From a beginning as a watering hole for the wealthy, through its transformation into an amusement and entertainment mecca for the masses, to its struggle for renewal in recent decades, an extraordinary array of artists have viewed Coney Island as a microcosm of the American experience. The exhibition brings to life the excitement of Coney Island, showing visitors how its magnetic world of attractions has become a touchstone for American mass culture and popular recreation. Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland opens September 1 at the Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.
Throughout the exhibition, artifacts display how the modern American mass-culture industry was born at Coney Island. The exhibition investigates the rise of American leisure and traces Coney Island’s influence on amusement parks and popular culture throughout the country. Photographs, ephemera, film clips, and hands-on interactives immerse visitors in the experience of Coney Island.
Louisiana’s Old State Capitol will host various programs in conjunction with the exhibit including “Dreamland at the Old State Capitol” a free event on Sunday, September 12, from 1 to 4 p.m. This family event will feature jugglers, ball walkers, aerial artists and more. An opening reception will be held on Thursday September 2 at 5:30 p.m. Dr. Karen Leathem with the Louisiana State Museum will discuss the history of Mardi Gras and how the carnival traditions have changed over time.