Co-Founder of New Orleans Airlift / Artistic Director
Delaney Martin (b. 1976, Honolulu, Hawaii) is a multi-media artist. Her work often engages the historical and cultural specificity of people and places to create spectacular, immersive environments marked by frequent collaborations and performance. In 2008, she founded the artist-driven organization New Orleans Airlift with Jay Pennington out of a desire to give back and go back to New Orleans post-Katrina. Her work as Airlift's Artistic Director has led her to create even more ambitious, highly collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects. This rewarding experience has given her practice a deep commitment to the power of collaboration between artists and communities. Her 2011-2012 installation and performance platform, The Music Box, highlighted these values by bringing 25 artists, nearly 100 musicians, and thousands of visitors into a sonic shantytown of interactive musical houses for exploratory opening hours and nights of orchestral concerts. Subsequently she has created new editions of The Music Box in Kiev, Ukraine, and Shreveport, Louisiana. Martin continues to shepherd this growing project, while adding other projects to Airlift’s canon and working independently as an artist.
Shop Manager / Lead Fabricator
Christian Repaal (b. 1971 in LaPlata, Maryland), an art fabricator, bass player, building contractor, and sometimes art teacher, has lived in New Orleans since 1994. In his many years here Christian has forged deep ties into the local communities of visual artists, musicians, tradespeople, and educators. Both a mason and a carpenter he has been in the trades for nearly 25 years. In the last ten years, since attending UNO for history and fine art (1999- 2003), Christian has built quite a reputation as an art fabricator. Camille Henrot, Christopher Saucedo, and dozens of other museums and artists have utilized and appreciated his ability to communicate their visions through his handiwork. Most recently he has worked closely with celebrated artist Swoon to help her realize some of her more complex three dimensional pieces. Christian has, in his time, trained many young carpenters, masons, and would be sculptors in the proper and safe use of tools, building techniques, and use of materials; both on the job and in the classroom. For the past seven summers he has taught at Lusher Charter Schoolʼs Summer Arts Intensive Program, helping young artists gain new skills.
Managing Artistic Director
Jay is co-founder of New Orleans Airlift. However he is much more well known as his alter ego, DJ Rusty Lazer and for his work with the New Orleans bounce community of rappers and performers. Jay has performed throughout Europe, the U.S., China and Japan and created soundtracks for circuses, plays and performance art spectacles for the MOMA/P.S. 1, Deitch Projects and many others. He has co-produced several Bounce videos including Big Freedia's "Y'all Get Back Now", "Excuse" and Nicky Da B's "Express Yourself" (w/ Diplo) and "Hot Potato Style". Additionally, he has written about culture for major publications (Arena Homme Plus, Tank, and more), appeared in articles and videos about New Orleans culture for the New York Times, Spin, Bust, The Carson Daly Show, The Sundance Channel and dozens of others. His relationships with the world of fashion have also led to collaborations and events with artists such as Nick Knight, Rick Owens, Matthew Williams (Lady Gaga / Kanye West) and several clothing companies including Vans, Karmaloop, Ray Ban and many more.
Taylor Lee Shepherd
Taylor Lee Shepherd has been the lead sound artist for New Orleans Airlift since the inception of The Music Box. Shepherd, along with Delaney Martin and Swoon formed the very early collaborative meetings around building a musical house and has advised and influenced the process and the realization of the project. Shepherd has exhibited at numerous museums including The Museum of Curiosity in London, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and Art Arsenale in Kiev, Ukraine. Additionally, he has shown his work widely in galleries including Barristers (New Orleans), The Candle Factory, (New Orleans), L’art Noir (New Orleans), Gallery T (Denver) and Bereznitzky Gallery (Berlin). His work was included in the wildly popular Sequence of Waves show organized by the Rabid Hands Collective at St. Cecilia’s Church in Brooklyn and he continues to build new musical instruments and inventions with Airlift in New Orleans and most recently Shreveport, LA.
Director of Strategy & Special Projects
Alita brings over fifteen years’ experience in production, fundraising, publicity and events in the arts underground of New York City and New Orleans, with a key role in arts organizations such as Flux Factory, the Madagascar Institute, Swimming Cities, Rubulad, and the Boggsville Boatel. Her work crosses the fields of costume design, speakeasy, performative/historic circus and carnival tradition, hospitality, and trespass theater with collaborative group the Shadow Parks Department. She holds a B.A. in Clinical Psychology from Smith College and a Masters of Science in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning from Pratt Institute.
Special Events & Membership Coordinator
Syd Kleinberg's mission is to empower people to launch and develop their business through the intersection of Strategy, Events, and Marketing. Her career began with owning and managing an all-female Event Production and Staffing company in the Baltimore/DC area. Since moving to New Orleans six years ago, she has worked with a wealth of clients and community members to produce events, launch venues, and develop young and established businesses. She's thrilled and honored to join the Music Box family this Fall.
Special Events & Membership CoordinatorNew Orleans Airlift // Music Box Villageneworleansairlift.org // musicboxvillage.com
Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement
Eliza brings over 12 years of non-profit experience working at the intersection of alternative education, direct services, and program management and currently works independently for various organizations around New Orleans developing programming and curricula. She comes to Airlift with Masters in both International Development (Program Development) and Philosophy (Ethics, Critical Theory). Her work has largely been informed by a commitment to restorative justice and concentrated in the fields of sexual & reproductive health and criminal justice in New Orleans, DC, New York, Chicago, and abroad. New to the field of Art, she comes to Airlift with a shared interest in the power of collaborative, multi-disciplinary work and the process of maintaining and creating community in unconventional ways. She team joined the Airlift as a teaching artist in 2016 and currently leads the education initiative, manages open hours, and more.
Lead Creative Producer
Leah Hennessy is a vocalist, curator, and educator. As lead creative producer for the Music Box Village, Leah has collaborated with artists across multiple genres to shape one-of-a-kind, immersive concert experiences. Her creative practice combines tools of improvisation with jazz, blues and folk influences to play with and investigate the tension between traditional forms and experimental expression. As a curator, Leah’s work focuses on promoting pathways for multi-disciplinary collaboration and creativity—particularly as it relates to fostering local arts and culture. From 2013-2015 she was co-director of Gallery 263, a non-profit arts organization that provides a contemporary voice for the arts in Cambridge, MA through an eclectic array of public programs. In addition, Leah is an experienced music educator and has worked across multiple settings as a teaching artist, curriculum designer, and arts integration consultant.
Leah holds a B.M. in Jazz Voice and M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory, has three independent releases of her own (Talk Listen Door - Talk Listen Door, Leah Hennessy & Nicholas Morrison - Make Your Cozy Little Corner in the Bright Electrified World, The By & By - Some Bright Morning) and is featured on Anthony Coleman’s 2013 recording, The End of Summer (Tzadik).