LAFAYETTE — Legacy. Saint Philomena. Deja Vu. Twisted Loop. These aren’t artisan drinks on a hipster club menu but rather formal titles of public art dotting the Lafayette landscape. “There are more pieces than you might imagine,” said Author Jeremy C. Broussard, who recently completed a book on the subject. “Some of them are hidden, some of them we pass every day. Many of us don’t realize that the works have names and often interesting stories behind their inspiration.”
That’s the inspiration behind the conversation at next week’s panel discussion on public art in Lafayette, hosted at the Acadiana Center for the Arts (ACA). The discussion is labeled Art of the People (borrowing from the title of Broussard’s book) and allows Lafayette residents a unique chance to interact with artists, benefactors and local leaders who’ve helped make the city beautiful in artistic ways.
Emcee Zach Barker of Opportunity Machine will introduce Paige Krause of ACA and Carlee Alm-Labar of Lafayette Consolidated Government to discuss past and future initiatives around public art. Barker will then connect a diverse panel of guests with the audience for an interactive discussion about the impact of their work and the future of creativity in the city. Panelists include famed Muralist Robert Dafford, Portrait Artist Lucas Menard, Artist Calvin Wiggs (son of the late Artist Robert Wiggs), Public Art Benefactor Kaliste Saloom III (on behalf of the Saloom family), Muralist Susan David, and more.
In addition to the artists and benefactors on the panel, Broussard and the book’s co-creators — Photographer Travis Gauthier and Designer Elizabeth Bell — will expand on their experience discovering Lafayette’s vibrant public art community as they researched and recorded their work. “It was a great opportunity to photograph truly beautiful works of art around the city and meet some of the most talented artists in the country … and many of them live right here,” said Gauthier.
Art of the People, both the discussion and the book, was made possible by an innovative grant program called ArtSpark. The grant is the result of a partnership between ACA, Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) and Acadiana Economic Development, providing a unique blend of funding and business guidance to artists in the area. Additional support was provided by Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. The support made a limited hardcover edition of the book possible, copies of which will be donated to middle and high school libraries throughout the parish.
The discussion takes place Thursday, February 9 at 5:30 pm in the ACA education room (second floor). It’s an open-invitation event and admission is complimentary. For more information on the discussion and the book, visit CorvusPress.net.