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Best Functional Art Installation 

Club Congress Stage by Daniel Martin Diaz

Staff Pick

Daniel Martin Diaz is a nationally established visual artist who often combines the Catholic imagery of his upbringing with sepia-toned gothicisms creating dramatic, moody pieces of elegiac beauty. He is frequently commissioned for various projects, including an album cover for the Christian goth-rock band POD, fixtures and design elements for New Orleans hotels that are currently being rebuilt, and for the elaborate shadow box that he created to be the stage at Club Congress. Made with cutout steel that resembles wrought iron (like the gates to a cemetery) with translucent pillars that are lit from within, Diaz's Congress stage is the perfect complement to much of what transpires at the venerable club, although with the stage configured as it is, one is sometimes left feeling somewhat removed from the music, which can seem a little boxed in by the imposing proscenium. But that seems to be a meager toll to pay for the transformation of the Club Congress interior from ordinary to iconic.

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