The first of four planned mini art galleries in Lafayette has gone up at Moncus Park ahead of the Jan. 1 opening.
The new mini art gallery, which artist Bob Borel proposed as part of a local art grant, operates like a little free library. Instead of swapping books in the decorated, weather-proof box, however, people are encouraged to swap tiny pieces of art.
“Once you see the box, you get it immediately,” Borel said. “We’ve been working on it for months and just put the finishing touches on it and installed it. We were careful to consider weather and kids. We don’t want kids to hurt themselves or easily break it.”
The box’s exterior features murals by artists Kristie Mayeaux and Marshall Blevins. Their artwork also highlights Moncus Park’s history as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Horse Farm.
“The idea is that even if someone were to show up and it were empty inside, there would still be art there on the outside,” Borel said.
Three more mini art galleries will be installed in the new year in Lafayette neighborhoods.
One is planned for Freetown at the Acadian Superette, another in Fightinville at the Victory Garden and the final one in the McComb-Veazy at Pontiac Point.
Lafayette artist Aileen Bennett is also going to draw a map of the four art gallery locations to help the community locate them as part of the public art project.
“People have been responding really, really positively,” Borel said. “It’s all about community interaction. It’s very much a community-driven piece. People are encouraged to bring a piece of art.”
The mini art galleries are being constructed by Blanchard Home Improvements and are made possible through a $2,700 ArtSpark grant.
The annual grant program, a project of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and Acadiana Center for the Arts, directly supports artists in Acadiana for specific, short-term projects that benefit the community.
Borel was inspired to pitch the mini art galleries for an ArtSpark grant after reading a news story about a woman in Seattle who converted her little free library into a miniature art gallery during the pandemic.
“It’s not my original idea,” Borel said. “But I love art where you don’t expect it.”
“Pirouette. Change your spot. OK, now, fumble the ball.”
Find Lafayette’s first mini art gallery at Moncus Park, 2913 Johnston St. The gallery is located near the Durel bell where the weekly farmers market takes place.
People are encouraged to take and leave tiny pieces of art that are no larger than a postcard.
Learn more about the public art project at instagram.com/lafayetteminiartgalleries.
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