O What a Night! Gala is Saturday, October 21, 2023! A black-tie affair, the glamorous evening will honor New Orleans based artist Luis Cruz Azaceta with the 2023 Opus Award. The gala will feature a seated dinner, live music and a live and silent art auction. This year’s live auction will be presided over by the renowned auctioneer Nicholas Lowry of Swann Galleries and PBS’ Antique Roadshow. The auction will feature exclusive, major works from Southern artist such as Gregory B. Saunders, Kaori Maeyama and Trenity Thomas.
Here is a sneak peek of the artwork in this year’s live auction!Learn More about O What a Night! Gala + Purchase Tickets
Born in 1952 in Cold Springs, Kentucky, Gregory B. Saunders was raised in what he describes as “a shockingly small house with no running water” on a small, isolated farm. The sixth of eight children born to an Irish Appalachian father and mother of Ukrainian heritage, Saunders’ childhood was both difficult and glorious. When not in school, Saunders spent his days hunting, fishing, gathering wild foods and farming a small garden with his family.
Showing an early interest in art, Saunders began taking art classes in high school. He then entered Morehead State University on scholarship graduating with a B.F.A. in 1974. The day after graduation, he was sharpening a pencil when the graphite dust spilled onto a sheet of paper. Rubbing it into the paper with his fingers, a lifelong relationship with the medium was born.
Saunders’ process in powdered graphite was developed through years of experimentation and innovation. It is a process both additive and reductive and involves drawing, brushing, masking, mapping, scraping and sanding. Every composition begins with a contour drawing and is developed through many hours of trapping graphite powder between layers of acrylic spray to create complicated values in grayscale. Scale is a conscious conceptual decision – creating large works that can’t be regarded as preparatory drawings for another medium, but must be viewed on equal footing with paintings and sculpture.
Kaori Maeyama is an urban landscape painter born and raised in Fukuoka, Japan. A New Orleans resident since 1994, she worked as a focus puller and a digital audio editor before shifting her focus to analog image making. She teaches at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and Tulane University, and is a member of Staple Goods collective in the St. Claude Arts District. Her recent work has been shown at Staple Goods and LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans, and at O’Kane Gallery in the University of Houston-Downtown. She holds a B.A. in filmmaking from the University of New Orleans and a M.F.A. in painting from Tulane University where she learned to paint without paintbrushes.
Trenity Thomas is a self-taught photographer and painter. In photography, Thomas has worked in multiple genres like fashion, lifestyle, editorial, conceptual, sports, portraiture and nightlife. Thomas uses his camera to capture the life and composition of the world around him. Thomas has been in multiple juried exhibitions including Jonathan Ferrara Gallery’s 24th Annual No Dead Artists and Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s Louisiana Contemporary, Presented by The Helis Foundation. Thomas’s photographs have also been exhibited internationally through Vogue Magazine’s “PhotoVogue,” a collection of photographs curated by the photo editors at Vogue Italia.
O What a Night! Gala raises critical funds for Ogden Museum’s exhibitions and programming. Come support the arts and culture of the South on October 21 while also joining us in honoring this year’s recipient of the OPUS Award, Luis Cruz Azaceta.
Purchase your tickets today!Learn More about O What a Night! Gala + Purchase Tickets