Shreveport Regional Arts Council: UNSCENE!SHREVEPORT, LA
A skyline view of UNSCENE! Inside Out Project in Shreveport Common
What an unbelievable 2013! The Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s (SRAC) implementation of UNSCENE! has spawned, new partnerships, identified outstanding Artists, strengthened artist-audience relationships, and fueled the advancement of Shreveport Common.
As SRAC looks ahead to the fantastic feats we will undertake in 2014—continuing the momentum of UNSCENE!; developing permanent public art spaces in Shreveport Common; creating the design for Caddo Common in Shreveport Common—we realize that UNSCENE! is the glue that binds the Vision. Our “To Do” list is long, but with three UNSCENE! events under our belt, the Vision is becoming clearer and the goals more attainable.
The year ends with JR’s Inside Out Project on the Andress Ford Building in Shreveport Common. The Inside Out Artist team rolled into Shreveport in their signature photography truck, bringing the excitement level to a new high. The INSIDE OUT team, created by French Street Artist “JR” and recipient of the $1 million dollar TED PRIZE, is revered for the “large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work.” Inside Out has been documented, archived and exhibited all around the world. Over 120,000 people from more than 108 countries have participated in photography, printing and Unheard of sized paste up projects. Inside Out has traveled from Ecuador to Nepal, from Mexico to Palestine, inspiring group actions on varied themes such as hope, diversity, gender-based violence, climate change. (www.insideoutproject.net)
A joyous line of “Shreveport Commoners” wait to have their photo taken at the Inside Out Photobooth truck
With the Inside Out Project, UNSCENE! took an intimate look at the people of Shreveport Common through photography. Hundreds of people from the community and beyond—adults, children, social service organizations, city and state officials, tourists, and even Santa Claus—lined up outside of the Inside Out photobooth truck to have their picture taken and instantly transformed into large black and white posters. The Inside Out team and UNSCENE! Artist Residency Team worked together to paste up the posters inside and outside of the Ford Andress Building on the 700 block of Crockett Street in Shreveport Common. After three days of hard work from the teams, close to 1,000 awesome portraits now overlook Shreveport Common.
“The reception of the Inside Out Project in Shreveport Common for UNSCENE! was UNPRECEDENTED!” said Brandon Oldenburg, UNSCENE! Artistic Director. “If you want to know if anyone showed up despite the bad weather just check out the sides of the buildings! We have a permanent record of those who came out and got involved. “
Preceding the UNSCENE! event day, the Inside Out Artist team gave a very insightful Artist Talk at artspace allowing for the people of Louisiana to hear firsthand how the project has touched all corners of the world. “From London to Paris to Shreveport”– the special talents, potential and people of Shreveport are becoming even more so realized and revered each day.
On December 14, UNSCENE! goers were privy to a full day and evening of ongoing, original musical performances, storytelling, live art creations, an artistic “blazer” parade, hands on activities, film screenings, and hot food and drinks from local restaurants and food trucks. Although the skies were overcast and rainy and the wind whipped around us like a banshee, the mood of the crowd was high and the smiles were bright. Even when waiting in line for long periods of time to have their photo taken, the people talked, laughed and joked with each other. There was even an impromptu singing of Christmas carols and people were serenaded by spontaneous singers from the neighborhood.
As each month passes we are seeing a growing bond between the Artists, the Arts Council, and the community. The Artist Residency Team—Lisandra di Liberto Brown, Brian Buckner, Taryn Ferro, John Lomax, Kedrick Williams, Kristi Woodard and Robert Trudeau—is one example of this bond. Through this team, Artists are meeting for the first time, building friendships, and planning future project collaborations with each other. The Artists and others of the UNSCENE! team formed new relationships with the Inside Out Artist team. Much was learned from each during the days of working alongside each other in unity. In result, the arts community of Shreveport Common is budding and maturing before our eyes. This is a critical step in progressing this 9-block “Common” cultural community that is designed with Artist’s at the helm of driving and sustaining the vision.
“The other artists were great, I feel like we all took initiative!” said Taryn Ferro, Artist Residency Team member. “I think we all had something unique to offer to this project. I was proud of the team that was chosen; I believe we rocked it, despite the weather challenges.
“It’s not every day our community comes together, all sides of it. It really gave me a new hope for a better Shreveport!”
The Inside Out Artist team and the UNSCENE! Artist Residency Team work together to Paste-Up portraits
Reaching new Artists has been a challenge SRAC has struggled with, but we are now gaining ground. Standard publicity through the media has taken us far, but we know there are still Artists in Northwest Louisiana we have yet to meet. However, the implementation of UNSCENE! has opened up a new door. Many want to be involved in something so new and positive that offers great opportunities for artistic creativity and expression.
We have also found that the artists have become our good news partners. Artists working with UNSCENE! are so excited about their participation that they have unofficially become a part of our marketing team by passing out fliers, taking to their personal social media sites to promote UNSCENE!, and verbally telling people about it. They are reaching audiences that we hadn’t yet reached and bringing them into the fold.
Every week we are meeting new artists from all arts disciplines. These artists are calling, emailing, and “dropping by” the Shreveport Regional Arts Council offices to find out details on the artist resources, artist calls, and other background and opportunities offered in SRAC and Shreveport Common. They are creating and updating their profiles on the Northwest Louisiana Artists’ Directory and attending other events and artist gatherings between UNSCENE! events. And for our part, we’re aggressively engaging with Artists via parties, gathering, meetings, forums and social media. Many have expressed their new excitement for becoming active artists in the community and have a newfound “hope” for their career as artist entrepreneurs.
We are proud of the artists, management team, staff and all of the community’s residents, leaders, businesses and organizations who have come together to make Shreveport Common a great place to live, work and play.
“It’s crazy to think we are closing the year with three UNSCENE! happenings already under our belt,” Oldenburg said. “Nine more UNBELIEVABLE happenings to come. Steve Olson with his skate-able sculpture, Airlift with their musical house and a Giant Puppet Parade by Wayne White!”
For more information on what’s to come for UNSCENE! in 2014, visit www.unsceneshreveport.com.