Person of Interest: Josh Porter, Creative Director for SRAC
What started 30 years ago as the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s primary fundraiser has turned into the event of the year (well, every other year). SB Magazine recently sat down with the creative director for SRAC who has played a part in the Christmas magic since 2006.
Q: How were you introduced into the arts culture in Shreveport?
A: My parents started taking me to theatre productions locally at a very young age. At about 5 years old, I asked how I could be a part of what I was seeing and they got me involved with Peter Pan Players. The theatre community introduced me to all aspects of the arts — everything from dance to set building and design.
Q: How long have you been involved with Christmas in the Sky and what drives you to do this every other year?
A: I’ve been involved since 2006 — this will be my seventh event. I enjoy the theme selection and designing/building the larger than life sets and props that make the theme a reality. The driving factor for me is creating an amazing event that helps support the arts and brings the arts culture to the community over the next two years. I couldn’t do this event without the love and support of my wife, Megan, and my two amazing kids, Lydia and Kiden.
Q: How does the event help the community? Direct impact? Specific projects?
A: For every dollar spent on tickets for Christmas in the Sky, we estimate an additional $5.00 is spent on ancillary items that include more than 100 hotel room rentals, the purchase of designer dresses and gowns tuxedo rentals, hair and makeup, and transportation. We project Christmas in the Sky’s economic impact on the local economy to be an estimated $6 million.
Q: Which Broadway section are you most excited about and why?
A: It would be easy for me to say the section I’m designing (Hairspray), but really it’s all of them. The best feeling is walking around and seeing all the sections and how they play off each other and intertwine to create one magical, cohesive event. I’m really excited to create an event, with the help of an incredible team, that makes the attendees feel like they are immersed in a Broadway production.
Q: What does 2019 hold for SRAC?
A: 2019 will be a very exciting year for SRAC and the Shreveport arts community. In 2019 we will be bringing world renowned artists Friends with You to Shreveport to work with our own artist, William Joyce, and other NWLA artists to create and oversee a series of five projects throughout 2019 that will wow the people of Shreveport. We will also be a hosting a year of wonderful exhibits at artspace from local and national artists.