CREATE strengthens cultural economy in Lafayette

Summit set to spark conversations about Lafayette’s cultural economy

In March of this year, Lafayette’s Mayor-President Joel Robideaux announced a plan to allocate surplus funds from the city’s budget towards revitalizing the community, and the two day CREATE summit happening in Lafayette this weekend is aiming to bring together all the people who could help make that happen.

The two day summit (day 1) (day 2) will feature panels on grant writing, public art, recreation and other topics with a focus on creating thought provoking conversations designed to bring changes to Acadiana that will help strengthen the cultural economy.

Kate Durio, assistant to the mayor-president, is spearheading the project and is excited to see contributors to the cultural economy, which is the second largest economic driver and employer in Lafayette Parish, come together for the event.

“CREATE is the acronym for the initiative we came up with to strengthen our cultural economy and one of the ways we want to do that is by plugging artists, creatives and contributors in with some additional resources,” says Durio. “Whether that’s helping them with grant writing, funding or putting them in touch with other professionals who can help them, that’s what we want this summit to do.”

The event is part of a larger week called PLAN Lafayette, which will revisit Lafayette’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2014, but the CREATE summit will zone in on creating solutions on how to grow Lafayette’s cultural economy.

“At its core, it’s an opportunity for people that make up our cultural economy to get together to talk about how we can make things a little bit better through CREATE,” says Durio. “We’re going to be asking each speaker what three challenges that they face and what they think are some possible solutions.”


Lafayette City Council members will be moderating sessions, as an additional way to engage with the public and ensure the city is putting the best ideas from the summit into action.

“It won’t be a preaching to the choir environment, because I want to create some really thought provoking discussions,” says Durio. “Like the public art panel will be really interesting because there will be people coming at it from different sides.”

Another ideal Durio hopes the event will accomplish is to help connect current artists and cultural entities with funding.

“For instance, if an organization is doing three productions a year, but they really wish they could do a second summer live theatre program because they have a long waiting list, we want to help them find some funding to do that,” says Durio.

The hope is that the event will spark conversations about bigger projects the Lafayette community may have wanted to do in the past, but has never had the means for.


“A lot of grants that we could qualify for require matching funds, and we’ve never had a pot of money to pull from for those funds,” says Durio. “If we had those matching funds though, it could put our community in a new bracket for big league grants other cities are using, but those bigger grants require a five or sometimes even a ten percent investment from the local community.”

Funding for CREATE is contingent upon a vote in November in which Lafayette citizens will decide if they approve of Robideaux’s proposal to allocate surplus funds from the public health millage towards the CREATE initiative.

The decision to re-dedicate funds from the public health millage came after many discussions Robdeaux had with those the public health unit, mosquito control and the animal shelter who all benefit from the funds of the public health millage.

“There are two components to the public health millage,” says Cydra Wingerter, chief communications officer for Lafayette Consolidated Government. “One is the pot per se, which has grown over time because the annual expenses for the operations and capital expenditures of those entities have been less than what was generated through the millage, so that became a savings pot.”

The re-dedication of funds is the city’s way of completing some much needed drainage updates that came to light after the great flood of 2016, and as a creative way to expand and diversify the local economy.

“We’re not adding a new tax, because citizens would already be paying it, it’s just a smarter use of the money,” says Wingerter. “It could just go toward growing the fund balance for public health, or it could go towards drainage and CREATE. The seed money we get could be used as matching funds for some larger grants for the city.”


The summit will end at Cites des Arts with a wrap-up party at the pop up park set up by the CREATE team.

“Anyone who is an artist, has a kid in little league, who cares about art, or anyone who wants to rub elbows with the creative community should attend,” says Durio.

For more information about CREATE, visit and for a full schedule of events visit the CREATE Facebook page.



Upcoming Events

Teche Classic Movies, in partnership with IPAL presents: “An Evening at the Essannee”
Come to the inaugural performance of Alfred Hitchcock's Epic: "North By Northwest" (1959), starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason.
Admission is $10 and concessions will be sold in the lobby.
Tickets can be purchased by messaging
No cellphones please.


Come out to Artique for an extended evening of shopping. Many of the artists that contribute to the shop will be in attendance.

With over 50 talented creative souls under one roof, there will be something to please everyone at the event. 
There will be wine, refreshments, and assorted finger foods.

Feel free to bring a friend and a lawn chair.



Come out for the opening night of our 3rd Quarter Art Exhibit Featuring work from Kim Allison-Hebert and Sarah Trahan.

There will be refreshments, wine, and an opportunity for the public to meet the artists themselves.
Exhibit located in the Post Office of Walnut Grove:
1490 Market Street
1st Floor
Lake Charles LA 70601



This 5-day extravaganza will pay tribute to two time-honored industries, feature great food, continuous free, live music, arts & crafts, children’s activities and traditional events, such as the blessing of the fleet and boat parade.


Categories: Ça C’est Bon, Theatre + Art