire” series and participants will make a collage about desire.

Larimer is a founding member of the New York Collage Ensemble, which promotes a supportive community of like-minded collage artists in New York. She has shown her work collaboratively in the US as well as France and Norway. She plastered the streets of New Orleans with wheat paste collages as part of Kolaj Institute’s Collage as Street Art Artist Residency in June 2023.

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Hidden Desires 13 by Meghan Larimer
12″x9.5″; found images; 2024

Julie Byers

Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia

17-30 June 2024

“In 2005 I was visiting New Orleans with a community-based gospel singing group during Hurricane Katrina,” writes Australian artist Julie Byers. “Our experience, our escape and observing the aftermath is an experience I will never forget.” That experience fostered a two-decade-long relationship with New Orleans and the residents she met there. During her residency, Byers will work with community organizations and archival material to make work that addresses climate change and natural disasters and the connection to social justice with the 20th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in 2025 in mind.

Byers grew up in a family of musicians and creatives. Her career spanned social planning, policy and international development and championing social justice and community development. She writes and performs music and her visual art incorporates collage, photography and poetry. She holds a Diploma of Visual Arts from the New South Wales Technical and Further Education College. Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions in Australia. She was part of Kolaj Institute’s PoetryXCollage Residency in 2022. The artist lives and works in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia.

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A Hard Place by Julie Byers
11.4″x8.3″; collage and altered photo; 2022

PAST RESIDENTS

Peggy L. Burchard Ballard

Quincy, Illinois, USA

11-24 March 2024

Peggy L. Burchard Ballard writes, “Vintage maps became part of my work several years ago, initially they were background fillers but over time they became intentional by color, pattern, or topic. I continue to develop the use of maps in my work and find ways of integrating them fully into the collages.” With a focus on the history of the New Orleans area, Burchard expects to complete three to five 10″x14″ or larger collages. These collages will be based on maps of the area and evolve from material obtained during the Residency.

Ballard earned her BFA in printmaking from the University of North Texas where her focus was intaglio printmaking. She received her MA in Art Therapy Counseling from the University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Ballard worked as an art therapist until 2015 when she left a career in counseling. Ballard has won awards for her prints and collages in Texas, Florida, and in the Missouri-Illinois region. She has exhibited throughout the US and has work in private and community collections. She is a past adjunct professor at John Wood Community College, Culver Stockton College and Quincy University, where she taught over 14 years until her last semester in 2023. She is a transplanted Mid-Westerner having arrived from Texas to Kansas City, Missouri in the early 1990s.

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Birdbath (3D) by Peggy L. Burchard Ballard
14″x11″; vintage map (source unknown); female swimmers (1950s Life Magazine); birds (Birdcraft: A Field Book of Two Hundred Song, Game and Water Birds by Mabel Osgood Wright, Illustrated by L.A. Fuetes, The Macmillan Company, 1936); larva (The Insect Book by Leland O. Howard, Doubleday, 1908), Redoute’s Fruits and Flowers (Golden Ariels #4) by P.J. Redoute, edited by Eva Mannering, Ariel Press, 1964); 2021

Daniela Ruiz Perez

Columbia, Maryland, USA
26 February-10 March 2024

Using local newspapers, magazines, flyers, and other similar found items, Daniela Ruiz Perez will create artwork about the fauna found in the wetlands of Louisiana. She writes, “In my work, I honor my impulses as if part of the environment’s organic processes.” Trained as a geographer, she is currently engaged in a body of work that uses maps to showcase conservation issues of animal species in her home community of the Chesapeake Bay area. During her time in New Orleans, she will research the wetlands of Louisiana and make artwork that will be exhibited in an April and May 2024 exhibition in Kolaj Institute’s Gallery that focuses on environmental art.

Daniela Ruiz Perez is a mixed media assembly artist from metropolitan Washington, DC. Her background as a Geographer has led her to develop her practice around maps in both physical and representative forms. She received a B.F.A and B.S in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland, and is now looking to continue to explore a sustainable practice in graduate school.

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Plot Variation 1 by Daniela Ruiz Perez
24″x18″; collage, cyanotype, paper; 2020