The first of four mini-art galleries planned for Lafayette is set up in Moncus Park ahead of the January 1 opening.
The new mini-art gallery, offered by artist Bob Borel as part of a local art grant, functions as a small free library. Instead of swapping books in the ornate, weatherproof box, people are encouraged to swap tiny works of art.
“Once you see the box, you get it immediately,” Borel said. “We’ve been working on it for months and have just put the finishing touches on it and installed it. We’ve been careful with the weather and the kids in mind. We don’t want kids to hurt themselves or break it easily. “
The exterior of the box features murals by artists Kristie Mayeaux and Marshall Blevins. Their artwork also sheds light on Moncus Park’s history as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Horse Farm.
“The idea is that even if someone showed up and it was empty on the inside, there would still be art on the outside,” Borel said.
Three other mini-art galleries will be installed at the start of the school year in the Lafayette districts.
One is planned in Freetown at the Acadian Superette, another in Fightinville at Victory Garden and the last at McComb-Veazy in Pontiac Point.
Lafayette artist Aileen Bennett will also draw a map of the four art gallery locations to help the community locate them as part of the public art project.
“People reacted really, really positively,” Borel said. “It’s about community interaction. It really is a community-driven piece of work. People are encouraged to bring a piece of art.”
The mini art galleries are being built by Blanchard Home Improvements and are made possible by a $2,700 ArtSpark grant.
The Annual Grants Program, a project of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the Acadiana Center for the Arts, directly supports Acadiana artists for specific, short-term projects that benefit the community.
Borel was inspired to pitch mini art galleries for an ArtSpark grant after reading a story about a Seattle woman who converted her small free library into a miniature art gallery during the pandemic.
“It’s not my brainchild,” Borel said. “But I like art where you don’t expect it.”
“Pirouette. Switch places. 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 Farmer’s Market is held.
People are encouraged to take and leave tiny works of art that are no bigger than a postcard.
Learn more about the public art project at instagram.com/lafayetteminiartgalleries.
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