New Orleans Airlift is an artist-driven initiative that collaborates and creates alongside the artists and communities we support. Airlift was founded in 2008 by musician and artist manager Jay Pennington and multi-disciplinary artist Delaney Martin as a response to the unparalleled destruction of Hurricane Katrina and its devastating aftermath which left local artists, like all New Orleanians, struggling for their lives and livelihoods.
From 2009 - 2019 Airlift created over a dozen large scale collaborative works as a leading creator of out-in-the-streets public art in New Orleans. These projects built collaborative bridges between artists and communities within New Orleans and across the world. New Orleans has a unique and universal point of view, steeped in tradition and improvisation, and that it shines most when engaged with a variety of local, national and global voices. For a decade we worked with members of our dynamic street culture, folk masters, and a growing contemporary arts scene to create spectacular multi-disciplinary performances.
Today Music Box Village is Airlift’s legacy project. Founded by Delaney Martin, Taylor Shepherd, Jay Pennington and Swoon in 2011, it combines the worlds of music, art, sculpture, architecture and community in one all-encompassing vision. It exists as an ever-evolving site of sonic sculpture built by almost 100 artists and played by hundreds more world class musicians in unique-to-the-world performances.
New Orleans is the last great bastion of living folk culture in the United States. Our projects honor these traditions alongside innovation, leading our artists, culture and communities in meaningful new directions.