Let Culture Lead
$18 MILLION BY 2030
FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE ARTS IN ACADIANA
- The Let Culture Lead initiative recognizes that the arts have the power to bring people together, promote understanding and dialogue, and create a shared sense of community and identity.
- Through this work, AcA will advance a more holistic approach to regional development that recognizes the importance of culture, heritage, and identity in building strong, resilient communities.
- AcA seeks to build partnerships between the arts community, business leaders, and policymakers to promote investment in the arts and to leverage the power of the arts to drive social, economic, and cultural change.
- Acadiana can create a more vibrant, inclusive, and prosperous region through investment in its culture.
The Let Culture Lead Initiative provides many opportunities to make your desired impact on the community through a variety of commitment levels.
Community Philanthropy will help realize the AcA’s Vision 2030 and will further solidify Acadiana as a thriving and inspiring community for people from all walks of life. Your support will inspire others to participate in building a dynamic cultural life where everyone can feel that they belong.
One hundred percent of your gift will be invested back into the community to advance the cause of arts and culture in Acadiana by placing the arts at the center of community development efforts.
IN OUR CULTURE to enhance our vibrant community
The AcA envisions Acadiana as a region that is recognized nationally for its multicultural artistic heritage and its robust pipeline of diverse artists and musicians.
- Creative Acadiana
- Cultural Leadership Summit
- Transformation Fund
Pathway Goal: $2 million
Investing in our culture helps create a strong and vibrant community because culture inspires creativity and connection. By investing in cultural initiatives, we provide a fertile ground for innovation to thrive. Cultural activities encourage thinking outside the box, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and the exploration of new ideas, which can have far-reaching positive effects.
By valuing and supporting our cultural expression, we cultivate a thriving and inclusive community that is enriched by its unique identity and shared experiences. Cultural investment provides opportunities for people to interact, share experiences, and build relationships. These connections create a stronger social fabric, promoting understanding, empathy, and cooperation among all its members.
By investing in cultural initiatives, we not only preserve our heritage and identity but ensure that future generations have a connection to their roots. This sense of continuity encourages pride, respect and a shared understanding of who we are as a people.
Culture enriches lives. Culture inspires. Culture brings people together. Culture fosters understanding and solidarity.
Investing in culture helps improve our quality of life.
—Erica Fox, Founder, Maison Freetown
OUR CULTURE to young people
The AcA envisions Acadiana as a place where the next generation will always have art and culture embedded in their education, serving as a national example of innovation and success.
- Eight Parish Strategy
- Teaching Artist Institute
Pathway Goal: $3 million
We are unique—unique in music, arts, cuisine, traditions, and heritage languages.
Elements of deep culture resonate with youth as well as adults who live within our area, but further education in specific aspects of our culture can re-awaken a desire to live the beautiful heart of ‘who we are’ most profoundly.
Often school curricula do not tap this wellspring of creativity, so it is important for organizations such as the AcA to reunite young and old with our vibrant and treasured culture. This not only feeds the spirit of individuals, but makes us all ambassadors to our region that is rich in the arts—both folk arts and classical arts, languages and traditions that we’ve inherited from those who have come before us.
This impacts our cultural economy, our social fiber, and our sense of well-being. Teaching culture matters!
—Burnell Lemoine, Retired Superintendent, Lafayette Parish School System
OUR CULTURE by engaging in art, music, and community
The AcA envisions Lafayette as a welcoming beacon and destination hub for people who care about creativity and culture in the South.
- Music and Performance Fund
- Exhibition Fund
- Arts and Technology Fund
Pathway Goal: $3 million
In a time where everything everywhere is becoming homogenous, it’s more important than ever to engage in the things that define where we live.
We have to support originality. We have to support uniqueness. We have to support our creative community.
Seek out art. Seek out music. Seek out the places and events that give our home soul.
