My Nola My Story: A Look Into Art Culture and Community


My Nola My Story: A Look Into Art Culture and Community




This is an interview with professor MaPó Kinnord, the art department chair at Xavier University of Louisiana and a successful New Orleans based artist.


Coming to New Orleans in the late 1990's, Professor Kinnord has been educating the students of Xavier University of Louisiana about the arts. Outside of the classroom, she continues her education by being a successful artist who makes an effort of speaking up for those who like her.


Leah Clark, Jamya Davis, and Blake Moore


My Nola, My Story via Youtube


Mass Communication department at Xavier University of Louisiana


April 12, 2022


Professor Mapó Kinnord


My Nola, My Story


My Nola, My Story 2002 edition




Adobe Premier, video



Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Xavier Exponential students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts.

Original Format


Mapó Kinnord 0:00
Good morning. Good morning. How are you? I'm doing well. How are you? I'm fabulous to be interviewing you. Okay. Yeah, it is really a beautiful day. Thank you for taking time to have this interview with us. So, would you do us the honors of introducing yourself? My name My name is Mapó. Kinnord and I am the coordinator or the chairperson for the art department at Xavier University of Louisiana. I've been here now since 1999. So it's been a few years and this is my dream job. Really. I get to I started off as a psych major when I was in school, although I was doing art since I was in high school. Okay, so you know, that idea of like, well, if I go to college, I need to get a job. And so I'm gonna major in psychology. You know, but it was like read the book, take the test, read the book, take the test, and there were some things about it. That is like, this is not really for me. I like the idea of some of the stepping right? Yeah, I mean, I did well, but art pushed more. So and I love them. I love doing it. So yeah.

Kinnord 1:25
They say why don't you go to art school. So I'm going to art school.

Kinnord 1:34
And I was by that time I was doing production pottery and working as a showing artists doing my sculpture because I was doing pottery and then I was always trying to figure out my voice as an artist. So I was you know doing it for a job and then doing it for fun.

And then after graduate school, I was like, Well, where am I gonna go? And there was a conference here in New Orleans, in Sica, the National Conference where actually it's the National Council for the education of ceramic art. And so

Kinnord 2:10
I came to Xavier, and I got to meet John Scott. And he was like, Oh my God, this guy's amazing. And Boyd Bennett, who was the professor at Xavier teaching ceramics, he was like, I'm ready to retire. And I'm like, Oh, really?

Kinnord 2:31
Opportunity. This is a really cool town. There's a really cool people here. The culture is so rich people are friendly. And alive. And so this is 1994.

Kinnord 2:44
So it was like, it was that was like, I'm here. So right after graduate school, I moved down to New Orleans. And in that time, somebody had gotten a job as a ceramics teacher. So I was working in other places. But I was hanging out with the I mean that Scott was so generous, I would come here and hang out. Just to learn from him because he was amazing. It was like getting another graduate degree right and he was so generous with his information. And everybody here was like, you know, super nice. And so the person that they had teaching ceramics didn't work out. And so when they left because I was much more versatile. I could teach art appreciation. I could teach drawing I could teach so having that versatility gave me actually, you know, a leg up. So when they left I'm and then John Scott knew me. He knew my work. He knew my work ethic.

Kinnord 3:48
And I jumped into this like, hey, yeah, so that that was in 1999. I've been here ever since.

Kinnord 3:59
You know, it's funny. There's issues of being a woman in the art field and there's issues of being black and a woman and so your your people don't necessarily it's not like your people just don't pay much attention to you. I guess that's what they is. They're not there. It's in some cases, it's a little bit of an advantage because, you know, they underestimate you on the regular and then they see the work and they go, Oh, okay.

Kinnord 4:32
So since I've, you know, my skills have always been the thing out front. And so the work has opened more doors for me than anything else. So people don't see me first. They see the word first. And it's like, then this becomes a non factor. Right. You know.

Kinnord 4:53
I think what happens is, in terms of press recognition, that's where there's not much going on. You know, I think oftentimes that you know, and part of it too, is is I'm not as interested in advertising myself, because I don't feel the need to. I've always been able to do what I want. And so I've been able to sell the work, I've been able to do the work. So it's funny because you can be successful and not famous. You know, you can be respected in your field.

