Arts council improves quality of life

The Richland Arts Council is busier than people might think.

Last year alone, more than 60,000 people attended events held at the Richland Arts Center. These arts in education activities ranged from community performances sponsored by the group to hands-on workshops to teach students valuable techniques in the various arts.

Among the more impressive events were the Faustwork workshop in which students from area schools were able to participate in a movement and theater workshop using masks as the primary medium.

Students from throughout the region also had an opportunity to learns the ins and out of putting on a Broadway musical by participating in the Broadway Review held at the Rayville Arts Center in June as students performed and worked backstage on the production. Concert series such as performances by the Platters, the rhythm group InPulse and the show “Corey and Lisa ... With Love.” Also proved popular with students and non-students alike.

“We try to have a lot going on at the arts center so that we can reach a large audience,” Rayville Arts Center manager Wayne Hopper noted. “These programs go a long way toward introducing our young people to the arts.”

But, the events don’t come cheaply. During the past year, the arts council helped bring 16 professional artists to the area at a cost of around $14,000. This is in addition to funds used to work maintain arts parks, beautification and other local projects.

Next year, Hopper says, will continue the tradition with two concerts already planned and a drama camp in the works.

Pianist Vladimir Zaitsev is scheduled to perform two concerts for students in the 2008-09 school year.

“I am currently inviting schools to attend this Art in Education project, which gives our youth exposure to music, art, history and a talented musician and arts educator,” Hopper said. “He runs a school for child prodigies from underprivileged regions of the United States and may foreign countries.”

Hopper also plans to bring author, composer, musician and historian Bobby Bridger to the arts center in the upcoming year. An expect in the American west, Bridger impersonates Buffalo Bill Cody, singing songs and telling tales about Cody’s historical period.

There are also plans to conduct a drama camp this summer, allowing participating students to take part in putting on a full dramatic production.

Programs of the Richland Arts Council are supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council.

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