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Charles Gillam, Folk Art Zone / Blues Museum

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Visiting Information

Gillam is proud of his city, New Orleans, of his culture, and of his family, and he welcomes visitors to view his work. Appointments are recommended, and Gillam escorts visitors through himself. 

About the Artist/Site

Charles Gillam was born in 1945, and picked up making art by watching other artists in the French Quarter while he and his brother shined shoes. His big break came when the House of Blues, a rock- and blues-themed music venue and restaurant, commissioned him to carve a wood bust of Charley Patton, “Father of the Delta Blues.” It was a “dead ringer” for the famous musician, and Gillam’s career as a self-taught wood carver and artist took off from there. He works with found driftwood from the Mississippi River, and reclaimed wood from different areas of New Orleans. He is perhaps best known for his wooden busts, bright carvings of second lines, and local cuisine.  

Gillam  lives and works at the Folk Art Zone in Algiers Point in New Orleans, a short ferry ride across the Mississippi from the French Quarter, which he founded in 2000 to honor local art and music. This area had been the home to notables like musician Son House and novelist Zora Neale Hurston in the past. In its current situation, it consists of Gillam’s studio, his self-made blues museum, and his self-curated “folk art zone.” The blues museum features the stories and faces of famous bluesmen, with a specific wall dedicated to women of the blues. The portraits were carved and painted by Gillam, and feature the faces of Louis Armstrong, Robert Johnson, and Memphis Minnie, among others. The folk art zone includes George Rodrigue’s personal easel, along with work by Lonnie Holley, Mr. Imagination, and Roy Ferdinand. Gillam wants to help children learn about recycling and creating, and wants to help the art community around him grow; in addition to his exhibitions and other projects, he holds the Folk Art Fest in his side yard each November. 

Gillam is proud of his city, New Orleans, of his culture, and of his family, and he welcomes visitors to view his work. Appointments are recommended, and Gillam escorts visitors through himself. http://folkartzone.org

~Marshall Blevins

 



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 29.952362 / -90.050157

Visiting Information

Gillam is proud of his city, New Orleans, of his culture, and of his family, and he welcomes visitors to view his work. Appointments are recommended, and Gillam escorts visitors through himself. 

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