Fundraiser for NELA arts programs kicks-off Dec. 1

ARTvent is back for its 3rd year! The giveaway raises money for local arts programs through the NELA Arts Council.
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:40 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - ARTvent is back for the third year! Barry Stevens, the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council President, says the fundraiser started during the pandemic as a way to still raise money for the arts, but virtually.

ARTvent is back for its 3rd year! The giveaway raises money for arts programs through the NELA Arts Council.

“The arts are so important,” says Stevens. “They’re just in the fabric of our life, and it’s important that we support the arts both because it makes us feel good - you go to a symphony or the theater and you come out feeling good - but also the cultural economy is so important.”

Support has grown for the project, and they’re now in their third year.

“We have a lot of local artists that have donated pieces for this; we have over 100 donors,” explains Stevens. “They [the artists] are entrepreneurs. They are small business people, and they are part of what drives the economy. There’s a survey done about every five years and the city of Monroe is the only city in the state of Louisiana that’s participating in that and we’re partnering with them to do that, but the last survey that was done the cultural economy in the United States was in the 800 billion dollar range.”

Over a 12-day period, a winner will be drawn each day for special prize packages. The drawings start on Dec. 1 and end on the 12. When you buy a $50 raffle ticket, you’re entered to win thousands of dollars worth of prizes from living room furniture to ULM tickets and some getaway trips.

“There’s a wonderful night, Chef Clelie Stone from Lake providence will cater a dinner for six at the Neville House and there will be entertainment included in that,” says Stevens.

And this year they wanted to include a lot of trips that take people to places they might not have been before in NELA.

“There’s a lot of things happening in St. Joe and Lake Providence right now, so this was an opportunity to recognize them and get them involved,” says Stevens.

Funding goes toward things like their Brown Bag Concert Series in April and Oct. and their Start With Art Initiative last year where they gave out about 565 art kits to kids.

“We also do the Arts Awards, which is an annual event where we celebrate artists, art organizations, businesses, and now teachers,” says Stevens.

This year’s funding will also help them expand to their new offices in downtown West Monroe along with opening a gallery space there.

“We’ll showcase local and regional artists within Region 8 and we’ll change that out throughout the year,” explains Stevens. “We’ve never done anything like this before from our office because our office has been in West Monroe city hall since 1979.”

You can buy tickets on the NELA Arts Council website and check out what prizes are included in each package. Stevens says winners will be drawn on Facebook Live at 2 p.m. each day.

Happy holidays and happy ARTvent!