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Men in Aprons Serve the Arts

Blend of the Bayou offers food and fun for the whole family, and supports arts organizations throughout the area.

Funding the arts in northeast Louisiana is huge job, with many music, art, theater, and dance organizations spread across the area. 

The Northeast Louisiana Louisiana Arts Council hosts its annual "Blend of the Bayou" event Sunday, May 1 from 5-7 p.m. at 2110 Island Drive in Monroe. All proceeds are used by the Arts Council to underwrite performances by regional organizations and traveling artists, educational outreach across the area, public art projects, and other initiatives.

"The mission of the arts council is to support all the arts organizations in the 11 parish region we work with," said Arts Council Chief Operating Officer Barry Stevens. "All of the activities in the arts at some how or another at different times flow either though us or with us. We are a support organization."

The fundraising event began as a sketch on a napkin 19 years ago, and has since grown into an event that includes 50 cooks, 30 bartenders, live music, home brewers, and an art show. All of the staff are business leaders from the area.

"It's businessmen from around the area who've been very busy throughout the year, but still want to give something back to the arts and this is how they feel they can do it. They underwrite everything themselves, or they have a corporation underwrite it so the profits go to the Arts Council. We then redistribute those funds out into the different arts organizations," says Arts Council President Tommy Usrey.

Tickets can be purchased online at the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council, or in person at the Toggery, Origins Bank, or the City Apothecary.

Kirby Rambin is a natural entertainer, having played violin since the age of 9 and performing publicly since he was just 12. As a teen, he performed with the Monroe Youth Symphony and the Louisiana All-State Orchestra.
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