The four corners of Ryan and Broad Streets looked so much like the French Quarter in New Orleans with the entertainment the Arts Council brought out.
It was a demonstration - an artsy one - to raise awareness of the proposed budget cuts to the arts. In 2009, the Statewide Arts Grant program, which funds major arts councils and institutions, operated with a budget of $2.4 million dollars. However the 2012 budget recommends the 60% decrease.
Executive Director of The Arts and Humanities Council of SWLA, Matt Young, responds to the question of whether or not it is valid to complain of arts budget cuts when other issues seem more pressing, "Our local art groups function as businesses in that they use local media. They solicit local rent. They occupy local places and we are putting back into the economy. For every dollar that's spent on the arts in the state of Louisiana, there is a $6 return on investment - not to mention it's the fun stuff in Lake Charles."
Another demonstration goer was Judith Washington. She is the Executive Director of the Black Heritage Festival - a festival that happens each March at the Civic Center. She said she was elated about the event because it helps the community see where the funding actually goes and that their pleas of keeping funding is not in vain. Washington also suggests any supporters should write to their legislators.
The folks on hand were The Children's Theater Company, Lake Charles Civic Ballet, Dancing Classrooms (Korey, Dasha, Valeria, Reginald), Lake Charles Symphony, Banners Rouge Blanc, local Mime "Julie", Chris Sherman, Lake Charles Community Band, Black Heritage Festival and the Acts Theater.
The mission of the council is to expand, enrich and strengthen the diverse cultural heritage of Imperial Calcasieu.
Last word comes from Lake Charles Civic Ballet dancer, Ashley Eaves: