Meet the nine creative recipients of the 2022 ArtSpark grant!


Pictured: Recipients of the 2022 ArtSpark Stipend. L-R/Top to Bottom: Kelli Jones, Jillian Godshall, Marla Kristicevich, Philip Gould, Suzanne E. Wiltz, Kelli Foret Richard, Paul Schexnayder, Michelle Colón, Carey Hamburg

LAFAYETTE, LA – Acadiana Center for the Arts and Lafayette Economic Development Authority announce nine recipients for the 2022 ArtSpark grant, which supports creative entrepreneurs.

The ArtSpark program was developed to support individual artists and creatives in Acadiana by funding the creation of new projects and professional development opportunities. The artists will take home a share in $27,500 and complete projects that will take place between April 1, 2022 and December 1, 2022.

The 2022 cohort offers a wide range of projects over varying disciplines and includes multidisciplinary, experiential, and eco-focused projects from emerging, mid-career and established artists.

“LEDA is proud to support the ArtSpark program which has been successful in turning many artists’ ideas into viable businesses that enrich the community, enhance our quality of life, and serve as inspiration for future artists.” Mandi Mitchell, LEDA Executive Director.

“Our creative workforce is on par with any community in the country, and we are proud to keep investing in their growth on the national stage with LEDA’s support,” says Samuel Oliver, AcA Executive Director

This cycle sees some well-known artists, such as Philip Gould and Kelli Jones, expand on their existing skills and look at fresh ways to engage with their audience and community. It also highlights some strong emerging voices with the likes of Michelle Colón (aka Malentina) who will continue to pave the way for her unique brand of Latino pop music.

A full list of artists and projects can be found below.

These awards are available on a yearly cycle and interested artists are encouraged to contact the Community Development Department on to start discussing their creative endeavors ahead of the next submission period, which will open in late December.

Some noteworthy artists who have been recipients of the award in previous years include Dirk Guidry (2017), Hannah ‘Gumbo’ Thibodeaux (2018, 2021), Clare Cook (2016, 2021), Denise Gallagher (2019), Aileen Bennett (2021) and Lynda Frese (2019).


Details of projects funded by ArtSpark in 2021

2022 Artists:

Kelli Jones
Project: A new e-zine series, “The Coop,” is a monthly short-format digital magazine comprised of highly-curated content for Louisiana music fans, locals, and tourists alike. Featuring videos, interviews, musical content, recipes, historical profiles, French featurettes, and other unique content culled from local musicians, chefs, storytellers, artists, and other purveyors of culture from Acadiana.

Jillian Godshall
Project: “HOME OF EVANGELINE” blends animation and documentary to craft an original retelling of one of Louisiana’s most revered folktales. As the story goes, a young woman named Evangeline wandered from Canada to Louisiana after being separated from her new husband Gabriel during the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755. Since then, the story has been told and retold so often that it has contributed much to the ethos and identity of South Louisiana. However, in its continual retelling, several versions of the Evangeline story emerged, each full of contrasting details about which there is wide debate.


Marla Kristicevich
Project: “Meander Mindset: Teche” will explore & investigate the landscape of the Bayou Teche starting at the Teche in St Landry parish and meandering through to the end in St Mary Parish traveling in a small skiff, the Lady Lucinda, with photographer Kristie Cornell who will document the artists eco-installations & the landscape through photography.

Philip Gould
Project: A photography series of aerial views taken with a drone and from charter aircraft which offer a heightened sense of place for Lafayette, Acadiana, and Louisiana. This will showcase Louisiana’s evocative landscapes and landmarks and portray the difficult challenges we face with coastal erosion and ongoing sea level rise.

Suzanne E. Wiltz
Project: A poetry performance at the Teche Theater in Franklin centered around real-life ancestor Zebulon (who according to family legend was sold away from the family during slavery times and never heard from again). The proposed poetry cycle will explore and imagine Zebulon’s reactions to the 19 extant historical markers and war memorials in Franklin – none of which honor African-Americans.

Kelli Foret Richard
Project: “Drawn to Grow,” a project rooted in Food Sovereignty, Decentralization and Regenerative Agriculture Practices and aims to engage the community with a call to action. Some scientists believe, if we do not change our conventional agricultural ways, our planet has about 57 harvest years left until we reach full desertification, which is the process by which land becomes desert as a result of deforestation or inappropriate agriculture. 57 drawings of foods, plants, etc. that can be easily grown at home in our region will be created. Each drawing will offer a small nugget of awareness about these important topics.

Paul Schexnayder
Project: “Kathleen Babineaux Blanco-A Woman of FIRSTS,” is a narrative-bio children’s book that follows her journey from the cane fields of Coteau in Iberia parish to the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.

Michelle Colón
Project: Music video for “Llorando En La Disco”, the lead single of a new five-song original EP titled ‘Camellia’. The music video is set in a cowboy-themed bar, and shows an outsider looking for a place to belong and someone to be.

Carey Hamburg
Project: The art installation would feature a 25 foot diameter metal-frame dome, covered to represent a giant drop of water. Inside the dome will be large scale sculptures of the microscopic animals and plants that could “live” inside. Visitors to the dome could experience an imaginative shrinking journey to microscopic size and then explore life within a water-drop.

March 1, 2022

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