BARE Walls

BARE Walls

BARE Walls

Project Description

Team”BARE Walls” was funded $2,200 during the 24 Hour Citizen Project in 2018.  Through BARE Walls, we will “flip the script” on the common practice where businesses invite artists to hang work for free exposure. Often, artists may have work hanging in a business for months or years at a time without ever earning a dollar for this work. BARE Walls will allow artists to receive residual income for their work while also having their work be shared among more spaces, making direct relationships with businesses in the community.

BARE Walls would provide businesses with a turn-key service for having great art installed and rotated in their spaces every 3 months. Businesses will be able to choose from a handful of local, talented artists and will have multiple subscription plans to choose from, as well as the option to purchase. Some subscription levels would even include the addition of artist talks, art opening events or art classes where employees and customers could directly engage with the artist whose work is on display. We hope BARE Walls will provide a tangible and affordable way to support local artists while gaining a more beautiful and inspiring work-space.

Our funding request of $2200 would go towards the start-up costs of the program. This would include signing up the first 5 businesses at a reduced rate of $50/month to increase awareness of the program. One hundred percent of the $50/month paid by the first five businesses would be paid directly to artists. Here is a further breakdown:

Artwork Archive subscription $300

-this is an online gallery platform where we would upload images and profiles of all the artists on the BARE walls roster for easy perusal by businesses.

Logo design $100

-this would help with branding and identification of the program across the community.

Opportunity Machine installation, research and Opening Event $500

-We have arranged to hang a body of work at the Opportunity Machine at no cost to them as a way to showcase the program. We will be conducting surveys throughout the installation period from OM members to see how their workspace has changed with the addition of artwork. We will also host an official launch event in their space to educate the business community about BARE Walls and recruit new clients and artists.

Marketing $500

-this would be for six-months of marketing, both leading up to the launch and directly following the start of BARE Walls. This would include social media marketing, printing costs of brochures and proposals, photo and video documentation for promotion, and the printing of signature decals for business to place in their spaces designating them as a BARE Walls member.

Subsidizing 5 Reduced Rate memberships $800

-We have calculated installation costs at $160/year per business to rotate the artwork four times annually. We would provide the first five business partners a reduced rate of $50/month for a year. (normal Level 1 Subscription would be $100/month). The $800 would cover the internal installation costs without reducing the monthly residual income paid back to artists.

Project Details

Team Leader Dirk Guidry
Funded Date August 11, 2018
Location: Lafayette, LA

Pitch

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Dear Community Letters

(Project Updates)

BARE Walls Update #1

Dear Community, As of November 1st, The BARE Walls program has officially LAUNCHED! Our website is now live, and we are pushing to get as many artists and businesses involved as possible. We already have over 20 artists as part of our roster and pushing for many more...

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Eyes Of The Sun

Eyes Of The Sun

Eyes Of The Sun

Project Description

Team”Eyes of The Sun” was funded $3,000 during the 24 Hour Citizen Project in 2018 to create two public murals.

 Eyes of the Sun mural project consists of installation of murals of the poem, “Eyes of the Sun”, written by incarcerated youth in the Lafayette Parish Detention Home.  Local visual artist Justin Robinson will lead in designing/installing the mural to celebrate the juvenile students proving that when we focusing on our education and being positive we can and will be successful. The Eyes of the Sun poem will be written out and signed “Written & Directed by LPDH Incarcerated Youth. The mural would serve as proof to youth in our community, that when you focus on your education and being positive you can and will be successful. Giving credit to the youth that authored the poem while incarcerated shows youth in your community that that if the students that wrote Eyes of the Sun can be successful, so can they. In 2015, I worked with youth incarcerated in the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home to create spoken word poem, Eyes of the Sun. The poem is written and directed by youth in the facility. Our goal for the project was to prove that when we focus on our education and being positive, we can and will be successful. Majority of the students were from groups in Lafayette neighborhoods that often do not get along. Lafayette youth have faced a number of traumatic incidents including an increase in gun related violence, bullying, as well as the stressful climate caused by numerous school shootings. Our youth are in need of support, reassurance that they are not alone and exposure to healthy forms of self-expression.

The mural would expose Lafayette youth to creative expression authored by students incarcerated in the local juvenile home. It would serve as proof that Lafayette Incarcerated youth were able to unite despite their differences to work together and that the perception of Lafayette incarcerated youth should not always be one of hopelessness and lost causes, but one where everyone can have a chance if given an opportunity. The Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home student’s testimony through poetry would be shared with the Lafayette community and all others that visit.

