BATON ROUGE, La. (press release) – The Louisiana Office of Cultural Development’s Division of the Arts announces the release of applications for the Louisiana Cultural Districts program. The application period opens Friday, May 15, for any municipal or parish government to apply for a specific geographic area to be considered for designation as a Cultural District. Additionally, current eligible Louisiana Cultural Districts will be able to apply for a boundary expansion. The deadline to submit applications is Saturday, August 1. New for 2020, all applications will be completed and submitted through a new Cultural Districts portal, louisianaculturaldistricts.org.
“The arts are a vital connection to our past, and through the Louisiana Cultural District program we can use that connection to incentivize cultural development within our communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Louisiana’s cultural districts have proven to be an excellent economic development tool for many cities in our state, benefitting both the local government and developers in these areas.”
The proposed cultural district must be geographically contiguous, distinguished by cultural resources, focus on an existing cultural anchor, be engaged in the promotion/preservation/educational aspects of local arts and culture, contribute to the public through interpretive and educational uses, and encourage opportunity for affordable artist housing and workspace.
Statewide, there are 106 cultural districts, representing 67 towns and cities in 38 parishes. Communities with designated cultural districts benefit from two, targeted tax incentives – rehabilitation of older buildings may qualify for state historic tax credits and the sale of qualifying works of original art sold within the district are exempt from local sales tax.
Created by Act 298 of the 2007 Regular Session, the Louisiana Cultural Districts Program’s primary goal is to spark community revitalization based on cultural activity through tax incentives, technical assistance, and resources. The Louisiana Cultural Districts Program is considered a “place-based” cultural economy initiative and are defined by the Americans for the Arts as a “well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area of the city in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilities serve as the anchor attraction.” Each one is a unique and distinct reflection of local heritage, history, and cultural development.
To gain access to the Louisiana Cultural Districts portal and submit an application, visit louisianaculturaldistricts.org. To view the application guidelines, program implementation guidelines, or procedures to apply for boundary changes, visit the Louisiana Cultural District’s forms and applications webpage.