This week's Art Talk Monday is written by Ed Pinkston, artist and retired LA Tech Art Professor. I’m pleased to have this opportunity to explain my support of the North Central Louisiana Arts Council. One obvious answer is that as a lifelong artist and art educator it is only fitting that I endorse my own field of
interest. But why Dawn and I have gladly supported NCLAC for over 25 years requires a more comprehensive response.
NCLAC’s direct impact can be measured by mentioning a few of its recent, widely varied activities: the Karkowska Sisters violin concert for the 6th graders’ performance by Old West singer/songwriter Bobby Bridger; regional arts exhibitions at the Crescent City Coffee House and The Dixie Center Lobby, and outreaches such as the Artmobile tours of Jackson and Union parishes. Adding to this rich variety was a talk and reading at Ruston High School by Louisiana’s 2012 Poet Laureate. These are but a few of the NCLAC’s recent activities, but to fully appreciate the breadth and depth of this organization’s involvement in the 5 parish area, you must visit their excellent website nclarts.org and click on such categories as Drama Warehouse, Summer Arts Camps, Arts Academy, Holiday Arts Tour, Peach Festival Art, School Show Partnerships, B & B Theatre, Community Outreach, and several others. Also not to be missed are the “fun” fundraisers such as Artoberfest, Pick your Picasso, Mardi Gras Silent Auction, and Keep the Arts Afloat.
Now, lets focus on some other equally important, but perhaps less obvious, benefits of having this organization as a thriving part of our community:
• Arts like NCLAC are a cornerstone of tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists; they stay longer and spend more than most other groups, according to a recent study.
• Therefore, arts programs are good for local merchants. According to Arts advocate Randy Cohen, the typical arts attendee spends a minimum of $25 per person, beyond event costs.
• A study at the University of Pennsylvania, states that communities with high concentrations of the arts lead a region to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child self esteem and lower poverty. (Also, have you noticed that publications which list the best places to live in America consistently cite communities’ support of the arts as one of their primary criteria?)
• Finally, in order for a community such as ours to truly prosper, it must prosper in ways broader than the usual definition; a richer prosperity comes about if the arts are understood to be an essential part of our humanity. The arts, of which NCLAC is a central component, are a vital part of what makes us human and help us realize our place in the world. For these reasons, and many more, please join me in supporting this wonderful organization.