Irvin Mayfield's Blog

Weekly Guests

Artistic Literacy Lecture

by KatieDeBruhl on Feb.20, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Please comment on Prof. Mayfield’s biannual lecture on artistic literacy.

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April 23rd: Jim Bernazzani, President of Youth Rescue Initiative

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.16, 2014, under Weekly Guests

As a graduate of Harvard University, James Bernazzani reported to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia on June 7, 1984. His career as a lawman and crimefighter has been stellar ever since.

Prior to coming to New Orleans, Bernazzani served as Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Division where he was responsible for investigations and operations targeting international drug cartels and other organized crime groups. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks against America, Special Agent Bernazzani was promoted to Deputy Director for Law Enforcement at the Counterterrorism Center, Central Intelligence Agency. During May 2003, he was again promoted to Principal Deputy Director of the newly formed Terrorist Threat Integration Center. At the time of his appointment as Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division, Special Agent Bernazzani acted as Deputy Assistant Director for international terrorism investigations and operations handled by the FBI.

His term in New Orleans led to numerous convictions against violent criminals and corrupt government officials.  As Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Division, Mr. Bernazzani led the FBI response relative to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  For his work post Katrina/Rita, Mr. Bernazzani was awarded the 2006 Presidential Award for Meritorious Service.  During May 2008, Mr. Bernazzani retired from the FBI after 24 years of distinguished service.  He then co-founded a new nonprofit organization, The Youth Rescue Initiative, which is a comprehensive endeavor designed to assist at-risk youth in the greater New Orleans area overcome challenges and achieve success.  Its mission is to create structured opportunities for positive growth in an effort to build character and discipline among today’s disenfranchised youth, thus improving the quality of life for all citizens of New Orleans.  He currently serves as President.

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April 16th: Stephen Perry, President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Under Stephen Perry’s direction, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has routinely been ranked as one of the top five CVBs in America and won multiple national awards for excellence in sales, marketing, public relations, branding, customer service and corporate relations. The New Orleans CVB is one of the largest economic development corporations in Louisiana closing nearly $2 billion a year in executed sales and carries responsibility for brand management, marketing and sales valued at $5-7 billion in visitor spending annually in New Orleans. Perry also manages offices in four American cities and five foreign countries.

Mr. Perry has won many national accolades for his work immediately following Hurricane Katrina in rebuilding tourism in New Orleans, becoming a regular guest on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg News, Fox News, NBC evening News and other national news outlets. He has been featured on the cover and in leading articles in many national trade publications. Under his lead

ership during the BP oil spill, New Orleans ended 2010 as the number one destination in the country for REVPAR growth (a measure of hotel industry success.) in 2012, under his leadership, New Orleans lead the continental United States in REVPAR growth.

In July 2011, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Mr. Perry to the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors. The board oversees the LSU System in the development of academic and professional programs of instruction, research, and public service, management of two medical schools and the LSU Law Center, the LSU AgCenter, the Health Sciences Center, works to increase opportunities

for students and enhanced services to the state and its citizens.

Mr. Perry recently completed a one-year term as Chairman of the Board for Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). DMAI is the international governing body of convention and visitor bureaus, dedicated to improving the effectiveness of 2,800 professionals from nearly 650 destination marketing organizations in 30 countries.

In 2010, Mr. Perry became one of only two urban destination CEOs in the country selected by the Obama Administration to serve on the 29-person U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and advise the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary  and the White House Staff and President of the United States on all key matters relating to national travel and tourism policy.

Mr. Perry also served on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in 2008 under the Bush Administration and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and is one of only two members asked to continue service with the Obama Administration board.

He served for three years as an Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $770 billion travel industry. He now continues his service on the board of directors.

