Supporting and strengthening our Cultural Economy is a big task. It requires everyone in Lafayette Parish working together toward our shared community goal to grow our local economy through Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism and Economy.  We cannot to anything about the price of oil, but we can do everything about our Cultural Economy, our 2nd largest economy by working together.


What is CREATE?

  • CREATE is a collaborative initiative that strengthens and supports the authentic cultural, recreation, entertainment, arts and tourism assets that make up our cultural economy in Lafayette Parish.
  • CREATE unifies citizens and leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors, as well as community-based organizations.
  • Recognizing our cultural economy as the second largest economic driver and employer in Lafayette Parish, CREATE brings the cultural economy to the forefront through sustained focus and innovation to expand the global reach of our culture and commerce. CREATE will help us expand and further diversify our economy through a multi-year, multi-agency effort.
  • Our local culture is a tremendous natural resource. It has helped diversify our economic platform and is poised for exploration.
    Our citizens provide a deeply-rooted, diverse, genuine, thriving, vibrant and immersive experience for visitors and residents alike. CREATE offers an opportunity to give attention to infrastructure and investments to build a community that reflects our culture.
  • CREATE will maximize our potential and identity as a community.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where does CREATE focus?

  • CREATE is a parish-wide effort in Lafayette Parish.
    • It is not to attract tourists – but works with Lafayette Travel closely so as to complement but not duplicate efforts.
    • It is not to recruit new businesses or workforce – but works with Lafayette Economic Development Authority closely so as to complement but not duplicate efforts.
    • CREATE fills a gap that has always existed by focusing on culture and recreation as quality of life investments for residents and businesses that are already invested in Lafayette Parish.
    • Rather than build a community just for visitors or new investment, CREATE believes that building a community that residents love to live in and do business in is paramount. In other words, CREATE knows that residents sharing their pride in community is more valuable than any tourism or economic development marketing campaign in keeping and recruiting revenue, investment, jobs and industry.

 

What's new about CREATE than other previous efforts?

  • CREATE exists to provide a strategy to grow and support the cultural economy made up of the culture and recreation industries in Lafayette Parish in order to diversify the economy and provide jobs. This is the first strategic effort of this magnitude and funding in the history of local government.
    • There is a major parallel of proven success to focus on here with culture and diversifying the economy in Lafayette Parish.
    • In the 1980’s, Lafayette suffered from the oil bust with many workers and industry leaving Lafayette for good.
    • This was the biggest economic depression in recent years, until 2015 and 2016 when Lafayette led the country in job losses.
    • In the 1980’s, Lafayette invested in its cultural economy through founding Festival International, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Downtown Development and Downtown Alive! And many other cultural efforts to diversify our economy from 70% reliance on the oil and gas industry in the 1908’s to 32% in 2017; making the cultural economy our 2nd largest economy.
    • Even though we were facing a devastating economic downturn, leaders at the time had the vision to be strategic with investment in ways that invested in our cultural economy in order to make us more resilient.
    • While all communities face a need for roads, bridges and other infrastructure, the leadership in the 1980’s proved how a small investment in ourselves to grow our cultural economy and tourism actually generated more community wealth to fund more roads, bridges and other infrastructure than would have been possible with just a one-time investment.
    • Learning from this proven method of diversifying our economy to make us more resilient, CREATE is investing in ourselves as an international modern city and the BEST place in the world to learn and experience our culture and recreation.
    • In other words, we were off to a good start, but it’s time to support and grow the industry that has been building us so much community wealth for the last decades without new strategies and diversified efforts.
    • Lafayette welcomes 2,890,000 visitors each year.
    • Lafayette culture contributes $33,655 jobs and $1.5 Billion each year to the economy.
    • CREATE asks, how can we grow the economy and jobs even more with a little strategy and investment in ways that would not have been possible without CREATE?

How is CREATE funded?

  • CREATE is funded through a property tax rededication of an existing tax by voters in 2017 and generates approximately $500,000 per year through this rededication through 2025, when the initiative will be brought back to voters for continuation.
    • Exact ballot language:
      The CREATE (Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism, Economy) is funded by a public vote in 2017 to dedicate a percentage of Lafayette Parish property taxes for the purpose of providing, establishing, operating, improving, and expanding public facilities and programs to foster and enhance the Parish's culture, recreation, entertainment, arts, tourism and their respective economies.

What is CREATE's mission?

  • CREATE’s Mission Statement: (http://createlafayette.la/mission-key-strategies/)
    • The CREATE Strategic Plan for Arts, Culture and Recreation supports a vision for sustainable growth through improved access, awareness and participation to culture and recreation for residents and visitors by catalyzing creative assets to improve quality of life, drive our creative economy, and stimulate investment in our community. With a transparent, actionable strategic plan based on community input, CREATE will strengthen Lafayette's creative and cultural industries, continuously tracking performance indicators to inform ongoing investment and ensure the sustainability of the sector.
      • The blueprint for this mission is identified in five goals:
        • 1. Strengthening Lafayette's cultural identity;
        • 2. Catalyzing new and existing creative assets;
        • 3. Driving strategic investment in new cultural infrastructure and revitalization efforts through matches and measurable outcomes; and
        • 4. Attracting more regional, national, and international workers, visitors, and businesses to Lafayette.

How is CREATE working toward it's goals?

  • With such a big mission, CREATE has many efforts dedicated to several industries at any one time determined by efforts that will support a 365 day / year cultural economy beyond the temporary festival and special events modeled by the majority of efforts in the 1980’s.
  • In an effort to communicate the types of projects that accomplish this long-term investment and provide a return on investment; CREATE provides guidelines for requests to partner.

How can someone access CREATE funding?

  • While CREATE is not a grant program and does not administer grants, CREATE does offer the opportunity to partner with specific guidelines found here: http://createlafayette.la/create-support/
  • When considering if a project is a good fit for CREATE, we ask:
    • Will our children and grandchildren benefit from this investment 10, 20, 50 years from now, as we have from visionary leadership and strategic investments made in the 1980’s that we still enjoy?
    • Does this raise the caliber of culture and recreation efforts in Lafayette Parish and will it help the cultural and recreational industries be more successful?
    • Since quality of life is the main contributor to retaining and attracting workforce and providing jobs, will this contribute to the type of community that retains or recruits talent, opportunity and investment?