By Mary Brocato
When she made a recent visit to the Depot Art Gallery, located in the Many Historic Depot Museum, the Cultural District Program Manager for the State of Louisiana said Many has one of the most active cultural districts in the state.
Gaye Hamilton of the Lt. Governor’s Office was highly pleased with the many events, art classes, movies, and music shows offered on a regular basis at both the Many Historic Depot Museum and the Many Community Center.
“Louisiana is a big state with many cultural districts,” she commented. She complimented the Art Guild and the Cultural District Advisory Committee for their hard work in bringing so many events, art and culture to the town’s cultural district.
Hamilton met with Shanna Dees Gaspard, president of the Depot Art Guild; JoAnn Cason, a member of the art guild; Janice Randow, Mayor Ken Freeman’s assistant; and Mary Brocato, chairperson of the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee.
Hamilton used the information from the Many Cultural District as one of several examples in a presentation called “Where Heritage Meets Tourism” at the Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit. The examples demonstrated how being part of the network of Cultural Districts across the state can help catalyze and enhance local efforts to revitalize places, creating interesting and often unusual experiences that help retain residents and attract tourist.
The Many Cultural District Advisory Committee is finding new uses for old buildings like the Depot Art Gallery in the old Many KCS train depot. It provides an exhibition space for local arts and a new market for art and cultural products. Plans are to turn the remaining depot rooms into a museum.
Renovations to the Sabine Theatre created a venue for community gathering and a wide range of cultural events. It is now called the Many Community Center and has regularly scheduled movies, music shows, plays, and other special events.
The Many CD team also has plans to engage residents in design and creation of public art around town, with its first location being the historic depot museum. It’s currently introducing book nooks, or little free libraries to the town and plans to introduce opera at the Many Community Center in 2018.
The Many Depot Art Gallery is open every Saturday from10 am until 4 pm. Art Guild members also teach painting, crafts, and jewelry making classes three Saturday afternoons each month.
Pictured from left are JoAnn Cason, a member of the Many Depot Art Guild; Janice Randow, assistant to Mayor Ken Freeman; Shanna Dees Gaspard, president of the Depot Art Guild; and Mary Key Brocato, chairperson of the Cultural District Advisory Committee. They recently met with the Louisiana Cultural Districts Program Manager and were pleased to be told that the Many Cultural District is one of the most active districts in Louisiana.