Splashes of color meant to breathe life into downtown Lafayette

Benches surrounding park fountain to get facelift

The benches encircling the popular water fountain at Parc Sans Souci downtown are set for a colorful makeover Saturday with designs created by local students.

The benches — like the lamp posts, trash cans, parking meters and nearly every publicly owned piece of metal in downtown — are now dark green, and the project on Saturday is expected to be the first of many to gradually replace that monotony with something a bit more lively.

“If you’ve got only one color, that’s great, but it doesn’t reflect the creativity in our community,” Downtown Development Authority CEO Nathan Norris said.

The DDA has been working with students at Paul Breaux Middle School to develop design ideas for the benches.

The students will paint the benches themselves beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday as part of the Student Arts Expo, a day of student art exhibits and activities downtown that will stretch into downtown’s 2nd Saturday ArtWalk from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The benches around the water fountain seemed a natural place to start dressing up downtown, considering it’s a popular gathering spot for children and their parents, DDA Marketing and Communications Manager Kate Durio said.

“If that fountain is down, the phones are ringing. It’s seen a lot of growth in the kid market,” she said. “They should be able to play in a creative place.”

Durio said the students were given a black-and-white, coloring book-style image of the bench and asked to fill it in as they saw fit.

“We’ve just kind of opened it up and said come up with some concepts,” Durio said.

The chosen designs include an image of the Acadian flag, one that looks like a patchwork quilt, one of vertical black-and-white stripes and another with red hearts on a blue background.

Durio said DDA hopes to begin reaching out to other schools, working artists and community groups for similar artistic collaborations, livening up downtown’s fire hydrants, light poles and power boxes.

For information about Saturday’s Student Arts Expo, visit www.acadianacenterforthearts.org.