THE ICON: John T. Scott
THE LEGACY: John T. Scott could pinpoint the day in his life when his eyes were opened to the value of art. He was a child, watching his mother painstakingly embroider a wedding gift for someone. “I said, ‘Mama, why are you taking so much time with this?,'” he later remembered. “And she said, ‘Because someday this is going to hold someone’s dreams.'” Years later, Scott would craft himself into one of New Orleans’ most respected educators and artists, the creator of looming abstract sculptures that dot the New Orleans skyline from Woldenberg Park to De Saix Circle to City Park. Although his creations, which included drawings and prints — such as the 1993 Jazz Fest poster — often reflected African-American and Afro-Caribbean themes, it transcended race. He wasn’t celebrated as merely a brilliant black visual artist. He was celebrated as a brilliant visual artist, period, and one recognized as one of the finest New Orleans ever produced.
THE ARTIST: Jessica Strahan
THE INSPIRATION: “In the African-American community, he was the first to be embraced by the white world. He was an artist of prominence that could rival anyone in the city. He became the role model, the pinnacle that all of us strove to be like.” — artist Willie Birch, on John T. Scott