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Project Manager , SHREVEPORT COMMON
Shreveport Regional Arts Council
Direct Phone: (318) ***-****
800 Snow Street
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
The Shreveport Regional Arts Council provides educational and informational services as well as technical assistance to the artists, artistic organizations, and citizens in Region 7, Northwest Louisiana. SRAC serves as the officially designated arts ag ... more
Project Manager , Shreveport Common
Center for Community Progress
Louisiana State University
Manager Sales Development
Louisiana Creative Community Initiative, Community Liaison
The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking
Wendy Benscoter is the epitome of professionalism, with an easy going manner that makes the strategic process very easy! Our strategic plan is very clear and easy to facilitate due to the thoughtful process and personal attention that Wendy gave it!
"The goal for Shreveport Common is that artists are involved with stakeholders from the very beginning to design all aspects that make up an authentic, sustainable, creative community," Benscoter said.
"Success will be realized when artists can afford and want to live and work there; when it's a place where the community can 'stumble upon the fun,' because there's always something new and exciting going on; when bike trails, signs, walking paths, benches, lighting and crosswalks are all designed by artists, all lead to public art and programming that's always a surprise.
The goal is a unique community that is true to the history and character of the area, while being environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable, as well as creatively stimulating, vibrant, diverse and inclusive.
That's a tall order!
The artists who want to live and work in Shreveport Common have been a vital part of planning.
Among the needs expressed by artists are affordable private and shared residences, studio space designed specifically for artists, better alternative transportation and amenities and more commissioned and earned income opportunities.
"I've saved every response as far back as 2011, and we refer to them often," Benscoter said.
In addition to the recently restored Central ARTSTATION and the renovated Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium, many large projects are in the work for Shreveport Common.
"One and a third acres of empty lots at the nexus of Shreveport Common have been purchased by the city of Shreveport in a joint effort with Caddo Parish to create an artist-designed urban greenspace named Caddo Common," Benscoter said.
"Caddo Common Design is perhaps the first time artists have been paid to be a part of a park design team in Shreveport.
The park, with paths, benches, lighting, water feature, shade and amphitheater, will be one more example of how artists will change what is now a still-mostly concrete and nearly forgotten area to a creative cultural community."
"The city recently 'saved' the Arlington Hotel after years of neglect, and with the help of [Downtown Development Authority], it is undergoing a structural assessment with plans for redevelopment, perhaps as a boutique hotel with retail," Benscoter said.
The Shreveport Common Vision Plan proposes new fill-in buildings where currently exist mostly abandoned concrete lots.
The plan creates places for artists to live and work, new market places, galleries, cafes, fresh food markets and other amenities.
These ideas came from artists and the local community during listening sessions.
"Wilson's Corner is a proposed affordable artists residence, with adjacent work space for large scale art such as welding, glass blowing, and sculpture," Benscoter said.
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