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A portrait of a creative space: George Dunbar

Editor's Note: NolaVie is launching a new series to photographing and exploring the spaces of the creative minds that fill this city. Photographer and writer, Folwell Dunbar, is heading into studios around the city to capture images and investigate the stories that lurk in the spaces. If you have recommendations for artist's studios, please contact Folwell Dunbar ([email protected]). First up is Dunbar Studio.

Dunbar Studio

George Dunbar (who happens to be my dad) has been showing art in the city since the 1950’s. Over the years, he dreamed up his ideal studio. In the 1990’s, he finally had an opportunity to build it. It’s a metal-framed building with high ceilings and a concrete floor. It has tremendous windows and numerous skylights to allow in natural light. The studio has plenty of storage for tools, materials, paintings and sculptures. It also has a loft apartment, just in case inspiration strikes late. It matches his nearby house, and it blends in with the surrounding property. It overlooks the bayou and acres and acres of pristine, ever-changing marsh and swamp.

My dad was preparing for an October show when Katrina hit in 2006. The storm tore his studio in half and washed out most of his work. It also devastated his house and the property. He was 78 at the time.

When he returned to the property and saw the ruins, he defiantly said, “I can bring it back!”

And he did! He’s probably in his studio now working on a new piece…



George Dunbar is represented by Callan Contemporary on Julia Street. The New Orleans Museum of Art is having a major retrospective of Dunbar’s work in November. To learn more about the artist, go to http://www.georgedunbar.com.

Folwell Dunbar is a New Orleans educator, artist and survivor of many things, from roaches to German U-boats and heartbreak. He is putting together a collection of these short stories and survival tales called He Falls Well (his name is pronounced “fall well”). NolaVie is honored to preview some of those stories here. Email him [email protected].