Arts, Culture, and Humanities


Innovative Resources for Creative Professionals in North Louisiana


Shreveport, LA


The mission of Works In Progress (WIPLA) is to provide financial, educational and business resources directly to creative professionals who live/work in North Louisiana. We accomplish our mission by providing career-changing grants and low-cost business development workshops, and maintaining the Creative Marketplace - a free online resource for cultural consumers who purchase goods and services directly from creative professionals in North Louisiana. Works In Progress Louisiana considers creative professionals to be people and organizations that transform cultural skills, knowledge, and ideas into goods, services, and events. Our core cultural segments include design, performing arts, music, film, entertainment, literary arts and humanities, visual arts, and culinary arts.

Ruling Year



Debbie Hollis

Main Address

732 Robinson Place

Shreveport, LA 71104 USA


North, Louisiana, Creative, Professionals, Artist, Art, Economic Development, Business





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Economic Development (S30)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (S12)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

There is a lack of project grant funding, business development education, and mentoring for creative professionals in North Louisiana. The arts are not considered a viable economic/business sector here, and most funding in our region is centralized in the local quasi-governmental arts council.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Project Grants for Creative Professionals

Business Development Workshops

The Creative Marketplace

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Our business goals include:

• distribute funding for innovative projects to creative professionals and arts groups in North Louisiana

• provide business development workshops to creative professionals in North Louisiana

• create an alternate, accessible, sustainable source of arts funding that does not rely on government-funded arts councils and agencies

• provide necessary resources to help creative professionals pursue their work, earn a living wage in their chosen creative fields, and retain a physical presence in North Louisiana

• provide arts enthusiasts with the opportunity to engage directly with artists, invest in their careers, and participate in private-sector growth of the arts and humanities in North Louisiana

• contribute to a diverse, connected, sustainable creative community in North Louisiana

• increase understanding of the arts and its importance to our region's overall well-being

• increase local, national, and international support and recognition of North Louisiana art/culture

WIPLa utilized research from the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the State of Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in order to gain an understanding of the needs/areas for improvement in our cultural community. We specifically researched unmet needs in our arts sector, various application processes, and realistic performance metrics for creative professionals.

During the creation phase of our nonprofit organization, WIPLa worked closely with Mr. Kim Mitchell to implement the Purdue University Center for Regional Development's "Strategic Doing" Initiative ( This hands-on training has helped our Board of Directors build a network/relationship-based foundation, and steer away from outdated hierarchical management models that are not effective when working with creative people.

We have based our business plan on the model programs of Craft Emergency Relief Fund, ArtsWave, Grantmakers in the Arts, United States Artists, and Creative Capital.

Works In Progress Louisiana has already begun putting cash directly into the hands of North Louisiana's creative professionals. WIPLa has begun teaching artists how to write grant proposals, set goals, measure outcomes, and plan for future professional success at no cost to the artists.

Our application process is very simple but thorough, and incorporates a brief paper application and a face-to-face meeting with each applicant. Our Board of Directors is composed of professional artists and businesspeople who provide guidance and constructive criticism to every grant applicant.

Recipients of WIPLa funding must satisfy certain specific requirements. In addition to completing standard grant reports, they are expected to produce and implement 'Performance Metrics.' These are tangible measurements of progress or indicators of success - such as economic/artistic performance (how and why sales or expenses rise or fall), and program and creative achievements (such as changes in the size and composition of audiences/buyers).

Examples of performance metrics might include number of tickets sold, average ticket price, number of artworks shown or sold, number of exhibits, number of buyers/patrons, and improved income-to-expense ratios. Non-financial metrics might include increased email subscribers, Facebook friends, website hits, etc.

Artists also learn to set “targets" (benchmarks) for each defined metric they have selected. For example, $200K in ticket sales, 5,000 “friends," or $10K in annual sales are examples of benchmarks.

WIPLa grantees must be able to answer these key questions:

1. What is my/our organization's artistic ambition?

2. What is the current business model for supporting my artistic ambitions? Or, how will the artist/organization deliver and support activities through a cost structure and revenue strategy that comprises earned and contributed sources? Is this plan realistic for the next 3-5 years?

3. To achieve the desired future business model and capital structure, what needs to change between now and then?

4. What investments do I/we need to make to attract recurring revenue that will support our business/art career after WIPLa funds are expended?

5. How will I/we raise that capital - or adjust our plans if we cannot?

6. How will I/our organization measure progress and success during the next 3-5 years?

We have prepared the following outcomes, and will measure WIPLa's progress as follows:

Outcome 1: Direct support for the arts will create income stability for artists and overall economic improvement in the North Louisiana cultural community.

Artists inspire each other through collaboration. This results in improved quality and increased production of work + increased income within the artists' community. Clusters of successful artists living/working in close geographic proximity, (e.g.: the Highland Neighborhood) increases traffic at nearby locally-owned restaurants and shops, encourages arts-based tourism, and stimulates investment in music, art and cuisine.

Measures: Increased productivity and income for creative professionals; incremental population increase in neighborhoods where artists live/work; foot/vehicle/economic traffic in areas of artistic activity; economic improvement at businesses adjacent to artists' work spaces.

Outcome 2: Creative professionals in North Louisiana will experience an overall improved quality of life.

By providing funding, free educational opportunities, and support for artistic experiences directly to artists –all of which generate innovative thinking and fuel creativity - WIPLa will incrementally increase the quality of life for artists by fostering creative risk-taking, career experimentation, and income opportunities.

Measures: More profitable, high-quality cultural work/events in North Louisiana; increased knowledge base, income and job satisfaction among creative professionals in North Louisiana; increased number of different genres/art forms successfully pursued by creative professionals; increased number of tourists/residents/business people who directly support our region's cultural sector.

Outcome 3: Funding provided directly to creative professionals will improve the reputation of the cultural community in North Louisiana.

Providing direct funding/educational opportunities to creative professionals in North Louisiana will result in exceptional cultural work, and a more vibrant, marketable, legitimate cultural community. When our artists finally have access to the resources they need to create great work, the natural result will be wide-spread recognition of our region as a thriving cultural haven.

Measures: Increased economic activity in the cultural sector in North Louisiana; increased number of cultural workers employed as artists, musicians, actors, entertainers and designers in the regional labor force; increased number of NWLA creative professionals who are between the ages of 20-60; increased percentage of employed managerial and professional cultural workers in the regional labor force; increased number of arts-related businesses relocated to/created in NWLA; increased financial support for the arts from the business/private sector.

Since incorporating in 2014, WIPLA has increased our business development workshop offerings, secured many new donors, hosted three annual fundraisers, received our first major grant, and built relationships with business & arts organizations across North Louisiana. We have provided $14,128 in private grant funding to creative professionals, and currently market over 100 North Louisiana-based creative professionals in our free online Creative Marketplace.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity