Kolaj Fest New Orleans is a multi-day festival & symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society, July 12-15, 2018.


Program Overview

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Kolaj Fest New Orleans will be a historic coming together of collage artists and art professionals; a multi-day festival and symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society; where the focus is how we elevate the status of collage. Presenters are leading panel discussions, addressing key curatorial issues, asking why collage is often treated as a second-rate medium. Artists are planning a festival-wide installation, creating special activities and demonstrations. We will meet, network, share community, camaraderie, and fellowship. We will leave armed with new ideas for our artmaking, writing, and curatorial projects, but more importantly, we will leave Kolaj Fest New Orleans prepared to champion this artform in the year to come.


Daily Collage Congress

Each morning of Kolaj Fest New Orleans, we will come together in a morning session. We will review the day's agenda. Speakers will share ideas about the state of collage. And we will hear updates about special projects taking place during the festival.

Opening Day

On Thursday morning, we will convene at the host hotel, Aloft New Orleans Downtown, for a Welcome program and breakfast. Then we will head to town for a tour of galleries in the Warehouse District. Later in the day, we will convene at Antenna, where artists whose work is in the exhibition, "Revolutionary Paths: Critical Issues in Collage", will speak about their work. Mariah Morales will speak about Dominican diaspora artist, Firelie Báez who imbeds images in her artwork that touch upon slave culture in Africa, Hispaniola, and the rich cultural past of Louisiana.

Workshops, Panels, & Demonstrations

During the day, various sessions will explore ideas about collage with presentations from artists and writers. There will be panel discussions on curatorial issues in collage and the presentation of collage outside of an exhibition format. We will hear about collaborative projects. Artists will show how they use collage to engage their communities, investigate ideas, and tackle social issues. We will dive deep into materials and sources with a series of presentations that will shake up our understanding of the medium. We get focused in smaller sessions where topics can be discussed with a tight group of people. In our collage making space, artists will show off techniques and process. Some will lead workshops that demonstrate both collage making and how collage is taught to others. Our hope is that Kolaj Fest New Orleans will light sparks in your brain, tickle your eyes, and build connections between you and others engaged and passionate about collage.

Evening Programs

In the evening we come together again. On Thursday night, we will join Antenna for their signature event Antenna::Signals. On Friday night, Danielle Krysa, aka The Jealous Curator, will speak about her journey with collage. And on Saturday, "Why Is That Dinosaur Holding a Vacuum & Other Stories from the World of Collage" will be a whole new experience in showing art.

Last Day

On Sunday, we will meet one more time in the morning to recap Kolaj Fest New Orleans and to say our goodbyes. Those who wish to stick around are invited to attend a Strategy Session in the early afternoon where we take in what we learned at Kolaj Fest New Orleans and identify ideas and recommendations for promoting and advancing collage in the coming year.


Registration to Kolaj Fest New Orleans gives you an all access pass to events and a welcome packet that includes the Kolaj Fest Book and other goodies. Registration costs $125.



Curatorial Issues in Collage

Using Hans Ulrich Obrist's explanation of curating as a departure point, a panel of experienced curators will lead a discussion about how collage is presented in galleries and museums. We will focus on how collage fits into this "mass medium and ritual"; what collage artists need to know about how curators put together an exhibition; and concerns art presenters should consider when mounting collage exhibitions. The session is moderated by Kolaj Magazine Editor Ric Kasini Kadour and features art critic Dillon Raborn, Los Angeles-based artist and curator Chelsea Dean (image), collagist and transmedia storyteller JRC, and Todd Bartel who is the founder and Gallery Director of the Cambridge School of Weston’s Thompson Gallery. MORE



A New Word for a Particular Set of Collage Operations: Todd Bartel brings decades of experience teaching and thinking about collage to Kolaj Fest New Orleans where he will present his theory of Uncollage, an analysis of how during the past hundred and fifty years, artists have used a variety of collage-like strategies to make artwork, some of which may not appear to be collages, but, on closer inspection, pass the test. MORE