—Katie Culbert, owner of Wild Child Wines & Kiki
OUR CULTURE with new developments that seed future growth in the arts
The AcA envisions the Lafayette Arts District as a place that is recognized nationally for providing a vibrant and culturally inclusive experience for visitors.
- Louisiana Music Museum – read more
- Lafayette Arts District
- Public Art Network
Pathway Goal: $5 million
My work recently brought me to music festivals in California and Oregon. Thousands danced to Geno Delafose, Steve Riley, and other musicians who cut their teeth at this place they still call home. Dancers stood in long lines for plates of crawfish boiled by a vendor from Opelousas. They packed a tent where a Lafayette chef gave lessons on stirring up an alligator andouille sauce piquante. Their satisfied faces and dancing feet signaled their joy. But their words were often unsettling – “We love zydeco. We love Cajun food. We can’t wait to come to New Orleans.”
We love the Crescent City too, but so much Louisiana richness comes from right under our feet. Musicians, chefs and artisans help set the record straight, but they can’t do it alone.
If a visitor or new local asks where’s the good food, music, art or a place to parle français, what will you say? If the dance hall you would have recommended is out of business, or your favorite musician is sick and needs charity, why is that? Some visitors have moved here because of the answers they hear and see. Others move on to New Orleans.
It is important to build our culture with new projects like the Louisiana Music Museum because, if we don’t do it, someone else will.
—Herman Fuselier, host of Zydeco Stomp & Executive Director of St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission
OUR CULTURE to future generations by supporting the arts
We envision the Acadiana Center for the Arts as a team with the right people in the right roles and the support needed to drive this work for generations to come.
- 50th Anniversary Endowment
Pathway Goal: $5 million
A man may plant a tree with no realistic expectation that he will ever sit in its shade. Nevertheless, he unselfishly plants it as a legacy for the enjoyment and benefit of those who follow. It is with that mindset that we whole-heartedly support the mission of the Acadiana Center for the Arts, feeling so blessed to live in a community unique to all others that is enriched by our arts and culture.
The labors, sacrifices and forethought of those who created and nurtured all that is special about Acadiana deserve our gratitude and respect; for without them and those who continue to perpetuate and enhance our traditions, we might not be so incredibly blessed today or in the future.
Please support the LET CULTURE LEAD campaign knowing that those who planted our shade trees almost 50 years ago with the inception of the Acadiana Arts Council may be honored by our support now of the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
A man doesn’t plant a tree for himself. He plants it for posterity.
—Dr. Ronnie Daigle, Physician & AcA Board President (2022-2024)
WAYS OF GIVING
The Let Culture Lead Initiative provides many opportunities to meet your financial needs and to fit your desired impact on the community.
Through Current Investment
A major gift to current programs is an investment in the arts today. This type of gift to the collaborative mission of the AcA will be dedicated to the current needs and plans laid out in Vision 2030. You will provide immediate impact!
Through Long-Term Investment
Through Planned Investment
My father and I are both enthusiastic supporters of the AcA in its mission to foster art and culture in Acadiana. Through its wide range of programs, exhibitions, and performances, the AcA is a hub for creativity and artistic expression that captures the essence and spirit of Acadiana.
We are proud to support an organization that actively promotes diversity and equity in the arts. The AcA continually seeks to bridge the gaps that have historically marginalized BIPOC artists by fostering an environment of understanding, respect, and collaboration. Their dedication to promoting cultural awareness and inclusivity aligns closely with our values, and we stand alongside them in this important endeavor.
Furthermore, the AcA plays a crucial role in education and outreach programs, ensuring that our youth are exposed to various forms of art and that young artists have access to resources and mentorship opportunities. By investing in the next generation of creatives, AcA paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for the arts within our community.
—Aleisha Johnson Cook, AcA Board Member
Let Culture Lead is an initiative that seeks to advance the cause of arts and culture in Acadiana by placing the arts at the center of community development efforts. The initiative recognizes that the arts are an essential part of the region’s identity and heritage and that investing in the arts can help to promote economic growth, community development, and cultural preservation.
