Created by a group of arts entrepreneurs in Shreveport, Louisiana, Works in Progress serves cultural workers by providing start-up capital, project-specific funding, and business advisory support.
Board members created the new nonprofit to function like New York's successful Creative Capital. Creative Capital is a private foundation that has provided funding and career development services for creative professionals for 15 years.
Director Debbie Hollis points out, "Louisiana's Office of Cultural Development reports that only 4% their 2013 arts grants were allocated to individuals in North Louisiana. State funding is woefully insufficient to support our region's growing creative sector. By encouraging private sector investors to partner directly with cultural workers, we hope to bridge the gap between the arts and business communities. Our organization has engaged business professionals to teach cultural workers about sustainable practices, while we work to educate our communities about the economic and social benefits that result from a thriving creative class."
Works in Progress board members are artists, businesspeople, professors, and seasoned nonprofit administrators. They include Robert Alford, Chuck Loridans, Michael G. Moore, Jeff Toms, Alan Dyson and Debbie Hollis.
Unlike government-subsidized arts agencies that are often involved in creative placemaking, fulfilling federal and state grant requirements, lobbying elected officials, and funding burdensome administrative costs, Works in Progress is focused on one objective: launching successful creative careers in North Louisiana.
Works In Progress will consider funding requests from people and organizations that transform cultural skills, knowledge, and ideas into goods, services, and events. Our core cultural segments include design, performing arts, music, film, entertainment, literary arts and humanities, visual arts, and culinary arts.
Cultural workers living in the following parishes may apply: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, Desoto, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Tensas, Union, Webster, West Carroll, or Winn.
Projects that may be considered for WIPLA funding include, but are not limited to:
- Producing new/original works of art
- Implementing fundraising activities, educational programs and other
- Building or redesigning a website
- New theater productions/tours
- Paying theatre/music/dance performers
- Publishing/distributing an original book/printed work
- Documenting/conserving/preserving/archiving important work
- Archiving and transferring important collections
- Creating work for/with new/diverse audiences
- Emergency funding for pre-approved administrative or financial needs
- Facilitating innovative collaborations
- Engaging diverse community audiences in exploring controversial and uncomfortable topics, and building cross-cultural understanding
- Developing valuable arts-based internships, apprenticeships, and education/training services both inside and outside the cultural community
- Funding residencies, exhibits, and relevant training for creative professionals
- Shipping/transporting works to an out-of-town exhibit or event
- Taking a class to learn important new skills
- Paying fees
- Purchasing equipment/supplies
Shrapnel Stage Company, a theatre group based in Shreveport, is already receiving support from Works in Progress to produce "The Other Place," a Broadway play by Sharr White. Performances will be held in December 2015, at East Bank Theatre in Bossier City, Louisiana.
"We are currently soliciting funding support from venture capital investors and non-traditional grant sources. 100% of our revenue will be reinvested in the creative community," says Director Alan Dyson.
Works in Progress donors will have the opportunity to engage with creative workers at the onset of new projects - supporting work that is fresh and experimental in nature, and for which other funding is not yet available. Creative professionals have the opportunity to apply for year-round project funding, and will gain access to meaningful career advice from seasoned professionals.
Works in Progress Louisiana is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
For details about donating to Works in Progress, and/or applying for funding, please visit our website at www.worksinprogresslouisiana.com.
Director Debbie Hollis can be reached at 318.751.8540.