Project Details

Team Leader Alex Johnson
Funded Date August 11, 2018
Location: Lafayette, LA

Pitch

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Dear Community Letters

Project Updates

Eyes of the Sun Update #1

Dear Community, The closer we get to the first round of the Eyes of the Sun mural workshops, the more excited the Eyes of the Sun team gets. The build up to meeting with our community to help celebrate Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Incarcerated Youth’s...

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The Art Wall

The Art Wall

The Art Wall

Project Description

The Art Wall project stole the hearts of many who attended the 24 Hour Citizen Project in 2016, when Project Leader, Asher Corbell (a 16 year old from Shreveport, LA) was funded $1,000 to pursue his vision for the arts. What Asher really wanted was a designated wall where graffiti artists could perform their art legally. Since that time, the concept has grown into a wall where artists can pursue grafitti, street art, urban art and muralism. Asher paired up with local artist, Susan David, who feels Asher’s love for the arts needs to be cultivated. The duo hopes to mimic what other cities have done to promote public art participation.

Project Purpose: The Art Wall is a wall designated to artists from the community to pursue graffiti, street art, urban art, and muralism. The idea is to give young and/or aspiring artists a place to come express themselves outdoors in a unique, fun, and legal way.

Project Rationale:   The project stemmed from several successful examples of “Graffiti Walls” around the country that have been installed in an effort to convert  tagging and vandalism (see section titled “Paint Wall Examples”) into graffiti that is contained and manageable through a designated space, rules, and borders.

Proposed Location: The ideal location is a flat wall (i.e., side of building) that is visible to the public and well lit. Locations are dependent on appropriate permissions from building owners  (for private property) and local government agencies (for government owned properties). The idea is to create a vibrant area using artistic paint colors that was once a blighted wall/area.

Proposed Name:  The original name of the project was called the “Graffiti Wall.” After careful consideration and further research, the project team decided that the name should be more inclusive to other artists and painting styles. The new proposed name is “The Art Wall” followed by the wall location (i.e., The Art Wall @ 2nd Street). The name is clarifies the purpose of the site and provides a location.

Paint Wall Examples: Many cities have already implemented these types of campaigns to promote public art and participation. The Art Wall Project in Lafayette is replicated from many successful examples from over the years. The most notable are mentioned below:

  • http://globalstreetart.com – Organized over 1,250 legal street art murals in London since 2012.
  • https://legal-walls.net – An aggregator for street art, providing 1,478 legal locations for artists to work.
  • http://hopecampaign.org/hopeprojects/hope-outdoor-gallery/- A community paint park located in downtown Austin, TX. It is the only paint park of its kind in the USA. It was developed to provide muralists, street artists, arts education classes and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive & educational messaging.

Access to Art Wall: The artist must be granted permission to use the space via an Art Wall Card, which is obtained following completion of an online form. The Art Wall Card is picked up at participating local businesses (i.e., Levee Skatespace (Logan Clothier), Rukus Skateshop (Dan Russel) Freetown Studios (Susan David)).The online form will contain the following:

  • Name
  • Contact phone number
  • Contact email address
  • Dates of wall’s use
  • Brief description of design (if available)
  • Size of the spot
  • Photo or access to Facebook profile
  • Agree to the Art Wall Terms and Conditions

Rules and Restrictions: The artist will agree to abide by the rules and restrictions of using the wall. The following rules will be communicated to the artists before use, and will also be displayed near the wall for easy viewing:

  • Keep it clean – Keep the wall and surrounding areas clean. Leave no waste behind including cans or other refuse.
  • Only apply paint to your designated area. Never apply paint on the ground or on other objects surrounding the wall.
  • Keep your colors beautiful – No insulting remarks or anything offensive expressed in your art. No violence. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Always buff your intended area. No buffing = no painting!
  • Obey the art – Respect the other artist! Keep the murals above clean. Graffiti codex applies.
  • You work may get buffed over… That’s ok. It may be time to start a new piece!
  • Work starts at daylight, and ends at 10PM. No Exceptions!

Project Details

Team Leader Asher Corbell
Funded Date July 23, 2016
Location: Lafayette, LA

Progress

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Dear Community Letters

Project Updates

Art Wall Update #4

Dear Community, We’re assuming you’ve read about our background and getting The Art Wall Project off the ground. We’re also assuming you’ve read our February 2018 update. We feel like were a solid 92% done and will complete by August 31, 2018. I promise to encourage...

