THE ICON: Arthur Roger
THE LEGACY: With a 5,100-square-foot gallery on Julia Street, Arthur Roger is New Orleans’ preeminent dealer in contemporary art, with a roster of artists that has included Ida Kohlmeyer, Robert Gordy, George Dureau, John Scott and John Waters. Roger started humbly in 1978, when his mother mortgaged her Chalmette home so her son could open a gallery at 3005 Magazine St. It was a tough time for contemporary art, especially pieces by local artists, but he stuck it out – and flourished, due in no small measure to his groundbreaking acceptance of black, female and LGBT artists. In 2017, Roger donated to the New Orleans Museum of Art more than 80 of the pieces that had been in his home because, he said, it was time to let them go. Describing Roger’s gift as “transformational,” Susan M. Taylor, the museum’s director, said it both expanded and reaffirmed the museum’s commitment to local artists.
THE ARTIST: Gabriel Flores
THE INSPIRATION: “Artwork is like houses. We have the ability to live in them and love them, but they will go on after us.” — Arthur Roger, in a 2017 interview with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune