Renée Chatelain sees lots of opportunities for Arts Council _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PAM BORDELON --- Renée Chatelain, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. 

Shell has invested $300,000 in the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge’s new Cary Saurage Community Arts Center at 233 St. Ferdinand St.

These funds will support the Shell Gallery, an art exhibition and meeting space open to individuals, schools and organizations throughout the Capital Region and beyond.

“Shell understands the vital role that arts and culture play in creating an appealing place to live and work,” said Renee Chatelain, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. “They are industry leaders in investing in the quality of life for the Louisiana community, and we are excited about the many positive ways that this arts/business partnership will impact the community.”

The City Parish-owned building, formerly the district attorney's office, is being renovated and transformed into the arts center, which will serve artists throughout the Southeast Region of Louisiana. The venue will be an accessible, multi-story artist workspace featuring collaborative artist studios, a black box theater, sound recording studio, multi-use gathering spaces, and the Shell Gallery.

This venue also will serve as the new home for the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and will complement the surrounding performance venues like the River Center and Shaw Center for the Arts.

“This partnership reinforces Shell’s long-standing commitment to the arts in Louisiana,” said Rhoman Hardy, Shell Vice President U.S. Gulf Coast. “The Cary Saurage Community Arts Center will offer a broad range of resources for both artists and art patrons in the region. Shell is pleased to be able play a role in moving this facility from concept to reality.”

The Arts Council also received funding from the Capital Area Finance Authority, which was used to begin renovations on the new building in mid-July.

The property will be occupied by the Arts Council through a cooperative endeavor agreement, with the private nonprofit being responsible for all costs of renovations and enhancements on the property. 

“CAFA’s commitment to being a positive catalyst for building community and contributing to the region’s forward progress through this investment in arts and culture is vital to the region’s positive growth,” Chatelain said. “Business and Industry, along with private donors, stepped up to invest in this arts center once CAFA committed to the project, and we are grateful.”

Ritter Maher Architects has led the design work for the renovations, with Faulk & Meek as general contractors. With only slight delays due to the COVID-19, the building is scheduled to open in the summer of 2021.

For more information artsbr.org.