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Art Wall Update #3

Dear Community, We've found ourselves a little backed up given the weather situation over the last couple of months. Who would have thought we’d experience rain for the basically all of December? Follow that up with two hard freezes, a cracked pipe, and...

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Art Wall Update #2

Dear Community, A little background… My name is Susan, I’m the Executive Director of Freetown Studios (www.freetownstudios.org). I am also the Curator/Project Manager for The Art Wall Project (previously known as the Grafitti Wall). In 2016, I was...

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Art Wall Update #1

We’re excited to announce that the “Graffiti Wall Project” has a home, a new name (The Art Wall), and a call to action for all willing artists wanting to pursue their art. If you live in the Lafayette area, and interested in designating a space for your...

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Hydrate Lafayette

Hydrate Lafayette

Hydrate Lafayette

Project Description

We are nothing more than citizens of our community. We’re not an organization, support group or committee. Rather, we’re just a couple of guys who thought of an idea, and came up with a plan for execution. We love running. We love the outdoors. And we believe that Lafayette is a special place to live and play.

We couldn’t have gotten here without a little help along the way. Huge thanks to these folks who have worked and are continuing to work behind the scenes:

  • Videographer: Katie Napoli
  • Water Fountain Designers: UL Industrial Design Students and Hector LaSala
  • Plumber and Fountain Installer: Brandon Touchet
  • Brick Layer: John Francis
  • The Helping Hands: Drew Edmiston, James LeBlanc, Butch Roussel, David Wyble, Edie Riedel, Kevin Castille, Erin Edmiston, Elizabeth Greenman, Active Acadiana, and Zydeco Marathon. 

The Quick Facts.

  • Purpose: To install drinking water fountains in various neighborhoods throughout Lafayette. The fountains will serve as a “hydration station” for runners, walkers, bikers, children playing, and of course, our pets.
  • Funding Goal: $14,500.00. This is an ‘All or Nothing Campaign.’ If the project isn’t fully funded, your credit card is not charged.
  • Days to reach goal: ~60 days.
  • Fountain Target Areas: Saint Streets, White Subdivision, Upper Lafayette, Broadmoor, UL Campus, Freetown, and East Bayou Parkway (we’re still working on finalizing locations, and will provide in an update soon).
  • Fountain Designs: There will be eight (8) fountains total. Four (4) will be designed by UL’s industrial design students in a competition through a school project called “Project No Waste.” Other fountains installed will be square/brick.
  • Fountain installation and use: The project creators have sought feedback from people in the community to determine the most desired locations. Property owners have agreed to “adopt a fountain,” which means after installation, the property owner will maintain the fountain including paying for water utilities on a monthly basis.
  • #hydratelafayette

What We Want?

Simply put, we want to install eight (8) filtered drinking water fountains in neighborhoods where people are most active. Lafayette is ever increasingly becoming a more active community. An active community is a healthy community and we would like to make physical activity here in Lafayette a little easier. The water fountains will serve as a ‘hydration station’ for runners, walkers, bikers, children playing in neighborhoods, pets, etc. The project goal is to install drinking water fountains for a funding goal of $14,500. Areas that have been targeted as possible locations include Saint Streets, White Oak Subdivision, Upper Lafayette area, Broadmoor, UL Campus area, Freetown, and East Bayou Parkway area. The intent is to target areas that are high in foot traffic. The water fountains will be designed by UL’s Industrial Design Department through a school project called ‘Project No Waste.’ Fountain designs will be chosen through collaborations with civicside.com, the Project Creator, the property owner, UL Industrial Design Professors, and/or voting through social media outlets.

We plan to accomplish this by seeking the help of the active community to help and crowdfund this project. A small donation today could materialize into multiple drinking fountains being installed throughout Lafayette.

Location Location Location.

Consulting the public was the only way to determine the ideal locations. In a perfect world, we would be able to install drinking water fountains in every nook and crevice that needed one. We sought feedback from thousands of runners during the Zydeco Marathon, who told us where they run and play. We created a map, and decided knocking on neighbors doors to see if they would be interested in “adopting a fountain.” At least 90% of our effort has been reaching out to folks in the community who live or work in high demand areas. Some property owners said no. Some said maybe. And others said, yes! We’re still working out some of the final locations, and promise to let everyone know as soon as possible where they’ll be. Here’s the target areas:

  • Saint Streets
  • White Subdivision
  • Upper Lafayette
  • Broadmoor
  • UL Campus
  • Freetown
  • East Bayou Parkway

Why We Want It?

