Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

No ‘Moon’ this year

The ghost of Sallie Baker will be taking a break this year as Moon Over Minden at the Farm has been cancelled.

According to the board of directors of Cultural Crossroads, the sponsoring organization does not have the funds to produce it.

"This was one of my favorite events," said Chris Broussard, Chairman of the Board. "It's been a really scary year and not in a fun Halloween kind of way."

The ghost of Sallie Baker and her ghouls will sit this one out and hope for a better year in 2012. State budget cuts to the arts, coupled with the slow economy led the board of Cultural Crossroads to cut some of their programming.

"We've had to tighten our belt and make some tough decisions about what areas to cut," Broussard said. "We're hopeful that 2012 will be a better year and we can bring old Sallie back."

Cultural Crossroads is one of many arts organizations across the state that had to adjust their budgets and programs due to deep cuts in state funding to the arts.

"We're a little concerned about our annual Spring Arts Festival, too," Broussard said.

Cultural Crossroads was recently awarded a $4,000 grant from the state Decentralized Grants Fund, which was approximately half of what the organization has received in previous years.

A $7,500 grant from the Webster Parish Tourism office helped to offset this year's festival.

"We will be sponsoring a fund-raiser early next year in hopes of raising the additional funds so we can continue our three-day arts festival," Broussard said. "Right now, we can only afford one day of the three-day festival."

The Spring Arts Festival, now in its 18th year, has been known for bringing the arts to area school children.

"With no arts curriculum in the public schools, aside from the Gifted and Talented program, the Spring Arts Festival has been filling that void and bringing many of our children their first real art experience," Broussard said.

Cultural Crossroads' annual budget of nearly $100,000 doesn't include any paid staff. The 19-year-old organization has operated without an executive director so that 100 percent of their contributions could go toward programming.

Broussard said a quarter of their annual budget comes from support by the Webster Parish Police Jury, while another quarter of their support comes from local corporations and businesses and the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Earned income generated from admission fees to their events and grants make up the other half of their annual budget.

Cultural Crossroads has been successful in bringing to the parish more than a million dollars in state and federal grant dollars over their nearly 20-year existence.

The organization is writing more grants than ever this year and their future plans for the Farm will include projects that will offer more earned income opportunities to ensure the Farm's future sustainability.

"Our four-acre Farm has so many rich resources, and we're hoping to tap into those resources in the future so our community's children can enjoy the benefits of creative expression and intellectual refinement for years to come," Broussard said.

To learn more about Cultural Crossroads of the Farm or make a donation visit their website at www.artsinminden.com.






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