Corporate sponsorships are still being sought for the 22nd annual Chickenstock, the parish’s only arts festival.

Now in its 16th year at The Farm, the festival has had its ups and downs, executive director Chris Broussard said.

“For years, Cultural Crossroads relied on grant funding from the Decentralized Grants program set up by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Shreveport Arts Council,” she said. “Their grant dollars in 2000 exceeded $15,000. Today, they are less than $6,000.”

While the festival has grown in popularity among children, the push for more arts in education has also found its way into some of the classrooms. Last year, Broussard says, Cultural Crossroads underwrote a $5,000 arts program that brought the arts to more than 450 E.S. Richardson Elementary School students. This year, Richardson was able to hire those volunteer artists to continue the program.

Today, Cultural Crossroads, the parish’s only 501c3 arts organization, faces new challenges, she said.

“Loss of grant dollars from state agencies and now a decline in local corporate support finds the organization short of their regular corporate dollars by more than $8,000,” Broussard said. “This year, the organization was not funded by the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau. A failure to complete the required reporting of expenses for last year’s festival in a timely manner left us out of this year’s cycle but eligible for 2017, a fate shared by the Scottish Tartan Festival in 2014.”

This year’s festival will be underwritten by corporate dollars from Citizens National Bank, Milbar Hydro Test of Shreveport, Minden Medical Center, Gros Trucking Company, Aeropres, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Minden and Avery’s Catering.

Friends of The Farm include Tommy and Cindy Walker, George E. French III, Dr. Michael Chanler and his wife Jill and Lyda Madden.

A special “Angels for Change” grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana will provide much needed funding for the weeklong “Kids Day at The Farm,” which provides a full day of arts activities by professional artists. Every fourth grader in the parish is invited to the free weeklong activities.

Cultural Crossroads is still accepting corporate support. For those interested in supporting the arts and The Farm, send a tax-deductible contribution to Cultural Crossroads, P.O. Box 1393, Minden, LA 71058.

The festival is slated for the week of April 11-16, with the event open to the public on Saturday, April 16.

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