The future of the Barnwell Garden and Art Center in downtown Shreveport is up in the air.
Next year the Barnwell Center will close temporarily for dome and other renovations. But when the facility reopens, the management and staff could be replaced.
The city of Shreveport owns the building and gives $80,000 a year to the Friends of Barnwell, the group that manages the facility. The management contract for the Barnwell Center is expiring, and the city is looking for a change in leadership.
Mayor Cedric Glover says the Friends of the Barnwell will always play a big role in the Barnwell Center, even if it's not managing the facility. And there are talks of possibly bringing in another entity, like the nearby Sci-Port, to take over management of the Barnwell Center.
"Do we see some opportunities for potential synergies, not just between the Barnwell, but also between the J. Bennett Johnston Corps of Engineering facility, to possibly cross-program them and achieve some economies of scale? Certainly we'd love to see that happen," said Glover. "Those discussions are under way and we're hopefully going to see some positive results."
Sci-Port management says the organization would consider becoming more involved with the Barnwell Center, if it doesn't take resources away from the main building.
But the Friends of the Barnwell say changes have already been made. Attendance is up, most of the board has been replaced, marketing has become more aggressive, and a summer art camp is being held to attract children.
"We've been doing a lot of different events down here," said Marilyn Creswell, Operations Director for Friends of the Barnwell. "We've really reached out to Caddo and Bossier school systems. Because if you educate children about art and horticulture and music then that's going to carry it on for generations."
The city has sent out a request for proposal for entities interested in managing the Barnwell Garden and Art Center, and Friends of the Barnwell will submit a proposal to continue managing the facility.