About Douglas Redd
Douglas Redd was born in New Orleans on December 15, 1947, and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He attended Dillard University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art. The strong presence of African and African American culture influenced his decision to stay in New Orleans after his graduation. This decision took him from a path that began with fine art to graphic and commercial art, and prepared him to offer a wider range of his artistic talent to the community.
He was a self-proclaimed guardian of cultural symbols and a creator of new and different visual statements about historical and cultural African and African American concepts and images. In 1993, he established Redd House, Inc. and produced a wide range of creative, customized graphic art and design work. Redd was accomplished in graphic arts, sculpture, wood cuts and jewelry making. He was strongly committed to community work that supported and promoted African and African American values, ethos, culture and symbols. As a result, he had an extensive history of making contributions to community-based cultural arts, and social and religious efforts in New Orleans. His work has been described as the pivotal graphic influence for much of the African, African American and Caribbean programs and events held in New Orleans.
Redd was a mentor and teacher to emerging artists, and a coach and counselor to community folk who were often inspired enough by his talent to continue to refine and improve their own lives. He was a quintessential "trash to treasure master" who helped to reclaim objects, symbols, and sometimes people, for more beautiful and valuable purposes.
His portfolio of commissioned work includes:
1977 to 2001: Design artist for the Congo Square area of the Jazz and Heritage Festival, designing the popular gates to Congo Square
1993: Redd and Carol Bebelle established Efforts of Grace, Inc., a non-profit support for their community cultural arts work
1993 to 1998: Designed/created a series of five installations known as "EFFORTS OF GRACE." The titles were: Efforts of Grace, Savin Grace, Amazin Grace, Grace Under Fire & Throne of Grace. All of the works celebrate the indomitable spirit of African and African American people. The works were given a Cultural Olympiad Recognition Award and made part of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics
1995: Commissioned design of Essence Music Festival Logo
1995: Redd joined Bebelle as associate producer in mounting a dance/theater adaptation of "The Origin of Life on Earth/An African Creation Myth."
1998: Redd, along with Bebelle, founded and established Ashé Cultural Arts Center, located on historic Dryades Street—now Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.—in Central City, New Orleans, as a pivotal strategy for transforming the boulevard into a cultural tourism corridor. Redd served as associate and artistic director for the Center and the convener of the Center's Visual Artist Guild called "Visual Remedy."
February 2000: Commissioned for design/creation of architectural installation for "The Ties That Bind—Making Family New Orleans Style," a photo-exhibit funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation
March 2000: Commissioned design/creation of architectural installation of "The Door of No Return" for St. Paul Community Baptist Church for Brooklyn's commemoration of the "MAAFA"
From the 1970s to the 2000s, he gave image and perspective to every aspect of Africaneity you can imagine. From Kwanzaa to infant burial funds, from Middle Passage commemorations to school issues, Redd worked in and with the community to develop inspiring images for and about African and African American life. On the boulevard, Ashé Cultural Arts Center is contributing to the preservation and the redevelopment of the community and the legacy of culture, creativity and community in New Orleans. On July 18, 2007, Redd joined the village of the ancestors. In his memory, the Ford Foundation established the Douglas Redd Fellowship/Renewing Our Creative Resources to assure continuing leadership in the area of community cultural art.
Redd is physically gone, but not forgotten. His spirit and his legacy live on. Ashé!