LAYAYA Imaginarium Studios

by Jo Hughes

 

Plaquemines Pride Public Art Project

A LAYAYA - Jo Hughes Art Collaboration Project celebrating  Plaquemines Parish!

Want to be involved? Leave us a message below and let us know if you would like to be involved in the project to bring public art to all areas of Plaquemines Parish! We always need volunteers, sponsors and "Friends of LAYAYA"!  

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FAQ

Who pays for the sculptures? 

LAYAYA is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit. We receive no parish, state or federal funding to do what we do. It is truly a labor of love! Since we have a TINY budget made up of parent support, fundraisers and donations we would be unable to cover the costs of materials and the extra expenses involved in the project. We are reaching our to other organizations, festivals, businesses, individuals and community leaders to help us cover the costs. We are also looking for other sources of funding in grants and foundation contributions towards costs but the application process is very competitive and the grant funding is limited.  The sculptures are being sponsored at less than 30% of the retail value because of those willing to give time and talents to make it happen! 

How will it be decided where each sculpture is placed?  It is our goal to spread the public art across ALL areas of Plaquemines!  Businesses that sponsor a sculpture may choose to have it placed on that property (or may choose another approved location). We hope to place them in parks, medians, and other public places where they can be enjoyed for years to come. All locations must adhere to the regulations of Plaquemines Parish permit laws and ordinances.  We will work closely with PPG in this area of the project.  

I would like to help but I can not afford to sponsor a sculpture and I am not an artist. What can I do to make sure this happens? 

As mentioned, the sculptures are being offered at a very low rate but we understand that not everyone can sponsor one. If you would like to make sure that one is placed in your area you can become a PPPAP Team Leader and work towards making it happen! Team Leaders will organize others in their area to raise funds, get sponsors, and help promote the project. They also help organize a "Care Committee" to adopt the sculpture and make sure that the area is kept clean and even landscaped around the art!  ALL Team Leaders, Team members and Care Committees will be listed on the website page for each sculpture in addition to the sponsors. 

How will the sculptures help promote Plaquemines Parish?  PPPAP will promote Plaquemines in several ways! Not only are we working on sculptures but each sculpture will be assigned a unique QR code. The codes will be placed on the sculpture base and can be scanned using a phone. When someone scans the code it takes them to the webpage for that sculpture where they will find videos and video interviews about the subject of the sculpture and how it applies to our culture, history and community.  Sponsors, Team Leaders and Volunteers will also be listed on those pages. We will partner with Louisiana Office of Tourism and Culture as well as our Parish to encourage everyone to take photos of (or with) the sculptures and post them to social media with the hashtags #PlaqueminesPride and #OnlyLouisiana    

Why Public Art? Why Plaquemines Parish?
(We are glad you asked!)

What we hope to accomplish with PPPAP goes far beyond placing art sculptures across our parish. We are working to engage people and organizations in our community to ensure that the subjects of the sculptures are a true reflection of what we hold dear – those things that make us proud to call Plaquemines home. We are working hard to make sure that voices from every corner of our community are heard and that we honor the diverse cultures and traditions, history and contributions across Plaquemines! 

You can help us determine what sculptures should be placed and have a voice in the project by completing the online survey.  Click HERE to do the short survey! 

Arts and culture make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities. They are powerful tools with which to engage communities and are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, provide a powerful tool for community cohesion and are a visual reminder of who we are as a collective culture. A peripheral benefit of community based public art is the personal feeling of appreciation and value that residents feel when a piece of public art is placed. It is a gift that speaks to the unity and importance of the people in the community. All too often we think of community as a place that is found on a map but we would like to use art as a visual reminder that it is the people from all corners of our parish that MAKES a community!  

WHY HERE?

The project was designed by Joannie Hughes, the founder of LAYAYA (Louisiana Young Artists & Young Authors/Actors). It has been an important part of her mission to keep the LAYAYA organization and studio based in Plaquemines Parish because she grew up here, raised a son here and is an invested resident of  the community. 

 After contributing to and completing sculpture and mural projects across the Gulf South states and in the New Orleans area, she realized that her home was one of only 3 parishes of 64 in the state that did not have public art.  With so much to celebrate about the culture of Plaquemines Parish she started working on a way to bring the first public art to Plaquemines while teaching the skill and craft to younger artists at LAYAYA. Being one of only two independent fiberglass sculptors left in Louisiana, she felt it important to teach younger artists and partnered with LAYAYA to make sure that future generations of artists in our area can continue this work.

 The first sculpture "Salty the Sailfish" was based on the Plaquemines Parish Mascot. He is currently installed at the Plaquemines Parish Government Building. (He may be moved at a later date) and replaced by another sculpture.  

At that time she decided to enhance the project and the skills that would be taught by making it a multi-department project. Each sculpture will be assigned a QR code on the base which can be scanned with a phone. When someone scans it they are taken to a web page about the sculpture and the subject of the sculpture. The LAYAYA creative writing department  students will be writing articles and content for the pages as well as interviewing people in the parish. The LAYAYA Performing arts students will be assisting with videos as well as audio clips for the web page. The production team will help produce the materials.  As an example, the oyster sculpture will be linked to a webpage that may contain video, audio or written interviews with resident oyster fishermen, restaurant owners or chefs who use oysters in culinary arts, articles about why it is important to protect the area and the environment for the oyster industry, photos of the area, even recipes from local residents who cook with Plaquemines Oysters may be featured! Each sculpture will represent a celebration of the subject of the sculpture and its relationship to Plaquemines. It is our goal that the pages are used to promote, educate, celebrate, document and entertain!  Through this portion of the project, new generations will also learn or enhance several skills such as creative writing, journalism, public speaking, web design, video/audio production and an appreciation of our history and culture! We will encourage everyone to take a photo of (or with) the sculptures and post them on social media using hashtags #PlaqueminesPride and the Louisiana Department of Culture #OnlyLouisiana  

The survey - what you have said so far!

The response to the online survey has been amazing! We will continue to survey residents for a bit longer but wanted to share the results from just the first few days! 

In just 2 days time we had 200 residents respond. The response has been overwhelmingly positive in several ways and it is exciting to see so many resident of Plaquemines Parish so enthusiastic and excited about the project.  We will update the survey response as once it closes to let everyone know the final results. In the first 2 days of the survey here is what YOU have had to say!


We will continue to keep the survey open until August 15th. If you have not yet done so, please go to the survey page and tell us what you think! 

*94.6% of the 204 people responding in the first 2 days feel that public art is important! (of the 6 people who chose "No" it should be noted that all of them still chose sculptures and locations for them to be placed but made comments that indicate that they did not understand how they would be funded. ("We need to put that money towards a new bridge." and "I feel that these should be donated free of charge instead of paying for them." are examples)