On Piety * 617Seven Large Scale Multidisciplinary Installations, 1 November 2008 through 18 January 2009
Artists' Bios

Jana Napoli was born and raised in New Orleans and continues to live there. Originally trained as a painter, Napoli is a mixed-media artist and a creative entrepreneur deeply concerned with civic and community engagement.  In 1988, she founded the internationally acclaimed non-profit arts and social service organization, YA/YA Inc. (Young Aspirations/Young Artists), and served as its full-time Creative Director for 12 years. YA/YA seeks to empower creative young people to become successful adults by providing educational experiences in the arts and entrepreneurship, and by fostering and supporting their ambitions. Napoli has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has received several awards for her work, among them, the Oprah Winfrey “Use Your Life Award” (2002) and a President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities award (1999). 

About Floodwall

Floodwall continues Napoli's long-standing dedication to the intersection of art and community-building but also integrates the themes of the unspoken and the unseen that are part of her own artistic preoccupations.

Floodwall is a site-specific installation created from 710 household drawers collected in the wake of Katrina. The first installation of Floodwall lined the Liberty Street Bridge, overlooking the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. Close to a million viewers witnessed the 250 feet of drawers, arrayed on the bridge like rows of tombstones. It has also been exhibited at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, and at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Floodwall appears in New Orleans for the first time at On Piety. This iteration of Floodwall is erected vertically, as a wall of drawers. It stands nine feet high, stretches 130 feet long, and reaches 20 inches at its widest. The wall refers the concrete floor as if it were a body of water, for it appears to sink into - or rise out of – the water’s surface. The top halves of sofas, tables, and chairs “float” around Floodwall, giving the impression of the water’s depth.

A Curriculum Packet [PDF] was created for school and museum educators to allow students to further explore Floodwall.


For the Contemporary Arts Center installation of Floodwall, Napoli created a configuration where two 8-foot high, 96-foot long paralel walls were installed together 3 feet apart. Because of its modular construction, Floodwall can be installed in a variety of room shapes and sizes. See floodwall.org for additional sketches and dimensions.


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