02 December 2007

So Many Wonderful People in New Orleans

"Do you know what it means...?"

Here I am, the guy always so full of words, left a little speechless. I cannot tell you all how much I appreciate the tremendous support that I received after yesterday's unfortunate incident with the Grey Gangsta. In all my years in New Orleans (which has been nearly all of them), I have never felt more at home than with each and every one of you who came to give me a hug, pat me on the back, shake my hand, and what have you. Your offers of assistance is greatly appreciated and while I hope I won't have to burden anyone with all this, I may end up having to. Despite the unmanly and sheepish tactics of the number one adversary to the arts community, the day was a great success.

The sales of the artwork at both the art market and at the gallery (soft) opening at Ranger Dave's in the Marigny were good, but most importantly were the number of smiles I got to see. It's a nice & refreshing thing to know that so many people believe in what I am doing and in the direction that the movement has gone. People have said, when they connect my artwork to my face, "OH, you're NoLA RISING!" Well, yes, let me say that I may be the face of NoLA Rising, but NoLA Rising is not about Michael Dingler the artist; NoLA RISING is about each and every one of you in the city of New Orleans!

NoLA RISING began as one person, one citizen, who believed enough in his city to return after leaving. I wasn't gone very long because it didn't take me very long to realize what I was missing and what the rest of the country is missing out on. I cannot do justice to the spirit of our city with words, but all of you Who D'ats know what I am talking about.

The concept behind NoLA RISING was simple: If I could make a difference in one person's life that made them appreciate our city, then it was worth the great expense of encouraging a public art project. One smile from a person having a bad day, one moment of reconsideration from a person thinking of leaving New Orleans, one second of thoughtful reflection from someone who spends too much time in front of their television...then it was all worth it.

NoLA RISING became a self-fulfilling prophecy with each new person who commented how much they thought of what I was encouraging and the work that I was doing. Selfishly, it was my own form of therapy being back in the city, but most importantly, it was for all of us. For all of us at home, for all of us coming home, and for all of us who want to come home! I may the face of NoLA RISING, BUT NoLA RISING IS YOU! So, with that, I encourage you all to sit down with your kids, your friends or your self, and create at least one piece of artwork to put up somewhere that the public can enjoy. ART FOR THE PEOPLE!

The ability to make a difference is within each and every one of you, whether you are now in Houston, Boulder, Los Angeles or just right across the river in Marrero and from there, you can let people know about the rich cultural heritage of your home through public art.

Like our brothers and sister at DIRTY COAST say, "Be a New Orleanian, Wherever You Are!"

I would also like to add my sincere thanks to artists who trade pieces with me (example below) and others who are kind enough to drop off packages of paint and supplies. The random acts of kindness y'all bring 'round make a difference...Thank you and SALUT!

Michael "ReX" Dingler, Magister of NoLA Rising

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