Arts Council coordinates arts advocacy spotlight downtown

The following is a news release from the Arts and Humanities Council of SWLA:

During the noon hour on Friday, April 29th, those in the downtown area will find representatives of Southwest Louisiana's finest arts and cultural organizations performing for hand-outs and tips on the corner of Broad Street and Ryan Street as a public and proactive way to show our region's great need for arts funding from state sources. Staff and members from several organizations, including the McNeese Banners Cultural Series, the Lake Charles Community Band, Dancing Classrooms, and ACTS Theatre, will be dancing, singing, playing instruments, and performing tricks with open guitar cases and tip jars at their feet.

We've come to a crucial point in Louisiana's history as it relates to state cuts to arts funding. An overall 60% combined decrease is proposed for this coming year's budget as compared to 2009's funding levels. The projected funding for the Decentralized Arts Funding program, which allocates funds to all 64 parishes on a per-capita basis and which the Arts Council administers for the region, is a mere $56,000 for 2012 for Southwest Louisiana's five parish region. In 2009, the Arts Council distributed more than $155,000 to our region. Without direct community involvement, the arts in this region have an unstable future which affects both quality of life and the local economy.

We invite your publication to come be a part of this event. Without visibility, our goal of expanding the community's awareness of the vital importance of arts funding will not be accomplished. We anticipate a large turnout from local organizations as well as from the general public, and this will be a great photo opportunity for an upcoming issue. We will have informative bullet points on hand for reporters and photographers concerning the arts funding budget cuts and the economic impact the arts have statewide and regionally. Please let us know if you plan on joining us by calling the Arts Council office at (337) 439-2787 or e-mailing