Through Perry’s service with DMAI, U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, New Orleans has unprecedented representation in national travel and tourism matters. Perry not only has an opportunity to shape national travel policy, but to advance the cause of New Orleans, its assets, its attractiveness and value as a destination and as a center of best practices, and affords him routine contact with some of the Crescent City’s most important customers and partners. Through his participation on these major panels, the New Orleans brand is placed front and center in American tourism

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April 9th: Ronald Forman, President and CEO of the Audubon Nature Institute

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

A past president of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Ron Forman began his tenure with Audubon Park and Zoological Garden in 1972 as City Hall liaison. Made Deputy Director in 1973 and Executive Director in 1977, the major transformation of Audubon Zoo from an “urban ghetto” to an “urban Eden” was underway.

During the 1980’s, Audubon Nature Institute, Inc. evolved from the Friends of the Zoo organization and assumed operation of Audubon Park and Zoo. Plans were made, with overwhelming voter support, for a downtown park and aquarium. Woldenberg Riverfront Park opened in 1989 and was followed in 1990 by Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

The Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center on the West Bank of the Mississippi River opened late in 1993. An important component of it, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, opened in 1996.

Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, located in Eastern New Orleans, merged into the family of Audubon facilities in 1994. The Nature Center, devastated by Hurricane Katrina, operates the programs at the Audubon Wilderness Park located adjacent to the Species Survival Center.

The Entergy IMAX® Theatre, adjacent to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, opened in October of 1995, while phase II of the Aquarium, a changing exhibits gallery, opened in the spring of 1996. Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, located in the U.S. Custom House, opened in 2008.

Forman serves locally on the New Orleans Business Council, is Chairman of the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and the Immediate Past Chairman of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau. A past member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Museums, he is also on the Advisory Committee of Chimp Haven.

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March 26th: Alex Beard, Artist

by KatieDeBruhl on Jan.14, 2014, under Weekly Guests

Born in 1970, Alex Beard is a painter and author who has emerged as one of his generation’s most creative and successful artists.

Influenced to think creatively from a young age by his uncle, noted photographer, Peter Beard, and his mother, author and editor, Patricia Beard, Alex grew up in the NYC of the 1970’s among some of the world’s most interesting and influential people – Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and their Pop World cohorts were familiar faces in the Beard household.

Alex studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and participated in the New York Studio School’s Drawing Marathon.  His first solo exhibition was in SoHo during his early twenties.  Since then, he has had significant one-man shows in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and in cities as far afield as Hong Kong.  He is the creator of a unique style of painting called “Abstract Naturalism,” and is considered by many as a successor to the school of visual mathematicians championed by M.C. Escher.  Alex’s artwork hangs in public and private collections around the world.

Alex is also an adventurer. His extensive travels, and his desire to visit the world’s most untouched and often remote wildernesses have brought him on extended journeys through Africa, India, Australia, the Americas, and Asia.

Alex’s New Orleans studio, like his New York studio before it, has become the hub of an art career that has blossomed into more than just a creative endeavor; but also a successful enterprise.  Alex’s studio is open to the public in a way that encourages and fosters interaction between the artist and his audience.  Vanity Fair magazine singled Alex out as “… an accomplished artist, an adventurer and an accidental entrepreneur.”

Alex’s critically-acclaimed, best-selling Tales From the Watering Hole collection of illustrated children’s picture books, and his series of Impossible Puzzles for adults have become the inspiration for a unique body of products created to extend the dialogue between artist and consumer.  In addition to his books and puzzles, Alex’s original artwork has been transformed into an impressive line of successful products at the national retail level, including, journals, sketchbooks, art and activity kits, and games for both the children’s and adult markets.

A firm believer that art is a medium that should be accessible to everyone, Alex uses uncommon avenues to share the creative experience with people of all ages.

In addition to his exhibition and book tour schedule, Alex brings his Kids’ Day events to schools, libraries, museums, bookstores and zoos throughout the country.  Through his unique combination of story telling and art activities, Alex has had the opportunity to draw, paint, and talk about art with tens of thousands of children.

Alex and his family live in his adopted home of New Orleans, where he has opened the Alex Beard Studio, in the French Quarter, on the corner of Royal Street and Pirate’s Alley.

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