New Orleans Artist Jessica Strahan’s “You Are What You Eat” Inspired by Local Student Designs
Downtown New Orleans’ first and largest signature mural collection expands with the addition of “You Are What You Eat” by New Orleans native and artist, Jessica Strahan. Strahan’s work is the seventh mural featured in Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation, a project of the Arts Council New Orleans. Strahan was the first muralist to be announced from the Unframed 2.0 international call to women artists, which resulted in 82 submissions. “You Are What You Eat” is located in Legacy Park at 730 Baronne Street.
“Jessica celebrates New Orleans’ distinctive culture in her artwork,” says The Helis Foundation Managing Director Jessie Schott Haynes. “She not only captures the city’s rich community, but she engaged with local students to create this impressive and vibrant mural.”
International School students Akayla Bailey, Darriel Brooks and Encore Academy student Xzivion Strong were selected by Strahan to help provide inspiration for her new mural design. Additionally, each student won a print of Strahan’s work, an Arts Council t-shirt, and a $50 Visa gift card.
The portraits in Jessica Strahan’s murals depict her observations of some of the people, foods, and culture which make the New Orleans community unique.
“This is one of the largest murals I’ve painted. It was a beautiful challenge,” says Strahan. “It’s imperative for children to see themselves and know that they’re a part of the culture. It’s important to make healthier food choice because we are what we eat.”
Strahan’s artwork consistently depicts the city’s rich culture, distinctive landmarks, and interesting people juxtaposed with tribes of Africa. Strahan was the 2019 winner of The Helis Foundation Art Prize for Louisiana Contemporary at Ogden Museum of Southern Art, selected by the exhibit’s juror, David Breslin, Director of Curatorial Initiatives at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She was the regional winner of the Bombay Sapphire Artist Series at Art Basel in Miami and her work has been featured in numerous New Orleans galleries and private collections throughout the world.
Unframed launched in June 2019 and seeks to bring public art throughout downtown for all locals and visitors to enjoy. Two additional murals will debut in 2021, bringing this collection to a total of nine murals in and around the Arts District.
For more information on Unframed presented by The Helis Foundation, a project of the Arts Council New Orleans, visit The Helis Foundation website or text “Unframed” to 56512 to take a virtual tour of the murals.