Task Force Groups

Arts & Culture:
Our region is blessed with a creative spirit. Very few communities of our size offer such a wide array of museums, festivals and visual and performing arts. The richness of our cultural heritage is nationally known. We also enjoy two strong arts councils that support the arts locally: the Bossier Arts Council and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

Recognizing the key role that the arts can play in revitalizing the metropolitan areas of Shreveport and Bossier City, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) panel recommended that artists and art organizations in our region hold an arts congress to assess the state of the arts, build alliances and explore cooperative funding and marketing mechanisms.

Shortly after the preliminary ULI report was published, volunteers from a meeting of arts administrators formed a Steering Committee to decide how to proceed. The first effort, a meeting last fall of over fifty artists and art organizations, created an opportunity for the Arts Sector to build relationships and find common areas of interest. From that event many good ideas were proposed, including a common website, a calendar of events and even some meet and greet opportunities. Yet, the group still needed more focus.

This led to a second meeting in February to begin to develop policies that the arts community could use to inform other sectors, such as government and business, about the arts and how the arts can and should be a part of improving not only our area's quality of life but also its bottom line. Policies help create unity of purpose and a common voice. They help establish priorities for organizations and individuals. Policy is power.

At the February meeting, four policy areas were discussed: equity, collaboration, visibility , and education. And this was just the beginning. Over the next several months the Steering Committee will begin to sculpt policies from the meeting's comments and will present a draft to the artists and arts organizations for fine tuning at a meeting this coming June.

The Arts Sector has embarked on an arduous journey to create coherent policies that will strengthen and energize our arts culture and, ultimately, benefit both the quality of life and the economy of northwest Louisiana. Now that national focus is on our region through the film industry's overtures and other cultural economy initiatives, the impetus for this undertaking - and its reward - is even greater. Our local artists and art organizations are to be commended for their hard work and commitment. They have set a fine example for the rest of us to follow.

The life of the arts - far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is close to the center of a nation's purpose - and is the test of the quality of a nation's civilization." - John F. Kennedy

Paula Hickman, Chairman


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