Kinnord 5:39
The people in your field know who you are.

Kinnord 5:44
Billing your field respect with you do, and to me, that's, you know, that's what I've, you know, that's what what's important to me. Having your name and books and all the rest of that stuff. I guess some people you know, that's nice. But there's so much politics. And this is this is not just for, you know, this goes for white people too. It's like the politics of getting in those books. has more to do with in some cases who you know, the culture, you know, the obvious connections, the obvious connections with our African roots, and some of the some of the things in the aesthetics of the culture has been able to shine through. Like I make big connections between New Orleans in Ghana, in West Africa, which is where I did my regret some of my graduate research, right. And God is like considered one of the most friendly countries in Africa, you know, where people really are friendly and that's, you know, here you know, people say good morning, people, you know, and you'd be you know, how, so

Kinnord 7:02
that's, you know, that's, that's something that I appreciate. The other thing is, you know, some of the second line tradition, which is again in Ghana, I went to a celebration in Guyana, and it was like the umbrellas, the bands, the second line, everything it was like, we're so you know, those connections, they feel good to me. You know, they just feel when you say the arts community, there's so many layers of it. Because there are people who have never gone to school for art and maker and can feel free to make art which is really refreshing, like all the black Indians and that tradition of you know, all of that. So in and before, you know, it's just amazing art.

Kinnord 7:54
So you have that and then you have organizations like Ashe Cultural Center. I don't know if you know about Ashe. Oh my goodness, you guys get a good kick out of this. I think it's a central city. And it's an amazing place where, you know, people celebrate the arts, theater, the visual arts, you know, education on a number of different levels of lectures and talks and stuff, so check out Ashe um, there's a YAYA. Which is another organization where young aspiration to young artists or young artists, for Xavier students, as high school students, go to yeah, go to Yeah, yeah, they come to Xavier, come to the art department, get a degree and then go back and then they got jobs. Uh, yeah. So this like, you know, as coordinators as teachers, it's it.

Kinnord 8:56
So, you know, that's been a really important program. That's been around for over 30.

Kinnord 9:03
And then there's goodness seriously, Joan Michell Center, which has visiting artists programs that have brought hundreds of artists to New Orleans to work for a while and we've had some of those artists use common use our facilities because they don't have a kill over there. So we get basically free get started in cases because they provide them a place to live.

Kinnord 9:33
And they're, you know, they've been able to exchange information that's changed since COVID. But oh, goodness, and then there's the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and New Orleans Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Center and then one of the most important things is that we have prospect prospect New Orleans. Which is every three years. There's a big arts. triennial, it's kind of like they bring in again, they bring in well over one, at least 50 artists through a variety of different exhibitions and local artists are celebrated and for usually about five months, like from November to February and sometimes they're only going in that October. It's you know, people come from all over the world literally come to New Orleans to see a number of different exhibitions so that we're engaging with two sculpture that was in prospect is now at the New Orleans Museum of Art. There was a piece of cluster size that was that's not where Jackson Lee circle is. So there's, you know, there's events that are happening in New Orleans. No, I'm you know, it's like it's happening, people. I hate it when people talk about starving artists. It's like I'm bringing this back.

Kinnord 11:07
Yeah, if you're good, you know, there is a market out there for you to be able to be successful. You know, when I use Scott, the son of John skeptism, working artists and doing his stuff turns out for him you know, he's been an incredibly successful artists. You know, we've got tons of people Martin painting, sculpture he taught in southern we've got an ex biology student who decided to change majors and focus she decided to focus on sculpture. The C's teaching, you know, I tend to say, so, I mean, you know, yeah, and save your soul. Augustus Jenkins, who graduated from satan and he went, got his master's degree and now he's back here teaching full time. So you know, we we got I can talk about how Yeah, yeah, going on.

Kinnord 12:04
You know, we're proud of the work that we do with our students, because we make sure that they know, you know, what they need to know, to be able to go on and have a successful career.


12:10 (12 minutes, ten seconds)


Leah Clark, Jamya Davis, and Blake Moore


Dr. Shearon Roberts


Date Added
April 13, 2022
Item Type
Moving Image
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Leah Clark, Jamya Davis, and Blake Moore, “My Nola My Story: A Look Into Art Culture and Community,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed March 2, 2024,