The childhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and birthplace of Grammy Award-winning musician Lucinda Williams, Lake Charles is a community with deep roots in the performing and visual arts. Residents of the city and the surrounding area enjoy live theater, a thriving ballet, big-name concerts, poetry slams and a symphony orchestra. Through regular gallery installations and pop-up art openings that showcase the talent of regional painters, photographers and mixed-media artists, the visual arts are well represented.
An umbrella organization for more than 60 arts nonprofits and numerous regional artists, the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana (AHCSL) hosts several annual events, including the Spring Art Walk and Arts & Crabs Fest where works by hundreds of artists are presented.
McNeese State University, a four-year public university located in the heart of Lake Charles, is also a hub for art and cultural events, from gallery openings to choral performances to live theater. A robust cultural space, Lake Charles’ Central School Arts & Humanities Center, a restored 1912 public school, is equipped with artists’ studios, performances spaces, galleries and regional museums.
Children in the area can sharpen their artistic skills at the annual youth-centric ArtsFest or through interdisciplinary summer arts camps offered jointly by the AHCSL and the Calcasieu Parish School System.