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.


Susan Newmark

Brooklyn, New York, USA

1-14 July 2024

New York City-based artist Susan Newmark explores concerns of memory, place, nature, the human body, feminism, cultural expressions, and most recently, erasure. Trained as a painter, she has created many artist books which preceded and enriched her collage practice. During her residency, she will weave paper on a simple wood loom to create large, woven works related to her concerns about erasure and extinction of our natural and human environment.

Using collaged historic maps that show sites of specific human and environmental calamities, history and locations of oppression, Newmark will paint them with acrylic or watercolor wash, collage them with color, cut into horizontal strips of varying widths and woven over and under heavy colored and painted thread that had been “dressed” on a simple wood loom. Through this process, these collages will become low reliefs of complex surfaces of grids and color in a balance of the horizontal cut strips with the linear quality of the vertical thread, a real synthesis of collage and weaving.

Susan Newmark was trained as a painter and an art educator at Pratt Institute, Hofstra University, New York University and took book workshops at Haystack, Penland and the Women’s Studio Workshop. Her collages have been shown in many curated solo and group exhibitions including those at the Brooklyn Museum, the Parrish Museum, the Center for Book Arts, Kentler International Drawing Space, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, the galleries of St. Johns, John Jay and St. Joseph’s universities, and the Figureworks Gallery where she has had three solo collage shows. She directed the visual arts and arts-in-education programs at Abrons Art Center of Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, developed Dialogues in the Visual Arts, an artist conversation series for the Tribeca Arts Center and the Grand Army Plaza Public Library, and has curated many group and solo exhibitions.

Erasure: Bucha by Susan Newmark
25″x18″; woven paper on loom, acrylic, thread, wood; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Open Studio

Saturday, 13 July 2024, 6-8PM

Part of Second Saturday in the Bywater
at Kolaj Institute Gallery

Visit the exhibition, Magic in the Modern World, and meet Kolaj Institute Artist-in-Residence Susan Newmark. The New York City-based artist explores concerns of memory, place, nature, the human body, feminism, cultural expressions, and most recently, erasure. Trained as a painter, she has created many artist books which preceded and enriched her collage practice. During her residency, she will weave paper on a simple wood loom to create large, woven works related to her concerns about erasure and extinction of our natural and human environment. Using collaged historic maps that show sites of specific human and environmental calamities, history and locations of oppression, Newmark will paint them with acrylic or watercolor wash, collage them with color, cut into horizontal strips of varying widths and woven over and under heavy colored and painted thread that had been “dressed” on a simple wood loom. Through this process, these collages will become low reliefs of complex surfaces of grids and color in a balance of the horizontal cut strips with the linear quality of the vertical thread, a real synthesis of collage and weaving. Newmark will show her process for making woven collage and the work she has made while in residence in New Orleans.


Noreen Smith

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

15-28 July 2024

Noreen Smith, a self-taught multidisciplinary artist hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, “intricately weaves her personal observations and life journey as a black woman into her artistic tapestry.” She draws upon “the rich soil of her family’s tradition, where women crafted out of necessity or simply for the joy of creating beauty, seldom seeking recognition or financial gain.” While in New Orleans, Smith will research the intersection of Voodoo and Mardi Gras, “specifically focusing on the profound impact these traditions have on authentic practitioners as opposed to their sensationalized portrayal for tourist appeal and financial gain.” This research will lead to a body of artwork that “sheds light on the multifaceted aspects of spirituality and cultural practices that often remain obscured by superficial representations.”

Noreen Smith’s collages have been featured in multiple online and print publications. She was a 2022 finalist in the see | me “True North” juried exhibition at Gallery 23NY in New York. Her first solo exhibition, “Heroes & Villains” at Gallery CA in Baltimore, Maryland, August-September 2023, was curated by Teri Henderson, author of Black Collagists and Arts & Culture Editor for Baltimore Beat. Smith also actively engages with the community through art workshops, collaborating with non-profit organizations and established art institutions. The artist lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

Duality by Noreen Smith
15″x12″; collage; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Jordan Crouch

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

29 July to 11 August 2024

Through the recovery process, there is an emphasis and focus on working to create a new lifestyle one doesn’t want to escape. The series of collages Jordan Crouch will make during her residency will explore how easily one can get lost in this process, hiding the undesirable parts of themselves rather than facing demons head on. Post residency, Crouch will exhibit the pieces created and incorporate them into a zine that supports those navigating their sobriety.

Jordan Crouch is a queer multimedia artist primarily working in ceramics, collage, and writing. She has spent over ten years as a Social Worker supporting women who have experienced gender-based violence, individuals in recovery from substance abuse, and displaced families navigating new environments. She leans on creative outlets to process these stories and her own adversities, embracing the discomfort that promotes fortitude. Her work delves into the exploration of identity and the journey to accepting all parts of herself, especially through her sexuality and sobriety. The artist lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona.

More by Jordan Crouch
7″x5″; cardboard, paper; 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Alicia Finger

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

12-23 August 2024

During her Solo Residency, Philadelphia-based Alicia Finger will create a series of cut-paper collages that represent her experience of being in New Orleans. Finger says, “The urban landscape and vibrant colors of New Orleans architecture provide a perfect setting to expand my current body of work.” The artist will explore and document New Orleans, create paintings on paper, and gather materials, with a focus on landscape, architecture, and color, with additional research in decorative arts and crafts. The result of this research will be a triptych of collages that represent her experience. After the residency, Finger is planning to exhibit these works in both solo exhibition proposals titled “Reconstructed Spaces” and group/juried exhibitions.

Alicia Finger holds an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a BFA from Arcadia University with a concentration in oil painting. Her works have been included in juried group exhibitions nationally including Summerhouse at Hot-Bed Gallery in Philadelphia and Drawn to Paper at Atlantic Gallery in New York City. Finger is currently an Instructor and Coordinator of Color and Design and Color Theory at Rowan University. She is a member of the Philadelphia CollageWorks artist collective and DaVinci Art Alliance. For the last two years, as a member of Philadelphia CollageWorks, Finger has been working on a collaborative community collage project representing the diversity of the Philadelphia community. The artist lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Water Bearer by Alicia Finger
12.5″x16″x1″; cut-paper collage painting; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Alan Pocaro

Champaign, Illinois, USA

2-15 September 2024

Collage artist Alan Pocaro, traveling to New Orleans from Champaign, Illinois, will be continuing his series of collage-based artist books that he calls travel journals. For his Solo Residency, Pocaro will create a book of collage and poetry that draws directly on his engagement with the culture and geography of New Orleans, both past and present. He began this series in Spring 2022, during his Artist Residency at the Morgan Paper Conservatory in Cleveland, Ohio. Pocaro will show his New Orleans works along with the other books in the series at a solo exhibition in Cleveland in Spring 2025.

Alan Pocaro is an artist, writer, and designer based in Illinois. His award-winning works-on-paper have been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions, including Sammlung Platak (Basel, Switzerland); Every Inch, a Mile (Peoria, Illinois, USA); The Distance Between Us (Dayton, Ohio, USA); Intersections: Book Arts as Convergence (New Orleans, Louisiana, USA); Visible • Invisible • Divisible (Chicago, Illinois, USA) and Abstractions (Stroud, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom). Additionally, Pocaro designs promotional posters for the Station Theatre and The Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company. The author of several catalog essays, Pocaro also regularly contributes art criticism to Chicago’s New City magazine and his writing has appeared in New American Paintings, Art Critical, Abstract Critical, City Beat, and ART PAPERS. Pocaro is currently appointed Associate Professor of Art + Design at Eastern Illinois University. He is a proud member of the Collage Art Book Association, the Mid-America Print Council, and the Art Critics Alliance. He is represented by the Gilbert Gallery in Urbana, Illinois.

Ars Amatoria by Alan Pocaro
10″x11.25″; codex-style artist book with die-cut pages & Volvelle: screenprint, solvent transfer, relief and collage on Mylar, vellum and Stonehenge Aqua; 92 pages; 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Emmanuel Laflamme

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

21 October-3 November 2024

Montreal-based collagist Emmanuel Laflamme writes, “Combining cultural references, I combine ancient and modern myths to share my perspective on the world, at once tender and critical. The absurd is my playground and anachronism is my specialty.” During his residency, Laflamme will create a new series of collages that push his boundaries and focus on developing a better understanding of his own artistic practice. He will meet with New Orleanians and collect materials locally, working from what he finds. He will seek inspiration in archives and local history museums. The body of work he creates in New Orleans will influence future work in painting, mixed media and other artistic endeavors.

Laflamme worked as a designer on animated series and has been involved with the advertising, movie and gaming industries. In 2023 he published his first book, Coronart, which features a series of digital collages inspired by the lockdowns. He also produced two short movies: Our Feature Presentation (2022) which premiered at le Festival International du Film sur l’Art (FIFA) in Montreal and Previews of Coming Attractions (2023) which premiered at Mashup Film Festival in France. He also works in collage (digital and traditional), painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance and installation. In Kolaj 2, Ben Depelteau wrote “Painting with Icons: Emmanuel Laflamme”, which investigates collage as process.

Taurus by Emmanuel Laflamme
28″x22″; mixed media on canvas; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.


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.

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

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. On Thursday, 23 May 2024, 7-9PM, she is hosting a “Collaging Desire” workshop for members of the public. In the workshop, participants will explore Larimer’s work and make collages exploring their own feelings of desire or in response to a piece of provided text. 

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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