Materials & Sources

What are the ingredients of collage and how do materials shift the meaning of the work and expand the tradition of the medium? The sessions present the work of artists who explore, in various ways, the substitution or expansion of “paper” and “glue” for innovative possibilities. Folks will leave this session with a broader understanding of the materials used in the medium and a greater appreciation for the impact source imagery has on collage work. For artists, this is an opportunity to gain deeper insight into your practice. For art professionals, these sessions will arm you with a toolbox for thinking differently about contemporary art. MEET THE ARTISTS


Beyond the Exhibition

From the exchange of mail art to the publication of zines, collage artists are experts at showing, sharing, and selling their work outside of the traditional gallery system. In this session, we hear from a number of presenters engaged in such work. While this session focuses heavily on publishing, we are interested in the strategies collage artists use to share and expose the public to their work. MORE

At the Collage Making Space


Assorted Tips & Tricks

A Collage 101 with Kevin Sampsell. From 2014 to 2018, Sampsell hosted Open Collage Night at Portland, Oregon’s Independent Publishing Resource Center. Held the second Wednesday of the month, experienced collagists mingled with those just learning more about collage. Working with a wide range of source materials, Sampsell’s collages swim in the pool of pop culture. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans Collage Making Space, Sampsell will share some of his collage work and offer some tips and tricks for making collage that he has come across on his journey through the medium. MORE


Biblio Excavations & Collage Techniques

Ben DiNino's Collage Making Demonstration. DiNino works in excavation and concealment. He produced a series of book pieces where he cut out all the extraneous text leaving only specific images exactly where they were originally located. The pages of the textblock are sealed shut so that only the cover opens. This creates a collage that was ever-present in the book, allowing the viewer to see through the pages and look at the whole body of images the book offers. “I never know exactly how these biblio-excavations will visually culminate and it’s an exciting process to watch them divulge themselves,” said DiNino. MORE


I'm Sticking with You

Mighty Joe Castro's collages are a dyanmic walk through a variety of themes: "dualism, injustice, modern life, the discarded past, devolution and the trappings of a society that’s becoming less and less humanistic, a culture obsessed with new technology and driven to consume at all costs," said the artist. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Castro will host a ninety minute quick collage making session. "We’ll cut, we’ll paste, we’ll discuss the business of art, trends in collage and which pomade really provides the best hold for your hairstyle." MORE


Ripping it Up

The elegant collages of Janice McDonald are made with salvaged materials collected from her daily life and wanderings. Each element is liberated from its original context, then transformed as the papers meld together into fresh imagery with new associations and meanings. She comes to Kolaj Fest New Orleans with a deep curiosity about other artists' practice and lots of questions for her fellow collage artists. MORE


Quick & Dirty Collage

The Collage Making Space at Kolaj Fest New Orleans will host a number of workshops and demonstrations. Lucy Julia Hale, a visual artist, social activist, and career development expert from Cave Spring, Georgia, will demonstrate a Quick and Dirty Collage technique and talk about it can inform an artist's collage making. MORE

In Focus Sessions


Collage Communities

Societies, Projects, and Collaborations. Collage is more than a medium. It's a community of people, networked and international. This community doesn't just happen. It is the product of hard work by people who organize societies, open collage nights, collaborative projects. In this panel at Kolaj Fest New Orleans, we will hear from a number of organizers who work in various capacities. What makes for a successful community, collaboration, or project? What will help these efforts be more successful and develop a broader audience? How can these initiatives interact more with the art world at large? Among the presenters is Zach Collins (image here) who has participated in hundreds of collaborations with collage artists from around the world. MORE



Collage at College

For over thirty years Steven McCarthy worked at the confluence of graphic design, art, writing and self-publishing. He has an MFA from Stanford University and is a professor of graphic design at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Steven McCarthy will lead a discussion for artists and designers who are also university faculty interested in contextualizing their work so it helps them achieve tenure and promotion. "Collage at College: Teaching, Creating and Researching an Indeterminate Medium" is one of many Focus sessions at Kolaj Fest New Orleans where topics can be discussed with a tight group of people. MORE


