About Us

The International Arts Foundation for 20 years has been promoting the benefits of cultural diversity and its impact on New Orleans’ unique culture. The International Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Ernest D. Kelly in 1987. The Foundation supports local community projects and economic development; and is committed to helping rebuild the City of New Orleans and revitalize the vibrant culture that New Orleans is known for.

The IAF uses traditional customs; music, dance, song and folklore to further culturally enrich the community. It reflects a perfect synergy of New Orleans, Caribbean, African, South American and European cultures. It keeps art, education and international exchange an important component of its work.

At the new Epic center the Foundation will start a series of shows, displays and cultural presentations designed to celebrate the expression of diversity through traditional customs, music, dances, songs, and folklore as well ascreate economic development platforms and provide opportunities to aspiring artist. The International Arts Festival is designed to promote unity via the irresistible appeal of music and arts.


Our Mission


Promote cultural diversity and global awareness

Implement cultural, civic, educational, and economic development programs to benefit the community

Increase awareness of the value of culturally diverse communities


Why Africa?


It is also one of the most advanced broad based industrial and productive economies in Africa. Strategically located with the largest coast line of the African continent, South Africa is a key investment location, full of rich vibrant culture both for the market opportunities that lie within its boarders and for the opportunity that exists to use the country as a gateway to the African continent.

South Africa has enormous potential as an investment destination offering a unique combination of highly developed topnotch economic infrastructure with a rich emerging market economy.

Key economic reforms have given rise to a high level of macro-economic stability. Taxes have been reduced, tariffs lowered the fiscal deficit brought under control, and exchange controls relaxed. Why not South Africa! The International Arts Foundation along with South African Investment Group have partnered together to bring economic development, promote culture and educational exchanges between New Orleans and Durban and with the country of South Africa as a whole.
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UMOJA stands for “The spirit of togetherness.”

umojaWith a cast of 32 of South Africa’s brightest and most versatile young performers, singers, drummers and dancers, AFRICA UMOJA – The Spirit of Togetherness, 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy Tour is a joyous celebration of dynamic talent, thrilling energy, great voices and sensual dances that sweep across the bright and vibrant South African traditional landscape.

Traveling on the beats of drums, from the dusty streets of Soweto to all the corners of the world’s best and biggest stages, AFRICA UMOJA – which in Zulu means ‘together’ – tells the moving tale of indigenous South African music and dance from the earliest rhythms to the current club sounds of kwaito.

Audiences all over the world have embraced the traditional love songs, lullabies and other musical expressions of rural life. They have also cried along in the city streets listening to music reflecting the pain of the migrant laborers and their families. The tale dances through sheebeens and the cultural melting-pot of Sophiatown. The heart is saddened by cold stories of forced removals yet the feet continue to stomp along with the explosions of gumboot dancing.

There are also the reminiscent sounds of the vibrant jazz that forced its way free from the constraints of the times. The international audiences will relate to names such as Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa) and the late Dolly Radebe, while a thread of gospel music running through the tale recalls the huge helpings of faith and courage. This saw black South Africans through some of the country’s stormiest historical passages.