LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The McNeese Banners Series is set to kick off its first performance of the season this Saturday.
A ventriloquist, jazz musician, blues singer and a string quartet are just a few of the more than 20 artists heading to Lake Charles.
"We try to offer something to everyone," Banners director Patricia Prudhomme said. "You come and you're going to find something you like."
Over the past 21 years, Banners has brought artists and entertainers to the Lake Area. This year, they are adding an even bigger emphasis on arts education.
"The artists that come to us for a season also go into the local schools," Prudhomme said. "Part of our mission is to bring that material out to our youth. We want to encourage lifelong cultural movements."
The artists slated to perform also sign an agreement that they will speak to students at local schools.
"We know that being exposed to cultural opportunities increases test scores, improves behavior and it changes the way a child could learn the rest of their life," she said.
With budget cuts affecting education programs across the state, Prudhomme said art programs are always on the chopping block and Banners can help continue bringing arts to students.
"We go out in the community and raise all of the funds necessary to sustain the program," said Prudhomme. "So to us, it is our community that continues to make this possible."
Banners committee member Blake Soto said this season's lineup is something you do not want to miss.
"A good friend of mine spent some time in New York and we have people coming that he would pay hundreds of dollars to see in New York City," Soto said.
A year of planning is all going to pay off this weekend. The Banners Series begins this Saturday evening on the McNeese campus.
"I think 9 out of 10 people walk away learning something new or appreciating something they didn't think they would enjoy," Prudhomme said.
For more information on the Banners Series, click HERE.