Embodiment in Collage

Mind, Body and Re-membering Trauma of Past Generations: Sarah Castillo and Baleigh Kuhar discuss collage as a channel for exploring and understanding identity through the impact of historical and intergenerational histories and trauma. Furthermore, how these complicated histories translate into the minds and bodies of today’s society. MORE

Artist Spotlights


Charles Wilkin
& Collage Fortunes

"Charles Wilkin has done for collage what Andy Warhol did for screen printing," said Kolaj Magazine Editor Ric Kasini Kadour. "That is to say, he took a relatively obscure art medium and showed us how powerful a tool it can be." In addition to being featured at one of Kolaj Fest New Orleans' Daily Collage Congresses, Wilkin will conduct "Fortune Collage Project, The Perceptive Reading of Paper Scraps." In this performative art piece, the artist makes a spontaneous collage using materials selected by a participant. MORE


The Fragmented World We Live In Together

For Marie Conigliaro, collage is a depiction of the fragmented nature of the world we live in, but also of its togetherness. "Different and disjointed elements of this world and beyond can be brought together as one through this medium," observed the artist. There are rich layers of playfulness and irony in her work and the way she recontextualizes the ephemera of old into something arresting and new. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Conigliaro is one of the artists featured in "Why Is That Dinosaur Holding a Vacuum & Other Stories from the World of Collage," an evening of live interviews, storytelling, and collage art. MORE


From Peru, Canson City Comes to New Orleans

Enrique “Kike” Congrains experiments with themes like death, psychedelics and religion in response to South America and Peruvian religiosity. His ongoing project, “Canson City”, centers around an imaginary town where he is the sheriff. Each collage is part of the mythology of the town that is accompanied by a short story that he writes on the spot as an improvisation exercise. Stories speak about famous citizens, traditions or historic moments of the imaginary place. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Cosgrains will present on the community of collagists in Peru and how he works in his country and with the rest of the world. He will be part of a discussion on how do other collage artist position themselves as storytellers in their communities? He will also make a presentation of his artwork as part of a symposium session on the role of the collage artist in 21st century society. MORE


Interview with The Jealous Curator

A highlight of Kolaj Fest New Orleans will be “An Evening with The Jealous Curator, Danielle Krysa.” Her 2014 book, Collage, showcased 30 collage artists from around the world. A collage artist herself, Krysa has a deep understanding of the medium and its role in the art world. We asked Krysa some questions about why she loves collage and her hopes for Kolaj Fest New Orleans. MORE


The Rich History of "Women's Work"

With Vibrant Colors Hale Ekinci Asks Serious Questions: Ekinci's visual vocabulary includes pictorial histories, gender politics, and traditions from her Turkish upbringing. Ekinci uses collage to explore her heritage, her alien status living in the US, and the rich history of "women's work" through non-linear narrative videos and mixed media paintings that are juxtaposed with craft. MORE

Special Projects


The Seaside Fleet Comes to New Orleans

A festival-wide installation by California-based artist JRC will use the imagery of boats to tell the story of Kolaj Fest New Orleans. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, JRC serves a particular role in sharing the values and mission of the event. In addition to acting as a visual cue for Kolaj Fest New Orleans, JRC will engage with event attendees, teach them to make these boats, and encourage them to leave these boats at the places they visit as they make their way through New Orleans, and then take the work to their home communities.​ MORE

Want to join the Seaside Fleet (New Orleans)?
Check out the call to artists HERE.

Kolaj Fest New Orleans made possible through a generous gift from Laurie and Doug Kanyer.

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About Kolaj Magazine

Kolaj Magazine is a quarterly, printed magazine about contemporary collage. We are interested in how collage is made, how collage is exhibited, and how collage is collected. We are interested in the role collage plays in contemporary visual culture. Kolaj is a full colour, internationally-oriented art magazine. Kolaj is published in Montreal, Quebec by Maison Kasini. Visit Kolaj Magazine online.


Kolaj Magazine. info@kolajmagazine.com
Published by Maison Kasini. Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.