What is today the NUNU Arts and Culture Collective, was at first a 2005 business venture by visual artist George Marks and his nephew Jeremy Rivette. A means to create studio work space while establishing a venue for the promotion of local art. That it would become a generator of creative placemaking, a lodestone of Louisiana French language and culture, inspire a rural art movement and prove itself to be an economic development driver was unseen and unexpected.

Marks and Rivette opened The Town Market gallery in 2005 on La 31, just south of the Bayous Teche and Fuselier junction. Within one year, it included work by 40 emerging artists who sold to a growing audience of urban dwellers seeking new and culturally authentic venues. Area residents supporting the business sought to include activities and the Frederick l’Ecole des Arts nonprofit was created for development of educational opportunities furthering interests in art, culture and French Louisiana language.

It is here, among the raku pottery, ting and tang of vibrantly colored glass mobiles, numerous paintings, furniture art and cedar sculptures, that town residents and artists meet for lunch every second Tuesday and brainstorm together for ways to promote their emerging art community. - “Portrait of Success,” Louisiana Life magazine, Spring 2007.

Ever adapting to the wants and wishes of its supporters, The Town Market added a kitchen and then a stage for performance. A monthly Potluck social featured exhibiting artists and a one-day festival, “Le Feu et l’Eau,” expanded exhibition and performance opportunities to the many artists displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

At 137-years-old, Arnaudville has seen the ebb and flow of many, including early settlers heading west. Off the beaten path and with little in the way of historic buildings, this town of 502 households has struggled in recent years to tap into the cultural tourism industry that now bolsters Louisiana’s economy. Here at last is a product that’s drawing visitors while at the same time providing locals with both social and cultural opportunities – not to mention lots of fun. - “Portrait of Success,” Louisiana Life magazine, Spring 2007.

In 2006 along Bayou Fuselier the long closed Mallet Market is purchased and transformed into Tom’s Fiddle and Bow, and the former ??? is likewise beautifully repaired and repurposed for use as a small guest cottage, “Turtle Cove.” Following a difficult government purchasing process, sculptor William Lewis  begins in 2007 to readapt a former two-cell jail into a guest cottage and three-story water plant into an extreme home. Then in 2009, the Knott family decides to open the Bayou Teche Brewery.

As the Town Market closed for the night

Marks says as devastating as the fire was to both Town Market and the community, this break in activity resulted in the time to step back and rethink directions. “The question before us was: ‘Should we try to re-create what was? Or define?’” he says. “An evaluation was conducted that resulted in four general areas of concentration: arts and culture, career development, education and sustainable development.” - “where Streams Meet,” Acadiana Profile magazine, Oct-Nor. 2012

, and in 2012, Arnaudville gets its first new restaurant in many years, The Little Big Cup coffee shop, which within months expands to become a full service restaurant.

that features exhibiting artistsThe Town Market was a place that was open to was open to  . educational .  and within no time, talents previously known by few     
In addition, the Town Market provided local residents with a gathering place where round-table discussions resulted in exchanges of ideas and the creation of other venues of interests.
“We first looked at existing cultural assets: French language usage; traditional musical genres; and local visual artists, including naturalist and historic painter Vincent Darby,” says Marks, co-owner of Town Market. “The concept of ‘art plus culture equals business’ was introduced to local businesses, and then a focus was placed on developing new art commerce through the creation of reoccurring art and cultural events.”
Local people, deeply vested in the community, volunteered their time. The nonprofit Frederick l’École des Arts was created, and grants were written for assistance with supporting new events: Music of Acadiana Performance Series, La Table Française d’Arnaudville, Acadiana Irish Music Sessions, Le Feu et l’Eau (Fire and Water) Rural Arts Celebration and the Bayou Blues festival.

Fire destroyed the facility in July of 2010.  Marks says as devastating as the fire was to both Town Market and the community, this break in activity resulted in the time to step back and rethink directions. “The question before us was: ‘Should we try to re-create what was? Or define?’” he says. “An evaluation was conducted that resulted in four general areas of concentration: arts and culture, career development, education and sustainable development.”
Born from the fire was NuNu Arts and Culture Collective, a nonprofit that functions as a community resource pool working to promote culture through use of artists and the arts as drivers of economic development. The nonprofit is now located within the former Singleton Hardware Store, a 5,000-square-foot cypress building just west of the town of Arnaudville's corporate limits.

that ultimately inspired a rural art movement that drew artists to Arnaudville, and following them were the collectors and audiences that support them.     
Mission Statement

The NUNU Collective is an educational nonprofit that works to encourage the development of artistic talents, skills, knowledge and business savvy by connecting artists with other artists, businesses, organizations and programs. It serves as a stage/platform/gallery for creative living by facilitating community, economic, and artistic/cultural development.

