By Pat Viser SRAC Publicist April 18, 2019

In April The Shreveport Convention Center becomes a bluster of activity and a burst of bold color as the Shreveport Regional Arts Council fills over 95,000 square feet of the center with Northwest Louisiana’s annual student showcase of visual, literary, performing, culinary and film Art, plus more than 50 S.T.E.A.M., make-and-take activities to celebrate the creativity of children of all ages and the chance to make some brand new “FriendsWithYou” during ARTBREAK 35, Tuesday, April 23 to Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Caddo Parish 2nd and 3rd graders start the ArtBreak week on Tuesday by gathering a full head of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) creating popular make-and-take activities using the Archimedes Principle, illustrating symmetry and asymmetry and explaining the work of wind turbines.  On Thursday, Academy Award Winning animation artist and filmmaker William Joyce introduces his newest FriendsWithYou duo, Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, to Very Special Arts Festival students who will draw and design an “Exceptional Friend” to live in Rainbow City in The Common Park which will anchor the downtown revitalization project, Shreveport Common.When Friday arrives and the family weekend begins, the Convention Center is bustling with student singers, dancers, musicians and performers; young film producers; emerging chefs; thousands of high school, middle school and elementary school visual artworks; thousands of poems, short stories, Haiku and other literary artworks; hundreds of banners showing the support of major sponsors; and several thousand proud parents celebrating the creative achievements of Caddo Parish students of all ages.  There is no break in the action during ArtBreak 35 with more activities, more student art, more new ways to create and more people than ever.  It’s the largest student arts festival in the south, and you don’t want to miss it.

“Our mission as a school district is to tap into the potential of every child in a holistic approach which encompasses not only the traditional academic pathways, but exploring students’ creativity through the arts,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Parish Public Schools. “As the state leader in arts integration in our classrooms, Caddo is committed to arts education and is proud to partner with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council for the 35th anniversary of ArtBreak. It’s time to move full S.T.E.A.M. ahead into one of the best events of the year and an art showing that is among the largest in the south!”

More than three decades is a long time for any festival to survive and especially to thrive.ArtBreak could not do what it does without the support of major sponsors.  These dedicated institutions include:  The Shreveport Convention Center,

Citizens National Bank                                  The Leonard W. and Betty Phillips Foundation

The Alta and John Franks Foundation           The City of Shreveport

McDonald’s/Griggs Enterprise, Inc.              Caddo Public Schools

Shreve Memorial Library                                The Caddo Parish School Board

Community Network, Inc.                             Union Pacific

Cosse and Silmon Orthodontics                    Capital One

KTAL-6                                                            Michael T. Acurio, MD

Prize Foundation                                           SPAR

Louisiana Office of Cultural Development   Caddo Parish

Because of the generosity of our grantors and community sponsors, outstanding student creations collect more than $20,000 in cash awards and students and families spend an entire weekend celebrating the success and synergy between S.T.E.A.M. events, Shreve Memorial Library, student master classes, Very Special Arts Festival, and so much more. 

Some of the newest activities and the highlights of ArtBreak 35 in 2019 include the following:

  1. The Shreve Memorial Library brings a new reading adventure to ArtBreak 35 with “The Wizard of Oz.”  2nd grade students from throughout Caddo Parish will experience a LIVE PERFORMANCE of this beloved children’s classic by L. Frank Baum performed by Hampstead Stage Company.  The children will then create a hands-on “make and take” experience to supplement and extend the performance experience, and teachers will be given a recommended summer reading list to keep the story alive for the students.
  2. Very Special Arts Festival (VSAF) celebrates the Art in everyone.  ArtBreak and the Caddo Schools Department of Exceptional Children, with Dr. Sheila Lockett, Director, have been celebrating artists with exceptionalities who exemplify possibility, excellence and unimaginable talent for 27 years.  On Thursday, during ArtBreak 35, 100 exceptional students will work with Academy Award Winning animation Artist and Filmmaker William Joyce and FriendsWithYou fine art collaborative team Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III to create the next new “Exceptional Friend” to live in Rainbow City in The Common Park.
  3. Hands-On S.T.E.A.M. Activities.  A special initiative grant from the Alta and John Franks Foundation keeps the S.T.E.A.M. rising throughout ArtBreak during the week for 2nd and 3rd grade students and on the weekends for all in the family.  More than 50 hands-on, make-and-take activities add “ART” to science, technology, engineering, and math programs in new and innovative ways to stimulate whole-brain thinking.  Pinwheels teach physics, flower gardens help with fractions and paper plate pterodactyls offer instruction on the four primary forces of flight.  These activities are some of the most popular of the Festival.
  4. FriendsWithYou fine art collaborative team of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III and Academy Award Winning animation Artist and Filmmaker William Joyce are striking up a brand new friendship with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, starting at ArtBreak.  FriendsWithYou will spend much of 2019 in Shreveport as artists in residence working with Joyce and Northwest Louisiana Artists to install Rainbow City in the City’s new 2.5 acre urban park, The Common Park, in the heart of the downtown revitalization project, Shreveport Common.
  5. Give for Good…Give for ArtBreak’s Exceptional Friend.  May 7th is the day that has become the largest day of giving in North Louisiana.Established in 2014 by Community Foundation of North Louisiana, Give for Good has raised over $8 million for our community.  The Shreveport Regional Arts Council asks that you Give For Good this year to help with the creation of the first-ever student designed “Exceptional Friend” to live in Rainbow City in the new Common Park in the heart of the downtown revitalization project, Shreveport Common.
  6. Culinary Arts Competition is the newest piece to ArtBreak when four high school chefs from the Caddo Career and Technology Center’s ProStart Culinary Arts/Restaurant Manager program will compete “chopped” style on Saturday, April 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to produce three entrée plates from a mystery box of ingredients to see who brings home the bacon and the prizes.
  7. Film Prize Jr. is in its 4th year at ArtBreak 35 and now has almost a hundred Louisiana student scripts and films under its belt, along with cash prizes of $7,000.  This year Film Prize Jr. is offering a new scholarship opportunity for the best film dealing with social media use and responsible student conduct.It is also introducing a new “Don’t Litter” Commercial Campaign in partnership with Shreveport Green.  FREE screenings are Friday, 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during ArtBreak.
  8. KTAL-6 ArtBreak’s Got Talent invites Northwest Louisiana student musicians, singers, dancers, comedians and performers from ECE to 12th grade to take the stage each year to compete for cash prizes as well as the coveted opportunity to audition privately with the producers of the hit NBC show, “America’s Got Talent.” This year the Talent Show is the highlight of the evening on Saturday, April 27, starting at 7:00 p.m. on the Citizens National Bank Stage at The Shreveport Convention Center.
  9.  Friday Night Jazz Jam Session is the newest performance part of ArtBreak 35 that the public can enjoy.  Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy Band Director Jeremiah Furlow invites High School students from Byrd, Caddo Magnet, Northwood and Woodlawn to join the “JAM” and be inspired with some of the old favorite jazz tunes.  It’s a time to improvise, take the open mic and maybe even participate in a little bit of musical competition “chopping heads.”

Pam Atchison, Director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC), which has produced the ARTBREAK Festival for 35 years, says, “It is our mission with the ArtBreak Festival to celebrate the creative talent of the thousands of students throughout Northwest Louisiana who paint, draw, write, perform, make films, cook up culinary art and now, for the first time, work with famous artists to design and fabricate their own inflatable ‘exceptional friend.’  We are grateful to look back 35 years and celebrate the accomplishments of so many, especially knowing that much of the Arts Ecosystem that we are so proud to have built in Northwest Louisiana today started for some with the festival of ArtBreak.”

Nothing celebrates the achievements of Caddo Parish Students in a bigger way than ArtBreak.  In its 35th year, ArtBreak 2019 is where the kids are creating, cookin’, jammin’, filming, performing and letting off S.T.E.A.M.; where major sponsors are stepping up the game to showcase thousands of students and their skills; and where outstanding student creations collect more than $20,000 in cash awards.