The real question is… Do you want it? Here’s a couple of reasons that we came up with. By all means, feel free to come up with your own reasons, and share with us:

  • Runners and bikers have told us time and time again that their routes are mapped around water sources. Running the same routes every day to reach certain water sources around Lafayette can become monotonous. Additional water sources will make running easier and more convenient.
  • We all love to walk our dogs. Taking the dog for a long walk means that both you and your pup will at some point need a drink of water.
  • If knowing your neighbor has a drinking water fountain encourages you to take a jog around the neighborhood, then we’ve done our job. Enough said! 
  • Running with water strapped to your hips can be annoying, inconvenient and heavy on the legs.

The Small Print.

Water Fountain Specification: The placement of the fountain will be on private property within close proximity to property owner’s water meter, and should be easily accessible to pedestrians. Each fountain location will be discussed and agreed upon by the property owner and Project Creator prior to installation. To ensure stability of the fountains, an approximate 4x4 ft concrete slab will be poured to serve as the base for the fountain design. The distance from ground to bubbler will be approximately 42 inches, and is considered an ideal height for young children and adults. See image below for additional specifications. To access water, the plumber will install a ‘T fitting’ on the main access water line near the water meter. Between the ‘T fitting’ and water fountain will be a shutoff valve and water fountain (both housed in an accessible box underground). The shut off valve will allow the ability to shut off water from the fountain without shutting off the entire water supply from the water meter.

Water Fountain Installation: The water fountains will be installed by a licensed/insured master plumber, with the ability to purchase city permits, if necessary. During installation, the plumber has communicated risks in possibly damaging other piping during the installation of the ‘T fitting,’ particularly if the main water line is fragile galvanized piping. The Project Creator has considered this possibility and will make every attempt to pay for additional labor to remedy the problem as project funds allow.  The property owner should expect the trench to be filled back with dirt. The project or project funds will not be responsible for planting grass for re-growth.

Water Fountain Maintenance: Where the Project Creator is responsible for providing the funds for the installation of the water fountain, the property owner is responsible for the maintenance and agrees to keep the fountain in clean condition and working order. As part of this agreement, the homeowner also agrees to pay appropriate utilities for water and sewage, and recognizes that civicside.com and the Project Creator is NOT responsible for these utilities. The property owner should consider creating a safe pathway, free of obstruction, walkway to the fountain from the road so that it can be accessed freely and safely by walkers and runners. The property owner should also consider landscaping and/or solar lighting around the fountain to ensure attractive appeal in your neighborhood.

Project Liability: The property owner understands and acknowledges: (1) the water fountain creates an express invitation for individuals to lawfully enter their property; (2) the property owner may be liable for any injuries or damages sustained by individuals lawfully on their property; (3) the property owner must maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for individuals to use the water fountain; (4) the property owner must periodically inspect the water fountain and the surrounding property for any potentially dangerous conditions; AND (5) civicside, LLC and/or the Project Creator are in no way responsible for any injuries or damages which occur on the property owner’s property.

How Can You Help?

We feel that the community stands to benefit from this project. We ask for a contribution, or just to let your friends know about the project. If successful, our goal is to begin installation of the fountains beginning July 2015. The biggest way in which you can help is to spread the word that this project is underway and seeking the help of the community to help make it a reality.

Project Details

Team Leader Butch Roussel / Mark Leblanc
Funded Date March 15, 2015 (Note: Hydrate Lafayette was funded through civicside.com, which was the prior funding mechanism before the 24HCP)
Funding Total: $14,500
Location: Lafayette, LA

Video Pitch

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YLafayette

YLafayette

YLafayette

Project Description:

YLafayette is a public art project led by Kate Durio and Downtown Lafayette. The project set out to create an interactive piece of art that represents the “people” of Lafayette, and showcases the culture of the area. The project was funded through public and private partnerships totaling $16,000.

 

Project Details

Team Leader Kate Durio
Funded Date December 17, 2014
Location: Lafayette, LA

Promotional Video

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Case Study

The following is a portion of a case study completed by UL student, Laura Williams, on May 2, 2017. We’re grateful for Laura’s work as the study meticulously documents how this project was completed.

