The Louisiana Crafts Guild, recently evicted from the historic Sans Souci building which requires major repairs, has found a new home in downtown Lafayette.
The guild has signed a lease for space at 551 Jefferson Street and expects to reopen the Sans Souci Gallery this Spring, with a target date of March 1.
Located near Parc de Lafayette, the new space is larger than the previous gallery space at 219 E. Vermilion Street, in Parc Sans Souci, which was its home since 2001.
Louisiana Crafts Guild Administrator Gene Meneray said in a news release the new space will give the Guild the opportunity to showcase the work of its 225 artist members from across the state, offering a larger inventory of jewelry, glass, fiber, ceramics and word working, along with additional paintings, photography and furniture.
The Crafts Guild, founded in Lafayette, anticipates its new home may be the largest retail gallery featuring crafts in the state, Meneray wrote, and may host visiting artists, themed exhibitions, workshops and classes.
Built in 1847, the Sans Souci building is one of the oldest in Lafayette and has played a historic role in the city, serving as an inn, post office, the first newspaper office and the Sans Souci Bookshop.
The Downtown Development Authority gave the building to the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority in 2014 because it needed repairs. Some were made but more are needed, LPTFA Executive Director Kevin Blanchard previously said. The arts guild's lease was continued on a monthly basis.
In October, the LPTFA board agreed to repair the building and sell it to the Downtown Development Authority for the appraised value of $156,000 if the LPTFA has a lease with a tenant paying rent high enough to pay into an ongoing maintenance fund.
Meneray said at the time the guild offered to pay market value rent to stay in the building, but he and Blanchard disagreed on what that is.
Blanchard said the guild was paying such low rent for years that the LPTFA was essentially subsidizing the group.