BATON ROUGE, La. – 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 is now open. Any municipal or parish government can now apply to have a specific geographic area considered for designation as a Cultural District. Additionally, current eligible Louisiana Cultural Districts are able to apply for a boundary expansion. The deadline to submit applications is Saturday, August 1. All applications must be completed and submitted through the Louisiana Cultural Districts online portal, louisianaculturaldistricts.org.
“Louisiana’s culture doesn’t just Feed Your Soul, it means business for our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Our Cultural Districts have proven to be an excellent economic development tool for many cities in Louisiana, benefitting both the local government and developers in these areas. It is an economic tool that will be important for many areas as continue down the road to recovery from a rough 2020.”
Any 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 115 cultural districts, representing 71 towns and cities in 41 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. The Americans for the Arts defines a cultural district 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.