Overview/Introduction: The city of Lafayette is known for its friendly people, its strong community bond, and for being the happiest city in America as of 2016. According to a Harvard study, Lafayette won the “Happiest City in America” award, and even though people around the nation are aware of Lafayette’s happiness title, Kate Durio wanted to create something that physically represented the great community, and involvement of Lafayette (Digital 2016). Durio is the former Director of Marketing and Events of Lafayette, and is the woman who headed the YLafayette project.

Background/Research: Lafayette is an iconic place; it has great food, festivals, and is uniquely fun, but one thing it lacked was a true postcard-worthy destination. Durio said that the inspiration behind the sign came from her wanting an “iconic photo backdrop that when you took a picture of it, you knew you were in Lafayette” (00:15). Durio said that once her idea started to take form, she learned that other cities like Amsterdam and Dallas have the same type of community installations (00:30).

Amsterdam rebranded its city in early 2000, making its moto “I amsterdam” (What is I amsterdam). Along with creating a new moto, I amesterdam turned the phrase into huge letters that act as a tourist attraction, photo backdrop, and are free to climb on. Likewise, YLafayette letters are intended to evoke local pride, act as a “personal endorsement” for its natives, and to attract visitors (What is I amsterdam). Different from YLafayette, I amsterdam is located in two permanent locations around the city, with “a third set of letters playfully chang[ing] location around the city” (I amsterdam letter). Another distinguishing factor between YLafayette and I amsterdam is that I amsterdam is not available to be repainted, while YLafayette encourages multiple paintjobs from the community.

Dallas, Texas also has an art installation in the city of the letters B&G. The idea is that a person stands in the middle of the B and G and becomes the I. B&G represents that BIG things happen in Dallas (MEET B&G). Comparable to I amsterdam, there is one permanent installation and others are available for rent through the Visit Dallas website. On the website there are various B&G signs available for rent; including piggy bank letters for fundraising, custom painted ones for special events, or their traditional blue sets. Dallas’ installations differ most from I amsterdam and YLafayette because it is more of a money making tactic than a community building one. Looking from a distance, each of these installations do the same thing and have the same purpose, but by looking closer there are distinguishable differences that help each of them fit naturally into each community.

Objectives: The main objective of YLafayette was to create an “iconic photo backdrop,” something that people recognized as Lafayette (Durio 00:15). Durio said she wanted to “see people using it, as either a Y or kids climbing on it’ (22:39). The second main objective was to create a landmark that would attract tourists and reinforce the idea that Lafayette is a happy, friendly place,

Target Audience: The primary audience for YLafayette was the people of Lafayette. The people of Lafayette would be the ones funding it, and hopefully using it on a regular basis. Kids also served as a main target audience because there was hope that they would get to “climb on [it], and it would be a play structure at the parc [Parc San Souci]” (Durio 01:38). Besides being letters, YLafayette is supposed to “act as an ever-changing canvas” (Durio 01:45). Durio said that “the letters were always designed to be painted and re-painted and painted” (01:49). And as Lafayette has seen, being a canvas has encouraged about 15-20 organizations to go out to the sign and paint the letters in order to promote their community events or to raise awareness of their organization. Once an organization gets in touch with Downtown Lafayette, they are put on a schedule that helps to organize who is painting and for how long their paintjob will stay on for (Durio 18:42). Downtown Lafayette even has an online guideline as to how to paint the sign and whom to contact (l-a-f-a-y-e-t-t-e sign). All they ask is that painters bring their own paint and tools, and that no logos or commercial marks be painted on the sign (l-a-f-a-y-e-t-t-e sign). Durio included that the sign needs to “maintain a certain level of openness” (18:30).

The secondary target audience is tourists. YLafayette was created for its community and in the hope that tourists would flee to sign and want to take pictures with it, becoming a tourist attraction. YLafayette is a marketing project because it does stand as a tourist attraction. Now when people take pictures at the sign, it’s recognizable that they are in Lafayette, Louisiana. Durio said that she has considered it a success when she “hears someone speaking French, or some other language, and you know they’re not from here, and yet they figure out what they’re supposed to do in the sign… you don’t have to explain it” (3:40).