Why we do what we do
At the core of development is a dedication to fostering a living culture using a combination of art, music, dance and Louisiana French. Retaining authenticity is the central driving force. Programming that is community responsive takes shape organically: some successful, some not. results organically  to all programming, as is responsiveness to community interests.   including: La Table Français d'Arnaudville, where locals and visitors alike share conversation filled with stories and song over a complimentary cup of coffee; Le Village Gaulois, French immersion class...in a place that is peaceful, small but happening, within walking distance, affordable, where folks are kind, air is fresher and where there are even smaller places that can be impacted in a positive way that isn’t connected to a structured gallery scene, access to the environment and people for inspiration, direct line to producers and a marketable mystique.

Where do we do what we do
Our base of operations is located on the site of the old Sinleton complex which includes the old hardware store, lumber kiln, sweet potato kiln and barn on the immediate outskirts of the small rural town of Arnaudville, population 1069 and a post office that services 15,000. 

Straddling the parishes of St Landry and St Martin and 30 minutes from Lafayette, Arnaudville is located in the heart of rural Acadiana at the junction of Bayous Teche and Fuselier. This distance from the federal highway system has contributed to area retention of spoken Louisiana French. All eight approaches to Arnaudville take you through a history filled scenic prairie. It is a place where our culture adds to our economy. In recent years, the Arnaudville area has become a haven for musicians, artists, dancers, writers, photographers, culinary, eco adventurers, and champions of the French language where approximately four out of 10 residents still speak French on a daily basis.

We extend well beyond our local boundary lines

Project developments, always inclusive of Louisiana French language and/or culture, are: the five-day Semaine de la Francophone Creative Placemaking Summit that in 2018 partners with four Acadiana communities, including Lafayette and Festival International de Louisiane; the two-acre Teche Farm eco-parc and business incubator, partnering with St. Martin Parish School Board and Acadiana Native Plant Project for offer of workshops in pollinator gardens, bee keeping, hydroponic gardening, herbs, composting, and product development from bees wax, pine needle and bark, and gourds; the St. Landry Placemaking Task Force partnering Arnaudville, Sunset and Grand Coteau area projects directed at providing community improvement (former Sunset High School repurpose as a French immersion charter school for children, repurpose of former chicken fighting area grounds into Tiny House village, public art design projects for Grand Coteau loop and Precast Concrete fence line, and the repurpose of a rural Arnaudville hospital into the first US adult French Immersion and Cultural Campus).

Prior projects include partnerships with: Les Articulteurs of Briton, France, resulting in art and music participation in the 2013 la Bogue d'or and the development of the 2014-2015 traveling Degrees of Separation exhibition, a France-Louisiane photography, art and literature exchange; and the 2015 Tiny House build, a private-public-nonprofit partnership workshop seeking to address lack of affordable temporary and permanent housing and inspiring the development of a new business, Tee Tiny Houses of Arnaudville.   

Our efforts are noticed
Within the past seven years, NUNU has proven itself an influential regional leader in the practices of Creative Placemaking. Recipient of a 2015 INNOV8 entrepreneurial award, named a 2014 Louisiana Cultural
Economy Hero, and in 2012 an AARP "Great Places" in Louisiana. In 2012, Louisiana Culture Connection commended the Deux Bayous Cultural District for national recognition received through NUNU Arts and Culture Collective's selection as one of 14 examples cited in the prestigious
Mayor's Institute on City Design, "Creative Placemaking White Paper"
study. In addition, awards honoring work and contributions by: NUNU
Executive Director George Marks include, 2017 ICON Cultural Economy,
2017 ABiz Jillian Johnson Award for Entrepreneurship in the Cultural
Economy, 2016 Foundation for Historical Louisiana Cultural
Preservationist, 2008 Governor's Leadership in the Arts, and 2006
Opelousas-St. Landry Parish Chamber of Commerce's Entrepreneurial
Excellence; and Jacques Arnaud French Studies Director Mavis Arnaud
Frugé include, 2016 Acadian Museum Living Legend, France's 2015 Ordre
des Palmes Academiques, 2013 Louisiana Culture Connection Prix de la
Franco-Responsabilité, and 2009 Opelousas-St. Landry Parish Chamber of
Commerce Citizen of the Year. Individual awards were for work conducted
under the umbrella of the NUNU collective.