Walter Pierce

Performance space rising beside AcA

by Walter Pierce

If your daily transit doesn’t take you along East Vermilion Street downtown and in front of the Acadiana Center for the Arts, you may have missed a startling transformation over the last few days as a multi-million dollar expansion to the AcA rapidly takes shape.

Massive pre-fabricated concrete slabs forming the walls of what will become a performing arts space are being trucked in and hoisted into place with a 100-foot crane. Seven slabs rising about 12 feet higher than the adjacent arts center are in place, forming the back wall of the space. The $15 million project, being paid for by state funding, began in April with the demolition of the old LBA Savings Bank drive-thru. Once completed, the 300-seat theatre will feature all the amenities of a world-class performance space, including high-definition audio/visual systems, a flexible floor plan to accommodate myriad types of performance art, studio-quality “silent” air conditioning and a design meant to maximize acoustics.

The Acadiana Arts Council manages the city-owned AcA and oversees dozens of annual exhibitions and performances there. The AAC, like more than two-dozen other arts/cultural and social service non-profits, will find out July 21 whether Lafayette Consolidated Government will phase out public funding when the council votes on an ordinance to do just that.