Mosaics display Louisiana history in living color

Trevis R. Badeaux
May 19, 2003

Submitted photo Louisiana history is the theme of a mosaic being created by Lafayette Parish students and the Acadiana Arts Council. The project, called “Based in Louisiana,” features mosaics placed on the 700-pound concrete blocks that once supported the Pelicans on Parade display.

The following article was found in The Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisianna. It is a clear example of how both schools and other bodies can work together for the benefit of the community.

LAFAYETTE — The Acadiana Arts Council, in partnership with local artists and the Lafayette Parish School Board, is helping students design and create a tile mosaic of various scenes from Louisiana’s history for its bicentennial celebration.

The project, called “Based in Louisiana,” is funded through state and federal grants. It features mosaics placed on the 700-pound concrete blocks that once supported the Pelicans on Parade display. The blocks will be used as park benches throughout Lafayette.

A black history mosaic, installed earlier this month at the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Bureau Center on Evangeline Thruway, is the first to be completed by the students. It features images from the Toussaint L’Ouverture slave revolt in Haiti, the civil rights movement and African textile patterns.

“This is a public art project to create works that will be here 20 years from now. Each represents the culture and history of Louisiana and America,” said Naomi Celestin, Acadiana Arts Council community education coordinator.

Markenia Boutté, 17, a junior at Comeaux High, and Abbey Hebert, 17, a sophomore at Lafayette High, began working on the project last summer. The mosaic Boutté and Hebert collaborated on features music notes, hymnals and singing choir members. The subject is jazz, a musical genre created in southern Louisiana from slave spirituals and Mississippi Delta blues.

Boutté and Hebert considered quitting after months of exhaustive research, but both decided to stay with the project to leave their own mark on Lafayette and Louisiana history.

“We’re making history. This is something people can remember us by,” Boutté said. “Besides, what’s the point of starting something if you’re not going to finish it?”

One phase of the project, funded by a Louisiana Division of the Arts grant, combined fifth grade students at Paul Breaux Middle, high school students at Northside High and Acadiana artists in the art council’s “Bright New Worlds” program.

The artists, certified to teach in a classroom setting for 50-minute sessions, worked with the students and teachers to research the Louisiana Purchase. The students garnered images from that research to create the collages in class, after school and on the weekends, Celestin said.

With federal Workforce Investment Grant funds, Acadiana artists in the art council’s “Artworks” program worked with students from various high schools in the parish. The students learned valuable workforce skills, including problem solving, meeting deadlines and working in a group, Celestin said. The program includes in-class, hands-on projects that enhance geometry, English, history and other core curriculum lessons taught over the summer.

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of:

©The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
May 19, 2003

Author: Trevis R. Badeaux
Pictures: P.C. Piazza



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