Planning: After Durio sketched the first draft of the YLafayette sign, she sought people who could logistically and financially make it happen, or people who could offer artistic advice (Durio 21:04). Carlee Alm-LaBar, the former mayor’s assistant, was one of the very first to hear about the project and to support it. Alm-LaBar’s excitement of the sign strongly resonated with the reasoning that Lafayette does not have many places that are distinguishable enough for people to automatically know it is Lafayette (You are the Y, Lafayette 00:18). Alm-LaBar believed that with the sign, there would be a lot less left to the imagination because it would say Lafayette and ultimately brand the community (You are the Y, Lafayette 00:25).

After gaining support Durio took the project idea to Butch Roussel, the founder of CivicSide. CivicSide is a crowd-funding website that encourages community fundraising for projects and also connects financial backers to project leaders. Durio credits Roussel for finding people to financially back the project (21:45). In the meantime, Durio created four videos showcasing Lafayette business people and local business owners supporting the YLafayette sign (Durio 21:57). Throughout the videos “L-A-F-A-Y-E-T-T-E” by Northside Eric and the Southside Playboys sounds, easily becoming somewhat of a theme song for the YLafayette sign (LAFAYETTE 2013). Toward the end of the first video, “You are the Y, Lafayette,” one of the supporters encouraged citizens to “now be the Y, to fund this project fully, so we can implement it fully, and draw more attention to our great city” (You are the Y, Lafayette 01:00).

The second video honed in on Ben Berthelot, the President and CEO of Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. Berthelot said he was excited to be a part of the project because the YLafayette sign would be a great photo opportunity recognizable for people all over the country (YLafayette-Berthelot 00:11). Berthelot also said he wanted it “to be a place that people come any day of the week and have a great time and a great experience in Lafayette parish- a vibrant place” (YLafayette-Ben 00:46).

The third video focused on Katherine McCormick, a Chase Tower representative. She explained that her support rose from the idea that she could tell her kids “you can be the Y today!” (YLafayette-McCormick 00:12). She hopes that people who come to Lafayette see that “they care about their spaces and they’re putting effort and energy into making things pretty and interactive. I want people to leave here and say ‘when are we going back?’” (YLafayette-McCormick 00:37).

Last but not least, the fourth video starred Butch Roussel, founder of CivicSide and YLafayette supporter. Roussel said that he wanted “tourists to come take pictures of the letters and there to be kids climbing all over them; I want them to be decorated during UL’s homecoming week” (YLafayette-Roussel 00:11). Roussel continued by saying that YLafayette represents the people and its projects like these, that CivicSide can be successful (YLafayette-Roussel 00:32).

The first video was posted onto the CivicSide website on the “You are the Y, Lafayette!” page. On the website there is the summary of what the YLafayette sign is, and mention of similar works, including I amsterdam and the B&G sign. There is also credit to the L-A-F-A-Y-E-T-T-E song (You are the Y, Lafayette!). On the top of the site page there is also a donate button and a live total of how much money they were looking to raise and how far they had come. The site is currently still available and marked as “successful.” The three videos continued being shared throughout the project on social media and currently reside on Downtown Lafayette’s Vimeo.

Execution: After the first video, Durio and Roussel went seeking private investors to ask them about purchasing a letter (Durio 22:07). In the end, attorneys of Lafayette banned together to purchase a letter, as well as some of Downtown Lafayette’s board members.

Still, one of the most notable aspects of this project was the use of crowd-funding. Civicside, the website that hosted the crowd-funding, allowed for anyone to make contributions. On the donation page there are details about the dimensions, community value, works similar, and a little spiel about the Creative Everywhere initiative (You are the Y, Lafayette!). At the bottom of the page it reminds viewers that the “project will begin construction upon reaching the funding goal” (You are the Y, Lafayette!) The goal of $16,000 was raised by 32 private backers (Seth Dickerson 2016). The advantage of crowd-funding was that the target audience felt a stronger ownership over it.

Construction began shortly after all of the money was collected. A local concrete company was hired to create the letters; this helped to even further involve the community. The letters stand 6 feet tall and 12 inches deep. Each letter has “steel rod supports so the letters can be climbed on, sat on, etc.” (You are the Y, Lafayette!). And the sign sits in Parc Sans Souci because it is a well-loved and utilized public spot, and because it is on grass. Durio and the Civicside website mentioned that having the sign on grass was important because it would make climbing on the sign safer than it would have been on concrete.

