"Charity Profile: Works In Progress Louisiana"
Sherry P. Shephard, email@example.com 1:28 p.m. CST January 3, 2015
Name: Works In Progress Louisiana.
Mission: To provide financial and educational resources directly to creative professionals who live and work in north Louisiana.
Executive Director: Debbie Hollis.
Board members: Michael G. Moore, Robert Alford, S. Alan Dyson, Chuck Loridans, Debbie Hollis.
Signature event or fundraiser: Works In Progress connects donors with professionals in the cultural sector: performing artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, entertainers and literary, visual and culinary artists. Investors have the opportunity to engage directly with creative workers at the onset of new projects — supporting work that is fresh and experimental in nature and for which other funding may not yet be available. Funders, individually or collectively, may not be able to (or wish to) contribute the amount of capital required to sustain the creative sector. Through strategically managed contributions to Works In Progress, donors are able to change (through interactions with, and requirements from, creative professionals) how artists think about doing business.
To volunteer or make donations: Contact Debbie Hollis at Debbie@worksinprogresslouisiana.com or 751-8540.
Question: What services are provided through Works In Progress?
Debbie Hollis: Works In Progress supports adventurous, creative professionals with bold ideas through funding, counsel and career development services. Our funding approach helps artists working in all creative disciplines to realize their visions and build sustainable practices throughout north Louisiana.
Creative professionals are 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.
Works In Progress serves the following parishes: 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 and Winn.
Q: What is the one thing you hope to accomplish through your mission?
D.H.: We will teach creative workers to set goals, measure outcomes, work with investment capital and plan for the future while helping build a sustainable creative economy across north Louisiana.
Q: Where does the majority of your funding come from?
D.H.: The majority of WIPLA’s funding comes from individual donors and foundation/corporate support.
Q: What is one thing about Works in Progress that people might not know?
D.H.: WIPLA has already awarded three grants and is about to award three more — all in less than two months. Our private funding is necessary for cultural growth across north Louisiana because our region’s individual artists receive only 4 percent of Louisiana’s allocated arts funding. The remainder stays in south Louisiana or is awarded to bureaucratic arts councils.
Q: Do you work with volunteers? If so, why are they so important to your organization?
D.H.: Our board consists of community volunteers who have expertise in the arts, business and nonprofit administration. They use their vast educational and professional experience when evaluating proposals for project funding.
We also work with volunteers who provide professional business development training to creative workers. Academic programs for creative people generally do not include practical instruction in contract negotiation, grant writing and other skills necessary in maintaining a successful, sustainable artistic career. We provide these services at no charge to the artists.
Q: What are your most recent projects?
D.H.: We have funded three important projects within the past month: a December 2015 East Bank Gallery stage performance of “The Other Place” by Shrapnel Stage Company, a public installation created by the women’s art collective, “Omen Art”, and we provided support for professional web development and photography services for local author/creative consultant Mike Sledge.