Louisiana currently ranks 39th in per capita arts funding, and has fallen 15 spots, and nearly $3,000,000 annually from its position in 2008. With a total of $2,141,028, and at .48 of arts funding, per capita, Louisiana is well behind other Southern states. For comparison:


Florida                                    $1.98 arts funding per capita

Tennessee                              $1.07 arts funding per capita

South Carolina                            .87 arts funding per capita

Alabama                                      .82 arts funding per capita

North Carolina                            .73 arts funding per capita

Arkansas                                     .56 arts funding per capita

Mississippi                                  .53 arts funding per capita

Louisiana                                   .48 arts funding per capita


The per capita average for Arts Funding of the 11 Southern states is .72 per capita. Louisiana is rightly considered the cultural capital of the South, but without below average funding, creatives have economic incentive to seek out more business friendly locations out of state. Louisiana Citizens for the Arts supports raising state arts funding to the Southern average of $3,348,000.

Louisiana’s culture is celebrated across the nation, and our artists often tour nationally to support themselves. Artists, especially musicians, are especially adversely affected by Louisiana’s non-compliance with the Federal REAL ID act of 2005. Requiring our artists to take on the added expense of applying for a passport in order to tour puts an unnecessary financial burden on them, and we urge the next Governor and the Louisiana legislature to put the State in Federal Compliance.

Louisiana’s culture is the state’s most recognizable asset. The office of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism has worked to include cultural creatives in state marketing efforts, and offered business incentives including the Cultural Districts Program, Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Incentive, and Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit. As the State re-examines all tax credit programs, we urge that the Production and Recording credits remain, but with priority given to ways the credits can benefit Louisiana’s homegrown talent and cultural infrastructure.

Louisiana’s colleges and universities have sustained consistent and major funding cuts over the last seven years. In order to play to their strengths and do more with less, Universities such as the University of New Orleans are looking to refocus and rebrand themselves. UNO, which boasts strong though underfunded departments in film, music, theatre, visual arts, and arts administration, has proposed rebranding and centralizing these Departments in a School of the Arts to enhance regional and national student recruitment. We urge proper funding for UNO’s proposed School of the Arts and proper funding for all university art departments across Louisiana.

Author: dorianrush

I am a performer, writer and producer in New Orleans and am actively involved with nonprofits that support and advocate for artists and culture in Louisiana.

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