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New Orleans Trivia

Who is this street artist who is promoting the positive message "Read & More" through stickers and paint in various communities?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All


Hey Blake,

Your article about Dr. Bob (News & Views, "Blake Pontchartrain," July 22) was very informative and sparked my interest in a similar subject, namely who is this street artist who is promoting the positive message "Read More" through stickers and paint in various communities?

Reed M.

Dear Reed,

  The street artist who created the works, particularly in Bywater, parts of Mid-City and downtown, has gone by a few different names, including Read, The Booker, OYE and Boans, but is most commonly referred to as The Reader. His paint- ed messages can be found in some major cities across the country.

  The Reader's works first appeared in New Orleans about five years ago. He uses many different styles of lettering and often uses the tags "Reader" or "OYE" on stenciled pictures of open books, skulls and messages in bold block letters.

  The Reader also is known for mixed-media installations using salvaged objects. He had a solo exhibition titled Mixed Dealing at Anat Ebgi gallery in Los Angeles last month, and Operation Madman, a publishing and distribution company, is featuring his work in a book titled The Reader and a booklet named Reader's Label 228 Zine.

  The messages promoting literacy that The Reader incorporates into his art are particularly relevant for our community, where the rate of functional illiteracy is 44 percent. The Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy has reported that 39 percent of Louisiana residents ages 16 and older read below a fifth grade level and 31 percent read below an eighth grade level. In January, the New Orleans Public Library Foundation kick-started its Turn the Page campaign, which has a goal of making New Orleans the most literate city by its 300th birthday in 2018.

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