AcA Purchases the Historic Lafayette Hardware Store
LAFAYETTE, La (press release) – Acadiana Center for the Arts (“AcA”) sets out to create a nationally significant museum dedicated to Louisiana music, musicians, and musical culture with the purchase of the historic Lafayette Hardware Store.
“The new music museum will complement our existing visitor destinations and serve as a permanent home for the many diverse stories of Louisiana music, told from a distinct “Acadiana” perspective,” said Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, an early supporter of the project.
The project initiation is being celebrated at 1:30pm on Friday, April 29, 2022, in front of the facility, where Tim and Denice Skinner will make a public check presentation to begin the project. Tim Skinner is the commercial real estate agent with Scout Realty, who served as the AcA’s realtor during the negotiations to purchase the property from the Voorhies family that owned the property. Skinner is donating his commission on the sale to AcA to symbolically kick off the project.
“At 130 years old, the hardware store is one of the most classic, beautiful buildings in Lafayette, and we are excited to take the first steps towards developing it as a new national destination for lovers of Louisiana’s music and culture,” said AcA Executive Director Samuel Oliver.
The new 10,000ft2 museum will be located at 121 W. Vermilion St, immediately adjacent to the AcA in the 130-year old building known as the Lafayette Hardware Store.
AcA expects to enter the construction phase of the project by November of 2022, pending successful fundraising efforts to support the historic renovation of the facility.
This summer, AcA expects to launch a public capital campaign to begin to raise funds for the exhibitions and to endow a permanent curator position for the museum.
“Lafayette deserves a world-class museum to serve as a resource for both visitors and local residents. It will serve as a source of pride and continuing education for our residents,” said Guillory. “We are excited for AcA to launch this ambitious and important project.”
“The project will serve as a public museum for visitors, but even more excitingly as a functional traditional dance hall,” says Chuck Boudreaux, who sits on the AcA’s Board of Directors and will co-chair Louisiana Music Museum, which will steer the project. “We will be able to gather for generations to come and celebrate the legacy of Louisiana’s musical heritage as it deserves to be celebrated,” says Boudreaux.
“Although the creation of such a museum, with Cajun and Creole music at its core, has long been a daydream of many in Acadiana’s cultural sector, it is our belief that the AcA’s current plan represents the best and most appropriate route for making it a reality,” says UL Center for Louisiana Studies Director Joshua Caffery.
The Louisiana Music Museum is a project of the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Founded in 1975, the Acadiana Center for the Arts (“AcA”) is a community-supported regional arts council and 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is “fostering art and culture in Acadiana.” Rooted in a cultural community that has made its mark on the world through food, music, and art, AcA aims to ensure that this living culture flourishes for generations to come. AcA aims to bring equitable access to the arts through intensive residency work in schools and supports fair compensation of artists.
On average, AcA serves over 300,000 people annually and provides fair compensation to 2,700 artists. AcA supports the creation of new works of art, exhibits, festivals, performances, and public art across an eight-parish region that includes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermilion Parishes. AcA is a Regional Development Agency, as designated by the State of Louisiana, with an annual operating budget in excess of $2 million, and it operates a 50,000ft2 state-of-the-art facility that includes a 20,000 sq. ft. art museum, a 300 seat theater and mixed use venue, classrooms, and offices.