Shreveport Regional Arts Council

Funding Received: 2013
Shreveport, LA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 3, 2013

UNSCENE! at Makers Fair fills up with a full day of fun in Shreveport Common

UNSCENE! is underway with two events under our belts. The event series is gaining momentum as more artists and members of the community are becoming more involved each day.

The Northwest Louisiana Artists’ Directory a free, public database of artists living in northwest Louisiana, has experienced a spike in membership with artists are signing up. Having an active profile on the Directory is a prerequisite for participating in UNSCENE!, and it’s also a gateway for artists to have better access to resources, career building opportunities, and other artists and non-artists in the region.

Since UNSCENE! began in October, it has provided a plethora of opportunities for hundreds of artists to share their talents and skills with new audiences in new ways and in new venues.

The November UNSCENE! audience experienced a different side of musical theater with “Rush to Die: A New Musical,” co-created and written by Costas Dafnis (Music & Lyrics) and Austin Price (The Book), with original art by Matt Rainwater. The troupe of producers, actors and musicians unveiled “Rush to Die: A New Musical,” a comedic story of two boys who scheme to solve their debt problems by capturing author Salman Rushdie. The company performed the first act of the two act play, explaining to the audience that the work is still in progress. More than 100 audience members were given the chance to engage in a discussion about the production and offer their feedback, which will be used to shape and complete the play. The Shreveport-based group will present the final product at the New Orleans Fringe Festival in late November.

“UNSCENE! gave the production a receptive audience with an interest in new work and progress,” Dafnis said. “We were happy to have that. With support and the funds from UNSCENE!, we are able to go to the New Orleans Fringe Festival.”


“Rush to Die: A New Musical” premieres at UNSCENE!

Dafnis plans to return to a future UNSCENE!  to perform the completed musical, allowing the audience to witness how their feedback contributed to the final product.

“It allowed us to generate a local buzz,” he said. “We packed it out. It was exciting for us. We didn’t expect that many people-- those who we didn’t know us—to give it a chance.”

Recent Wins
It’s an understatement to say that UNSCENE! has been a success for Shreveport Common and the surrounding area. So far more than 30 artists have been commissioned to create original work and/or perform in an UNSCENE! event. More than $25,000 has been paid to these artists. More than 250 artists have had vendor booths in the UNSCENE! arts market. More than 260 artists are members of the NWLA Artists’ Directory, with more joining each week.

In an effort to shed light on the greatness that already exists in Shreveport Common, UNSCENE! partnered with the Texas Avenue Community Association Makers Fair in November. The three year old biennial artist/crafter market blossomed from about 100 art vendors to more than 260 art vendors. Together, UNSCENE! and Makers Fair also spawned unexpected, unstaged entertainment that could be stumbled upon by just walking down the blocks, through the buildings, or across the parking lots. Dance troupes, fire performers, break dancers, poets, DJs, bands, parades, live art creations, hands on art activities, exercising and more were all within arm’s reach.

Singer and songwriter Julieann Banks performed her original songs during the day events and evening Drive-In Movie Theater. By day she was a staged performer, and at night she became a roaming performer, belting out songs while playing her acoustic guitar as she walked between cars at the Drive-In during movie breaks. The unstaged performance allowed Juliann to interact with the audience, who joyously made song requests and purchased her CDs.


Singer/Songwriter Julieann Banks strums original works for UNSCENE!

“I moved back to Shreveport from Austin and was excited to know that Shreveport was putting on things like UNSCENE!” Banks said. “It was growth. I wanted to be a part of it. People think that Shreveport is all about casinos, so it is very encouraging to see them seek out original music. There was lots of support and it was encouraging. I can’t wait to write and perform more music,” she said.

The UNSCENE! Management team understands that each month brings a different experience and an abundance of lessons. To succeed means becoming fluid to changes and receptive to the needs of the community and artists.  We remain undeterred. At the end of UNSCENE! we asked the participating artists to fill out an evaluation about their experience. This feedback will help steer us in the right direction for upcoming UNSCENE! events as we work to provide artists with everything they need to advance and share their artistry.

Artists are submitting highly creative art proposals to produce at UNSCENE! Through these art proposals we are able to see what artists want to have in developing arts district Shreveport Common. The buzz about UNSCENE! is also growing and has sparked new excitement in the community. Through verbal communication and social media, the public is also sharing feedback on what they would like to see in Shreveport Common.

What’s next for UNSCENE!? Visit www.unsceneshreveport.com to find out!