SHREVEPORT COMMON “rose like the Phoenix” from blight to the promise of an Arts-Driven Cultural Community when a devastating fire burned the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) offices to the ground in 2009. Before the flames were out, Mayor Cedric Glover declared a new day for the Arts! He offered the historic 1922 Central Fire Station – moving SRAC “from the fire to the fire station” – contingent on: 1. SRAC raising the funds for the restoration and re-purposing of the fire station. (Update: With $4.5M in mostly privately-funded renovations, Central ArtSTATION is complete and officially opens February 2013!); 2. SRAC creating an Arts Resource Center to develop the Entrepreneurial Capacity of artists and Arts organizations, creating a cultural economy for Shreveport. (The Arts Entrepreneurial Training Program, with Arts Council of New Orleans, was successfully launched in the Fall 2012 earning the state’s first Cultural Economy Foundation “Promoting Arts Entrepreneurialism” award.); 3. SRAC leads the revitalization of the blighted 9-block area surrounding Central ArtSTATION through programming and development that puts the Arts at the helm creating a vibrant Cultural Community. (After a year-long Arts-Led, Community-Engaged, Vision Planning Process (see add link…) SHREVEPORT COMMON has moved to the Strategies and Implementation Phase with half of SHREVEPORT COMMON’s 36, community-changing Public/Private Revitalization Projects designed, funded, begun, or completed as of January 2013.)
Over $100M in planned private and public projects combine with Public Art and innovative Programming, Development, Entrepreneurial Opportunities and Transportation: The block-long, CommonLink transportation and information hub, “Line and Sky” (O’Connell+Hancock) is designed and awaiting funding for construction. Artists’ envisioned Retail and Residential Market-Value and Mixed-Use Developments have attracted serious investors. Warehouse space has been identified for Artists’ studios. Neighboring social service organizations are excited and doing their part to create this new Cultural neighborhood created on Authenticity, Sustainability, Creativity and Community. SHREVEPORT COMMON is at the nexus of change; from refurbishing the renowned Municipal Auditorium where Elvis built his career and saving/re-purposing some of the state’s most significant architecture, to turning abandoned concrete slabs into programmable parks and green spaces with art-designed bike paths, racks, benches, lighting, and signs. 2013 will continue to be “full speed ahead” including SRAC’s plans for UNabashed, UNexpected, UNpredictable “UNSCENE!” monthly outdoor programming in surprising spaces with Academy Award winner Brandon Oldenburg, resident artists and a team of regional and local artists adding the “vim, vip and verve” to this new Creative Place!