Basin Arts: Lafayette’s container for creativity
Pushing the creative envelope in Lafayette
Situated in downtown Lafayette, Basin Arts is a “Container of Creativity,” where people can come to express themselves through dance, art and movement.
The center was launched by Clare Cook, a native of Lafayette who spent over a decade in New York working as a choreographer and dancer before moving back to her hometown in September of 2016.
Even before moving back, Cook was contemplating the idea of a creative space in Lafayette, but the changes she noticed in the area inspired her to move forward with the idea.
“The city I have returned to is a much larger, more open-minded, entrepreneurial and artistic place than I remember it as a younger person,” says Cook. “Moving home feels like a chance to shape my path on my own terms, which as an artist is very exciting. Basin Arts comes from my strong desire to build the arts community by creating a space to support local artists’ creative processes.”
Basin Arts offers a wide range of adult dance classes, and, since opening nine months ago, a unique community has been created, which includes dancers, visual artists, writers, musicians and designers all interacting with each other.
“The barriers between these genres hardly exist inside the walls of Basin Arts and I love this,” says Cook. “A short list of things that have been ‘created’ at Basin Arts include: paintings, dances, plays, films, art exhibitions, critique nights, podcasts, photo shoots, audition tapes, new class ideas, music and recipes. Often, half the work of an artist is showing up and being open to the possibilities so we try to create as many ways for people to engage as possible.”
As a choreographer, the space serves as an outlet for Cook to collaborate with other artists to come up with her best work.
“As a choreographer, I need a balance of quiet time to think and work matched with a discourse among a close circle of collaborators and dancers that I can trust,” says Cook. “Choreography is truly a communal experience, because it’s very hard to make a dance completely alone unless you are making a solo just for yourself.”
In addition to creating a space to support her own creative work, Cook aims to draw in other artists from throughout the area to develop their work at her center.
“As artists, we are always operating inside of a greater community, even when we choose to take space away from that community,” says Cook. “In imagining the environment of Basin Arts, I wanted to achieve a same type of balance. I wanted there to be a balance of personal versus communal space, artistic disciplines, perspectives, and ultimately a place where people can be autonomous, yet still feel a part of a trusted community of artists and collaborators.”
Part of moving Lafayette forward artistically involves supporting arts in the region, which is something Cook feels is moving forward throughout Acadiana.
“Lafayette is stepping up to its creative potential,” says Cook. “I see this happening in the younger generation of artists, as well as the leaders in our community who are vocally advocating for the value of arts and culture in our region, and it’s very exciting.”
Since returning to the area, Cook has noticed an uptick in artistry that she hopes will push the city forward.
“I believe Lafayette has all the tools needed to become a place of original ideas and new, innovative discoveries in the arts,” says Cook. “My hope for Basin Arts is to continue to foster an environment of discovery, because I want Lafayette to be part of the national and international arts conversation. We have the talent, a unique perspective and now we need to take ownership over our creativity to push the envelope forward.”
For more information about Basin Arts, visit basinartslafayette.com.
- Cajun Heartland State Fair, Lafayette, May 26 – June 4
Come to the fair to enjoy classic carnival rides, performances from musicians like Mike Dean and
Dustin Sonnier and domestic beer at the Cajun Heartland State Fair & Louisiana's Finest Craft Beer Garden.
For more information or for ticket prices, visit www.cajundome.com.
- Pierre Bonnard: Landscapes from Le Cannet, Lafayette, May 27, 10 a.m.
An exhibit featuring the work of French painter Pierre Bonnard will make one stop in the U.S. this summer: at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum.
Museum hours are: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays.
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for adults over age 62, $3 for students between the ages of 5 and 17, and free for children younger than 5 years old. UL Lafayette students, and faculty and staff members can visit the museum for free by showing their University ID card.
- Rob Copeland and Organic Radio, Lake Charles, May 27, 7p.m.
Come out to Rikenjaks Brewing Company to hear Rob Copeland perform a variety of rock, pop and country on the patio, with Organic Radio rounding out the evening from 9 p.m. to midnight.
- To Be Determined, a dance happening, Lafayette, May 28, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Basin Arts in downtown Lafayette will be hosting a movement experiment which will last 45 minutes and be followed by a group discussion over coffee.
Come to observe and interact, to be inspired and to be confused.
All ages are welcome and the suggested donation is five dollars.