St. Tammany Parish introduced the architectural design team led by Wilson Butler Architects, who have been selected to design the Parish's proposed Cultural Arts District. The Parish selected the team several months ago to begin the design process and provide expertise in determining the scope and vision for this long-term project.
“This Cultural Arts District will invigorate the economy here in St. Tammany Parish, add another essential component to our exceptional quality of life, enhance arts education, and provide a place that will create jobs and commerce,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We realize that the recent developments in Baton Rouge may have changed our course, but they have not derailed our long-term vision. As we adjust for these circumstances, we will continue to work to provide a home for the arts and a place that will serve our children's needs into the future, and that will have the most profound generational impact.”
"We have a great program, a realistic budget and an absolutely gorgeous site," said Scott Wilson, Director of Boston- based Wilson Butler Architects. "The hallmark of a successful process is the people — bringing it all together creating an arts center that will be cherished for 100 years. Our design team is exceptional and, I must add, the Parish leadership and management team seem outstanding as well. All together, tremendous success is inevitable."
While the Cultural Arts Districts is currently in the conceptual phase, the architectural team, as well as the internal St. Tammany Parish Government team, is utilizing the findings of a feasibility study conducted in 2014, input from potential user groups, the public and stakeholders, to develop programming and begin the design phase to satisfy those needs. Programming is expected to include live concerts of every musical genre, festivals, art exhibits and theatre performances. In addition, the Performing Arts Center, slated to anchor the District, will be multifaceted to include an educational component, as well as enable the arts community, the business community and the private sector, to access the facility for various uses like large-scale exhibitions, seminars and speakers, and private events. The educational component of the facility will focus on the youth in St. Tammany and offer programming designed around fostering the innate talent of school-aged children.
The natural landscape of the Tchefuncte River and the thick tree canopy are central design features and will be incorporated into the project at every level. In addition to the Performing Arts Center — nature trails, the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany, and a full-service hotel and restaurant are among the many amenities the District will encompass.