Honoring Mary Len Costa

by Lindsay Glatz

Today we honor Mary Len Costa’s 16 years of service to Arts Council New Orleans. Mary Len has left her mark on our organization and our community, as New Orleans public art collection is certainly the results of her efforts. Over her time at the Arts Council she has lovingly and tirelessly cared for New Orleans arts and cultural community with nothing short of a herculean effort.

Mary Len is the reason New Orleans’ public art collection survived after Hurricane Katrina, as she lead the charge to save the collection and spent countless hours working to recover and restore the city’s art collection after the storm. She also worked with staff to reimagine the Arts Market of New Orleans into the highly success monthly showcase of local artists in Palmer Park, that still retains an eight year streak as New Orleans favorite Arts Market.  She helped countless public art initiatives decorate our city from the fish sculptures in Festival of Fins, to the 18 post-Katrina temporary Joan Mitchell installations, and helped foster our relationship with Evacuteer to bring 19 sculptures marking hurricane evacuation sites to the city. 

More than that, she has been a personal friend and mentor, not only to our staff but also to the many artists she sought to support, promote and guide in their careers.  Today she retires from the Arts Council, to give renewed focus to her own artistic pursuits.  Her dedication to and sacrifice of her own craft in order to serve the artists of New Orleans is remarkable and inspirational.

We wish her the best in her creative journey. Mary Len, trusted guide, friend, humorist, culinary specialist, historian, arts champion, legacy bearer, and creative light, we thank you for all you’ve given. You will be greatly missed.