Jazz Fest artists find opportunity in house floats

After a year without work, business is booming as Jazz Fest artists create art, not for festival, but for house floats.

Jazz Fest artists find opportunity in house floats

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The cancellation of 2020 Jazz Fest due to the pandemic put many businesses and artists out of work. Now artists are finding work by creating works of art for house floats around New Orleans.

Stronghold Studios oversees the artwork, sculptures and paintings that bring extra pizzazz to Jazz Fest. Coco Darrow, owner at Stronghold, said a lot of uncertainty came with the cancellation of last year’s festival.

“Between March [2020] and December, we had one job, and we were not making it,” she said. “It was December 1st that we had the tough decision to close the doors. It was a really defeating moment.”

A defeating moment she said putting her business out of work, and many artists-- like Maddie Stratton, who said she took a financial hit after the cancellation of Jazz Fest.

“It was kind of like this push and pull of like where my income is coming from, so that kind of imploded when the pandemic hit,” said Stratton.

Any shows she had booked were cancelled in addition to Fest, and with no safety net, she found herself unemployed with nothing but hope that her art would get noticed.

One year later, Jazz Fest artists would find luck. Thanks to the Krewe of House Floats, their art that would grace the stages and grounds at Jazz Fest, now grace the front porches and yards of homes across New Orleans.

The Krewe of House Floats saved our business,” said Darrow. “Now we hired nine people to keep up with creating items for that.”

Stronghold Studios is no longer taking custom orders. Interest in house float art was so overwhelming, artists are booked up until Mardi Gras day.

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