Rhythm Conspiracy Productions
An Artist and Worker Owned Cooperative Enterprise
Some of you may remember the New Orleans BLUES PROJECT ... it formed in 1998 as one of the first music and cultural economic development projects in the nation. During the nonprofit's brief existence (it dissolved in mid 2004) the project received the BLUES HIGHWAY Millennium Trail designation from the Clinton White House Millennium Council. The New Orleans Blues Project applied for the Millennium Trails designation for the Blues Highway, as a conceptual and physical trail running along the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Chicago, including communities from Clarksdale and Glendora, Miss., to cities like Memphis, St. Louis and Kansas City.
In conjunction with the Millennium Communities project, the National Park Service and the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the White House also established the Millennium Project, a compilation of arts, humanities, and cultural heritage, among other things. Twelve Millenium Trail designations were assigned to projects that best encompassed the theme, "Honoring the Past and Imagining the Future."
The Blues Project was formed to help provide artist support services to unrepresented roots musicians in the New Orleans region and along the way we also developed "Community Development Through Music", a program model for workforce development in non-performing aspects of arts, music and entertainment.
Shifts in the political and economic landscape that began with the election of George W. Bush caused the funding bottom to fall out from under the fledgling nonprofit, as his administration scraped Millennium Trails. This was compounded by the election of the infamous C. Ray Nagin as Mayor of New Orleans. Mayor Nagin consolidated the city's economic development fund, excluded any funding to cultural organizations, making grants only to a select few of his cronies.
Shortly after Katrina, there was a group of New Orleans musicians residing temporarily in Memphis, including some that had been involved in the BLUES PROJECT. We wrote a grant to the HIGHER GROUND Foundation to produce a CD as the New Orleans Rhythm Conspiracy ~ a name inspired by in part by both Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts and the late Wilbert 'Junkyard Dog' Arnold.
We received the grant and began recording DANCING GROUND in late 2006. During the process of recording the CD there was some brief discussion of reforming the BLUES PROJECT, but it was decided that a nonprofit structure was inadequate for what we wanted to do... and that was when the initial discussion of a cooperative or collective began .... so here we are now in 2014.
" The New Orleans Blues Project is a music and cultural economic development project. As a grass roots community effort founded on principles of inclusion, unity and community action, The New Orleans Blues Project seeks to promote communication, dialogue and understanding between diverse communities through awareness and appreciation of blues and roots music and its related culture and heritage.
Here at The New Orleans Blues Project, we believe that music can serve as a powerful vehicle toward meaningful social transformation and community revitalization. Thus, our mission is to promote and foster economic and community development through the music, arts and culture of the region. Through outreach, organization, education, and advocacy, The New Orleans Blues Project endeavors to involve, encourage and assist other organizations and businesses in the public and private sectors to participate in the implementation of community-focused economic development efforts toward fostering the development of a music business infrastructure that will expand economic, business and entrepreneurial opportunities for the New Orleans area and throughout the Lower Mississippi Delta region."
RHYTHM CONSPIRACY's mission is still basically the same, except we are moving forward as an artist and worker owned cooperative enterprise instead.