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Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023

Brittainy Pope


Art is our blueprint

Many may recognize Brittainy Pope, the new director of the Bossier Arts Council, from numerous cultural and educational groups and events she volunteers with and supports in Shreveport- Bossier. Now, Britt is thrilled this new position increases her ability to support arts and artists while building a better connection with the community. “I want people to see that art is truly a part of their everyday. How do we know about the people who came before us? We know because of the stories told, songs sung and images left behind.”

Britt will tell you quickly, “My grandparents are why I am who I am. That foundation is a large part of why I am where I am today.” Raising her after age 9 when her mother died, they instilled an appreciation for education and the arts and a heart for public service. Her grandparents, both graduates of Southern University, moved to Caddo Parish after Brown vs. Board passed. For the next 25 years, Joseph H. Pope, an accomplished abstract painter, taught art, while Carlean B. Pope taught sciences and special needs children. Britt’s grandmother is a writer and a great speaker. “I take more after her. They are essential to who I am and my public service. I ended up a lover of information. What I don’t know, I can find out. I am going to ask, research or go read.”

Before Britt’s mom passed, as a little latchkey kid, she would entertain herself by writing stories as a bit of escape. That creativity followed her. “I have written an entire anthology about a fictional Louisiana town with eclectic people and their foolishness. Who doesn’t like a bit of southern foolishness?”

After studying at UNO and graduating from LSUS in 2011, Britt worked in the Bossier Parish Library System providing children’s services before progressing to young adult book selections and orchestrating summer programs for the branches. It taught her to be efficient to cover more areas.

A 40 Under 40 honoree in 2021, the American Heart Association recently nominated Britt as A Woman of Impact. Britt is a survivor of breast cancer and TIA (mini-stroke), all before 40. The death of her cousin from heart disease inspired Britt to participate. “Women do all the things, are all the things, and do not pay due diligence to care for ourselves. Anything that improves life for women, I want to support.”

In 2018, Mollie Walton-Corbett, president of BAC, approached Britt to join the board of directors. “I have always shown up to support and make purchases, but being on the board is a different avenue to serve.” Having coordinated fashion show productions and performed in theater, Britt has a great appreciation of the effort required. Working with BAC opened the door to being involved with Red River Revel, which gave her an even greater appreciation for large-scale event planning. “Some asked if I participated with director in mind, but I never would have imagined it. The original plan was to go into practice for juvenile grief counseling. As a child who lost a parent early, there are certain things I can see that would be beneficial.”

Life experience influences her interest in pairing with community groups on field trips for children to places like Cumberland Gardens. She envisions the children creating a mural they take back with them to remember the experience. Hosting receptions in East Bank Plaza with city officials for the kids and their families would provide the experience of presenting themselves in public and celebrating the arts. She wants them to see, “Even if they are not a full-time artist, their creativity is important. It is important to do what brings you joy. Everyone needs a chance to experience the arts where they live.”

Right now, Britt directs her creativity into fundraising for the Bossier Arts Council so their programs can thrive. They are busy working on ARTini, a critical annual FUNdraiser, and managing the East Bank Plaza. This outdoor venue, perfect for family events, receptions, markets and festivals, is in the middle of NWLA’s first designated cultural area with open-container surrounded by family-friendly entertainment, restaurants, breweries and art. Britt laughs, “Who gets to go to work and see fireworks and Glo Fests, host markets, and gets to be a part of the blue print for a cultural district? It’s great!” They welcome everyone to sign up, like and follow the Bossier Arts Council and East Bank District on social media for updates. BAC encourages our Bossier and Caddo Parish communities to notice the impact of the arts on their daily lives. Britt smiles “You can’t say the word ‘artifact’ without art. Art is our blueprint. That is how we know who we are.”


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