The idea behind Let Culture Lead is that our rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts have already paved the way for our region’s growth. We just need to dedicate ourselves to supporting and stewarding that work in order to see our region truly thrive.
This initiative represents a commitment to advancing the cause of arts and culture in Acadiana by recognizing the essential role that the arts play in the community. By placing the arts at the center of community development efforts, the initiative seeks to promote economic growth and cultural preservation while creating a more inclusive and vibrant place for future generations.
Acadiana is a culturally rich region located in South Louisiana that is known for its vibrant music, dance, and visual arts scenes. The arts are an essential part of Acadiana’s cultural heritage. Acadiana’s music, dance, and visual arts traditions are unique and valuable, reflecting the region’s history and identity.
The arts are critical for education and personal development. There is a substantial body of knowledge developed over the past 40 years that suggests that integrating the arts into learning creates many positive impacts on overall achievement . Students with high levels of arts involvement are less likely to drop out of school . Arts education’s implementation in Early Childhood improves vocabulary, communication, and memory in young children . High levels of arts involvement among disadvantaged students is related to finding a better job, earning a degree, and likelihood of the student going on to volunteer, demonstrating not just increased achievement but also growth of attributes like empathy .
The arts provide numerous economic benefits to the region. Our region’s vibrant arts scene draws people from around the world to experience the rich culture of Acadiana, resulting in increased tourism and economic growth. Supporting the arts in Acadiana means investing in the local economy and helping to create jobs and opportunities for artists and creative professionals.
By investing in the arts, we can help to create a stronger, more vibrant Acadiana for all.
 Fiske, Edward B., Ed. (1999). Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning.
 Catterall, James & Dumais, Susan & Hampden-Thompson, Gillian. (2012). The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies.
 Asbury, Carolyn & Rich, Barbara. (2008). Learning, Arts, and the Brain: The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition.
 Catterall, James. (2009). Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art: A 12-Year National Study of Education in the Visual and Performing Arts and the Effects on the Achievements and Values Of Young Adults.
Some of my forebears came to Acadiana after being expelled from Acadie—present day Nova Scotia. Two hundred and fifty years ago, moving to this place was seen as an opportunity for those hard-worn and weary people to plant seeds that future generations would reap. They innovated, adopting new ways of life in South Louisiana, learning from and sharing cultures with Africans, Native Americans, and Creoles. And they passed on their traditions in song, language, and way of life. Through large and small actions, those people stewarded their culture. Because of their work, we reap what they sowed in our distinctive culture of music, dance, and joie de vivre.
How will we plant those seeds again today? How do we foster the vibrancy and sense of place that might merit the admiration of our children and grandchildren? The way we can plant those seeds is by leaving a legacy in the culture that shapes us.
Compare our investment in arts and culture today to other sectors of public service, such as schools, hospitals, and social services, and you will find only minimal investment. For more than a generation, Louisiana has ranked poorly on key measurements of education, health and welfare, and economic development. Those areas need investment to effect real change, and the solutions may still be generations away.
Where we have continued to thrive (even with such small investment) is in our unique community character, our festivals, and our creative people applying themselves to making music, art, and other manners of expression. It is in the creative and cultural sector that Acadiana has continued to innovate and make a mark on the world.
In this initiative , we ask the question: what if we Let Culture Lead? We imagine a future where we place real investment behind our creativity and culture that drives real growth and vitality for the future. Imagine if Acadiana took its rightful place as a cultural destination and creative hub in the South?
To build that future, AcA envisions the “five pathways” of investment in our culture—building off all we have done—building on Acadiana’s many existing strengths, filling in key gaps, and leading us to a brighter future for our children. If we “Let Culture Lead,” our future can be as bright and dynamic as our history ever was.
I hope you will read on and join us to plant those seeds today.
– Samuel M. Oliver, Executive Director, Acadiana Center for the Arts