This is Home Fest establishes scholarship for students pursuing music, arts education

To “expand the impact” of the This is Home Festival, $5,000 in scholarships will be awarded to Southwest Louisiana students pursuing a music or arts education.

This is Home Fest was established in the fall of 2021 to “celebrate the resilience of Southwest Louisiana” following Hurricanes Laura and Delta, and the ice storm and historic flooding event of 2022, said festival board president Lauren Olsen.

The first year was “a great success,” featuring Louisiana recording artists Marc Broussary and “a full slate of talent.” Following the triumph, a board of directors was formed, a 501c(3) status was obtained and a mission was adopted.

That mission is to create an event that “enhances the unique quality of life in Southwest Louisiana by sharing music and culture that celebrate local and global artistry,” and the goal is to remind locals why the area is home and attract visitors to the area by “showcasing the spirit of Southwest Louisiana.”

This is the fourth year of This is Home Fest, but the inaugural year of the This is Home Festival Scholarship Foundation. The board of directors created the foundation in an effort to give back community members in a more long-term way. She said they wanted their influence in the area to go beyond just a musical one-day event.

“Recognizing the transition phase in Southwest Louisiana’a recovery, moving out of the aftermath of the hurricane three and a half year ago, and into a rebuilding phase, the board aimed to ensure a sustainable impact on the community for years to come.”

They partnered with the Johnson Firm led to establish the scholarship, “providing an opportunity to reinvest in the talent of the youth and contribute to a meaningful and sustainable musical influence.”

The scholarship will award $5,000 worth of scholarships to area students, and is open to high school seniors, and current college and graduate students in Allen, Beauregard, Jeff Davis, Cameron and Calcasieu parishes who are majoring or minoring in music, visual arts or performing arts.

The number of awards and award amounts will be determined by the quality and number of applications. She said each scholarship recipient will receive at least $1,000.

The board’s decision to create a scholarship for students furthering their art education was a “strategic investment in nurturing the talents of young artists and musicians in Southwest Louisiana.” This investment, she said, is a critical piece “ensure a vibrant artistic community” for the future.

“Given the escalating cost of education, it becomes imperative to support the emerging talent in our city, ensuring they can pursue their dreams without financial constraints.”

The foundation also wanted to grant Southwest Louisiana arts students flexibility. She explained that most existing music and arts scholarships are ties to specific universities.

“There was a notable absence of open scholarships independent of universities. Fortunately, we are in the position to address this gap, providing students with funding options for not only four-year universities but also local technical colleges.”

Additionally, applicants for the scholarship do not have to attend a Louisiana institution to qualify.

To be eligible, students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average.

Scholarship applications are due by Monday, April 1.

This year’s This is Home Fest is on Saturday, April 20, at the Lake Charles Event Center Grounds. The recipients of the scholarships will be announced at the event.

Interested students can apply online at thisishomefest.com/scholarship.

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