The arts are a unique and essential part of life in Southwest Louisiana. The arts complement and reflect the triumphs and character of a region. They encourage and challenge individuals from all walks of life to be better contributors in their communities. The arts also revitalize neighborhoods, create jobs, spur entrepreneurial activity, increase entertainment opportunities, attract tourists, improve quality of life and form the foundation of the world’s rapidly expanding cultural industries.
Southwest Louisiana is home to a growing cultural industry, which is rich in diversity, thriving nonprofit organizations and artistic programming. It boasts numerous museums and galleries, along with many venues for live music, theatre and dance venues. A cultural “gumbo” of sorts, the art scene in Imperial Calcasieu is exploding, and its citizens are enjoying its benefits.
The Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana is an epicenter for arts programming in Southwest Louisiana. To enrich all forms of cultural expression, the council acts as a hub of information and resources for artists and art-related businesses and organizations in the region. Recognizing that Louisiana’s cultural industry employs the second-largest workforce in the state, the Arts Council assists in the development of creative industries as a viable sector of Louisiana’s economy. The council is committed to strengthening the cultural foundation of Southwest Louisiana.
The council provides management for the Central School Arts and Humanities Center. Built in 1912 by noted New Orleans architects Favrot and Livaudais, Central School is now a cornerstone in the Historic Charpentier District of downtown Lake Charles. This 55,000-square-foot former elementary school underwent extensive renovations in the early 1990s to become the current Arts and Humanities Center. Home to visual artists, theatre groups, musicians, galleries, museums and nonprofit cultural organizations, Central School is a place for learning, growing and exploring; it is a cultural anchor in the heart of Lake Charles.
The Arts Council is proud to serve as an umbrella organization for more than 60 regional cultural groups, presenters and artist co-ops that compose Southwest Louisiana’s cultural heritage. Many of the arts and cultural organizations in the region are built upon decades of history, such as the Lake Charles Symphony, which is currently operating in its 54th season and the McNeese Banners Cultural Series, which draws in internationally-recognized performances and concerts and brings the world to Southwest Louisiana. With Arts Council support, these organizations bring culture and life to our region. For more information regarding the arts in Southwest Louisiana, contact the Arts Council at 337-439-2787 or visit www.artsandhumanitiesswla.org.