Two additional pieces to YLafayette was a medal medallion and a chicken wire Y. The medallion, that was funded by Downtown Lafayette, is centered where the Y (or a person) stands, and it says something along the lines of “stand up and be the Y in Lafayette” (Durio 5:56). The chicken wire Y was inspired by the letters that were made for the Project Front Yard litter initiative / Big Event, and was made by the same local blacksmith, Sam Riehl (Durio 6:53). The Y only stands in the letters when there is a certain community fundraiser happening. For example, during Mardi Gras 2015, the Y was standing with the sign so that people could toss their unwanted Mardi Gras beads for LARC to recycle them. Over 2,000 pounds of beads were collected around Mardi Gras 2015 alone (Durio 7:29). Since 2015, each year the Y is brought out to collect Mardi Gras beads. Other causes that have brought out the Y are things like “Toys for Tots drives” and “Cajun gear for University of Louisiana at Lafayette home games” (Seth Dickerson 2016). Other than collections, the sign was once wrapped in Christmas lights as a festive spin for the holidays (Durio 7:57).

Since YLafayette’s creation, about 15-20 organizations have painted over the sign (Durio 9:05). Durio said that each organization primes and paints over the previous paintjob, and that there has not been any rounding of the corners yet (8:41). But eventually, the letters will probably have to be peeled due to the buildup of paint throughout the years, but so far so good!

Media: There was an organized champagne toast celebrating the success of the sign. The toast took place at the sign and people like the mayor, funders, and backers were able to take photos with the sign and post them on social media (Durio 07:16). In addition to the controlled media event, media coverage came from news stations, radio stations, and local papers that documented the progression of the sign. After the sign was completed and up-to-date, media and radio still fled to the Lafayette sign to talk about various events like current events, collections for beads, and Toys for Tots.

A wedding was one of the most exciting events that took place at YLafayette. The wedding was during Festival International back in 2016, which united a now Mr. and Mrs. Theriot. With about 400,000 Festival goers and their friends and family, “the couple exchanged vows in the Y and shared their first kiss as husband and wife,” coming together to create the Y in Lafayette (Durio 2016).  Durio had no idea about the wedding prior, but when she got the news, she called Roussel and they shared their excitement (23:19). Durio described it as “so moving” that someone wanted to get married at the sign she had created (23:30). In an interview Mr. and Mrs. Theriot explained to Durio that they “couldn’t have asked for a better day, or a better way to celebrate our [their] love for each other and the love for our [their] community” (Durio 2016).

A high point for YLafayette was Jason Mraz visiting the sign and taking a photo with him acting as the Y in June of 2016 (Durio 12:25). Jason Mraz is an American singer-songwriter with a current Facebook following of 13,572,410. The photo was liked over 31,000 times, shared 2,340 times, and is still live on his social media. Mraz’s caption reads “LOVE in all caps. Lafayette, Louisiana” (Jason Mraz FB 2016). Mraz also posted the same picture with the same caption on his Instagram, reaching a current total of 19,813 likes (Jason Mraz Insta 2016). And on Twitter with a current total of 2,503 likes and 1,130 retweets (Jason Mraz Twitter 2016). This publicity this photo received was incredible in terms of the YLafayette sign for two reasons. First, it reached his fans all around the globe and showed them how cool it is to come to Lafayette, but second, it created goodwill for Lafayette in terms of the city supporting gay pride. For context, the sign was “painted with the Gay Pride colors for the candlelight vigil held for the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando” (JayCee 2016).

Ted Richard, a member of Acadiana Pride and former President of the organization, painted the Gay Pride colors on the sign. It is notable to mention because he was also the one to prime and paint over the colors to paint red, white, and blue in preparation for the 4th of July. During the transition, someone approached him and questioned what he was doing. The individual and Richard had very little communication, to which the individual (and two others) called the police because they were worried that he was defacing the sign (JayCee 2016). Durio and Richard both agree that they feel good about people feeling enough ownership over the sign to contact the police when they feel like it may be being vandalized (Durio 17:53; JayCee 2016).

