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Meet Our DAF Recipients: St. Joan of Arc School

The Louisiana Decentralized Arts Funding Program (DAF), begun in 1995, makes the arts available in all areas of the state by giving artists, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and local government agencies in each parish the opportunity to develop arts programs that meet their local needs.

The Bayou Regional Arts Council helps eligible organizations in its six-parish region to apply for the DAF grant and then re-grants DAF funds to recipients chosen by a panel of community members. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of our 2016-17 grant recipients to showcase the creative arts programming that is taking place in our bayou communities with the help of the DAF program.

St. Joan of Arc Catholic School — St. John the Baptist Parish

St. Joan of Arc Catholic School contracts with Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) to produce a musical each year in order to expose students to live theater. SJA students are able to audition to be part of the cast. This year’s musical Peter and Wendy, a retelling of the Peter Pan story, took place on Saturday, March 25.

How does your program build audiences for the arts?

By exposing children to live theatre at a young age through participation on stage or in the audience, they are developing an appreciation for the arts.

How might it provide arts activities to groups which have had limited arts experiences?

Many of the students who participate in the productions each year would not have the opportunity to experience theatre outside of the school setting because of financial, transportation, or time limitations. Some take part in the production for the first time because they are encouraged by their teachers, administration, or friends. They have the chance to participate in a setting that is familiar with people they know. Otherwise, they wouldn’t give it a try.

How does it encourage arts and cultural activities related to one of the following disciplines: dance, design arts, folklife, literature, media, music, theater, visual arts & crafts?

Cast members learn vocal and acting skills that can be applied when participating in other theatre programs. In turn, being entertained by the young cast encourages the audience members to attend more theatre productions.

How does the program strengthen the arts in the community?

Showcasing the young talent of our students creates excitement in the community as to how those children will influence the arts in their area in the future. The excitement of the children definitely affects the audiences in a positive way.

*Special thanks to Mona Roussel for providing information and photos.

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