The New Orleans Master Crafts Guild seeks to revive the traditional building trades traditions of New Orleans and provide apprenticeship training for new generations of master craftsmen through the use of cooperative business practices.
The Guild pursues three primary strategies to realize this:
– Apprenticeships to train new generations of master craftsmen with the skills to earn sustainable wages;
– Capacity building for independent master craftsmen to grow their businesses through cooperative marketing, technical assistance, and employee training;
– Cultural engagement to promote the indispensability of New Orleans’ unique building arts traditions through demonstrations, cultural events and collaborations with high profile artists.
Apprentices receive high-level training in the architectural preservation trades from the region’s best master craftsmen. Two skill tracts are currently offered:
- Trowel Trades – ornamental and specialty plastering, masonry and tile setting and
- Ironwork – welding and blacksmithing.
Jacob Lawrence, Builder #4, Collection of New Orleans Museum of Art
“By creating sturdy structures, building tradesmen provide us with a reassuring context in which subsequent civilizing acts might flourish; culture commences from the sense of place that flows from their diligent command over mundane materials. The features that so delight our eyes flow from fine skills honed by years of customary practice. What they fashion for us is nothing less than the contexts of our daily experiences.”