The check was presented by Heidi Ettinger and David Stock of Educational Foundation of America, a national program that champions the arts as an economic driver.
Such attention and funding from a national foundation such as the EFA, along with the recent Best Community Development in the Nation award from the National Development Council, are an incredible show of confidence in the work SRAC is doing in the 9-block area, said Sandi Kallenberg, chairwoman of the SRAC board. "We hope this type of national support will motivate additional local investment in and commitment to revitalization of this historic cultural district."
This is the third such grant the foundation has awarded to SRAC for Shreveport Common. The group supports the first infusion of the arts into the lives of residents of social service organizations, such as Providence House and the Volunteers of America's Lighthouse program, that reside in Shreveport Common, said Heidi Ettinger, chairwoman of the foundation's arts committee.
"We believe that Shreveport Common will become a reality when area artists make it their home, their place to live, work and play."
The grant will be used to hire Artspace Minneapolis to identify Northwest Louisiana artists who are interested in and have the capacity to move into the 9-block area. They would reside in single-family dwellings or lofts that incorporate artists' studios into the living space.
Meantime, SRAC has commissioned international Sound Suit artist Nick Cave to help area artists establish relationships with Shreveport Common social service agencies and their residents by incorporating his techniques and processes.
Area artists Heather Beauvais, Jerry Davenport, Karen LaBeau, Sherry Tamburo and Kathryn Usher are gathering residents' stories and interpreting them as artworks to be featured March 20 in Cave's production "AS IS" in Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium. The resulting artworks will include musical works, dance compositions and beaded blankets.