Artist and NOCCA graduate Daniel Buckner Price left his mark around New Orleans in the form of murals, commissioned pieces, sculpture, paintings and other work. Price was killed in San Francisco on Dec. 19, 2003, while trying to protect his wife Sarah from an assailant. Shortly afterward, the Price family contacted NOCCA about holding the memorial service at the school. On Dec. 24, 2003, the ceremony was held at Lupin Hall, and the family requested donations to a namesake scholarship foundation in lieu of flowers. That has grown into an ongoing legacy honoring Price and supporting aspiring artists.
The foundation's annual Home for the Holidays concert presents an array of local musicians including many Price both knew and admired.
"Every year, being in the front and watching the performers is like being in Daniel's heaven," says Dr. Steve Price, Daniel's father, who organizes the concert. "It's the anniversary of his death, but it helps us celebrate his life. And it's a homecoming for a lot of people who are from New Orleans, and especially musicians who are on the road all the time."
The original concert featured Kermit Ruffins, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, the Rebirth Brass Band, John Boutte and others, and they return this year along with James Andrews, Amanda Shaw, Anders Osborne, Shamarr Allen, Stanton Moore, Rockin' Dopsie and many others. Irma Thomas performs at the patron party.
Daniel Price befriended many musicians during his three years studying visual art at NOCCA. Brass band musicians, Mardi Gras Indians and New Orleans street culture were common subjects in his paintings (a gallery of his work is posted on the foundation website www.danielpricememorial.org). Other works are on display around the city. Price created the bust of Sir Winston Churchill that sits in the French 75 bar at Arnaud's Restaurant. He painted some of the images that adorn the Jazz & Heritage Stage at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He also painted murals at Harrah's New Orleans Casino and other local businesses.
The Price Foundation awards an annual scholarship to one graduating NOCCA student to study at an arts conservatory, and there's an annual $10,000 grant to the school to support arts programs (covering studio fees, supplies, study at summer programs, audition trips and other expenses), says NOCCA director Sally Perry. The Price award is the largest of the dozen endowed scholarships NOCCA awards annually. Past recipients include Lorna Williams, Charles Chiasson Jr., Ariel Jackson, Jeffie Lanter and others.
The Price family has continued to support scholarship winners, staying in touch with the artists and buying their artwork. There's also an auction at the benefit, and in addition to items from New Orleans Saints Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, there's plenty of art, including works by the past scholarship recipients, and it all highlights the ongoing legacy of Price's love of New Orleans culture and artists.