Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne presented the Shreveport Common Team with the award for most outstanding Cultural District in the State, at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge this week.
The Louisiana Cultural District Program was created in 2007 and presently 75 districts boast official designation in the State. The Cultural District award recognizes projects that exemplify the “strategic use of creativity, arts, and culture to build a climate for cultural expression, improve quality of life, enhance existing assets and strengthen economic opportunity while respecting the quality of the area.”
Left to right: Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, SRAC Executive Director Pam Atchison, SPAR Director Shelly Ragle, DDA Executive Director Liz Swaine, SRAC Community Development Director Vickie Marshall, Shreveport Common Administrator Esther Kennedy, SRAC President Henry Price, Shreveport Common Lead Designer Gregory Free, Senator Barrow Peacock. (Not pictured: Shreveport Common Project Manager Wendy Benscoter)
Shreveport Common sits within the designated Shreveport Downtown Cultural District as a unique, 9-block cultural community. The niche neighborhood is home to the UNSCENE! arts happenings such as last Saturday’s Big SCENE!, the Municipal Auditorium, and Central ARTSTATION, among other historic and burgeoning cultural icons.
Shreveport Common is described by the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development as:
Shreveport Common is a nine-block urban neighborhood in downtown Shreveport that has undergone an arts-driven transformation through creative placemaking. This innovative Louisiana Cultural District has completely revitalized the blighted, sparsely populated area of downtown Shreveport with its Shreveport Common Vision Plan. In doing so, Shreveport Common has become a model for how to take a place and make it better with creativity. Its heralded work has garnered much recognition, from organizations as diverse as MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and Americans for the Arts, highlighting its status as a leader in Louisiana culture.
Following the award ceremony, Shreveport Regional Arts Council Executive Director Pam Atchison was invited to present to an audience of Cultural Workers from across the state on a Creative Placemaking Panel. Ms Atchison was joined on the panel by Jessica Kemp, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, Center for Planning Excellence, and the nation’s leading “guru” on Creative Placemaking, Ann Markusen, Director of the Arts Economy Initiative and the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.