YAYA Arts Center

the yaya arts center is a professional/instructional art campus focused on visual arts and entrepreneurship training that creatively combines educational, gallery, administrative, and outdoor maker spaces into an inspiring place. the project grew out of the relationships byron mouton had established with neighborhood leaders during urbanbuild8 and came to life as a true collaboration between bild, landis construction, harmony neighborhood development, and yaya.

yaya’s mission is to empower creative young people to become successful adults. since 1988, the organization has provided educational experiences in the arts and entrepreneurship to new orleans-area children and youth, fostering and supporting their individual ambitions.

this new art center stands as the first major civic project realized in pursuit of the revitalization of the historic lasalle street corridor. conceptually, the low-budget project was conceived as a “blank canvas” for varied and adaptive uses through teaching programs and events housed within two structures: a multipurpose arts building and an open air glass working studio. the buildings serve as backdrop to various instructional, social, and creative activities. their siting aims to frame a welcoming, outdoor, creative courtyard which suits hands-on creating and fabricating as well as community and social events. new orleans’ temperate climate allows for this space to be used year round.

as is often the case with community arts programs, ya ya’s resources are limited, so the project faced expected budgetary constraints and was realized with great reliance upon patronage. prioritization of important program functions and creative selection of building systems made achieving the project’s goals within a limited budget possible; the use of a prefabricated metal building system as utilitarian enclosure for the back glass working studio offered cost savings that allowed for the realization of a new, more substantial multipurpose facility that fronts the street. this front building includes an art gallery, administrative offices, and classroom spaces. a signature fence component designed in collaboration with a local artist completes the street façade and provides a fresh new face to the community.

construction: landis, general contractor

structural engineer: walter zehner