#YLafayette: YLafayette was created to be a star; its purpose was to brand the city and be a fun place to visit, all of which elicits the need for a single hashtag, #YLafayette. While #YLafayette is supposed to be its branded hashtag, social media users tend to go hashtag happy and label photos of the sign with tags like #lafayette #dtlafayette, and #dtlft, instead of #ylafayette. There are users who opt to have their photos and pages private, which blocks permission for people to view that they have used the hashtag. Because of this there are only a current total of 185 #ylafayette posts on Instagram and minimal hashtags on Twitter. However, Facebook seems to be the most-used outlet for interaction with the hashtag. Although there is not a feature through Facebook that counts how many times the hashtag is used, scrolling through the huge thread, it is obvious to see that that hashtag is being used by individuals, business, and organizations. Facebook pages like Parc San Souci, Downtown Alive, and Downtown Lafayette also get a fair amount of YLafayette sign pictures tagged to their locations and hashtags; creating more opportunity for online interaction, and overall more publicity for the sign.

Evaluation: YLafayette is a huge success. The success began when Durio sketched out her idea in a simple notepad and gave credit for Dallas and Amsterdam implementing structures similar to her idea. Crowd-funding the project worked seamlessly in the community because it gave its citizens a stronger sense of ownership, and it alleviated costs that the city would have absorbed. Lafayette residents flee to the sign in response to events that happen around the world, serving as a place for community expression. There have even been senior pictures (high school and college students) being taken at the letters, as well as engagement photos. The sign is a happy and bright staple of the community, and it resonates well with residents of all ages.

Along with responses and photo ops, YLafayette has experienced reoccurring paintjobs for things like UL’s homecoming, Mardi Gras, and Festival International. As a resident and frequent Parc San Souci goer, I’ve noticed that when any event takes place around the parc, the sign is painted in reference to it. For instance, the sign was painted with Po-Boys for the 2016 Po-Boy Festival. And even if the sign is not painted in reference to an event, each time there is an event in Parc San Souci, there will be interaction and recognition of the sign.

Discussion: Principles throughout this project include communication with publics, knowing who you are dealing with, news/media relations, visibility, and openness. Durio, Roussel, and everyone behind YLafayette did an incredible job of communicating with their publics through the use of the videos created and through utilizing the crow-funding website. Throughout the preliminary planning there were no secrets about how much money was needed, or who was working on the sign. There were also no hidden agendas- the purpose of the sign was clearly stated on the crow-funding website. The website even gave credit to projects similar to YLafayette that had the same look and feel as YLafayette was aiming to have. It was clear throughout the project that citizens were becoming invested, so news media was regularly on the scene of the construction in Parc San Souci. The news media involvement was welcomed and helped to further excite residents and draw attention to the sign.

As far as the knowing who you are dealing with principle, Durio and Roussel worked to include all Downtown Lafayette businesses, investors, people of power, and people who could ultimately help the project become a success. The principles of consistency, authority, and consensus continually plays part in the success of YLafayette. In the beginning stages of the project, Durio and Roussel made it a point to reach out to local businesses and investors for both authority support and financial backing. After receiving support, the videos created in part with local businesses and investors helped to announce to the public that there was community authority support for the project. And as citizens of Lafayette viewed the videos, they made the decision to share and comment on the videos, which in turn resulted in the publics’ consistency. As they began sharing and talking about it, then it can be assumed that they may have helped to fund, and even sign up to paint after the construction was completed; once people agree to doing small things in support of something, it makes it easier for them to want to do larger things, like donate or paint. Citizens and tourists continue to act consistently by posting their own YLafayette photos, signing up to repaint the sign, and inviting their friends and family to visit the sign. Collectively, authoritative support from local businesses and investors, as well as community consistency establish the community consensus that YLafayette is a successful implementation.

YLafayette embodied the principles of transparency, liking, and trust. From Durio’s first sketch, YLafayette was meant to be a community staple and a fun-for-all attraction for downtown Lafayette. Because Durio and supporters made sure the message, meaning, and intention of the sign existed fully transparent, I think it encouraged citizens to truly appreciate and like the sign. Citizens liking the sign also fostered a trust between themselves and the people implementing the sign. Once citizens liked and trusted the concept of the sign, I think it was even easier for them to get more involved by possibly helping to fund it, sharing the videos created for the sign’s behalf, or signing up to participate in painting the sign.

Finally, the YLafayette sign is the epitome of the warm and fuzzy feeling principle. The YLafayette sign is ultimately a physical symbol for the city of Lafayette that draws people into realizing that they are the “y” in Lafayette. The sign has done an incredible job of telling everyone, residents and tourists alike, “you’re why Lafayette’s so special, you make Lafayette what it is, and so you’re the Y in Lafayette” (Durio 03:05).

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