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Entrepreneurs Clare Cook and Dr. Robert Autin Collaborate to Enhance Cultural Landscape of Lafayette
Friends since Pre-K, the husband and wife team of Clare Cook and Dr. Robert Autin provide an inspirational take on how a deep passion for arts and science can positively impact a community.
In this podcast interview with Jan Swift, host of Discover Lafayette, this highly-disciplined couple share their captivating journey which eventually brought them back to their beloved hometown, Lafayette LA.
Robert Autin always wanted to be a doctor and assumed he would follow in the steps of his late father, Dr. David Autin, who was a urologist. Instead, Robert followed a more arduous path of specializing in Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, along with General Surgery. He ended up at New York Methodist in Brooklyn NY for a five year residency in surgery.
Clare Cook, Robert’s lifelong friend, was also successfully pursuing a career path as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, after receiving her Master of Fine Arts from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2011, she launched Clare Cook Dance Theater and produced multidisciplinary dance theater projects and educational workshops to nurture youth creativity. Most noteworthy, Clare had the opportunity to work with Susan Stroman, a Tony winning choreographer, working on Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway. Her career was definitely on an upward trajectory.
While Clare and Robert had dated in college, both had moved on as they pursued higher education. Year passed, and both ended up in New York where they reconnected. Married in February 2014, they returned home to Lafayette when Robert joined the medical practice of Drs. Philip Gachassin and Dennis Eschete.
As Clare wound up commitments with her work in New York, she pondered how she could positively add to the local arts community in Lafayette. The result was the establishment of Basin Arts, located at 113 Clinton St. in downtown Lafayette, which offers dance and art classes, free visual arts programming, and genre-bending special events. Basin Arts is also the home to a professional company-in-residence, Basin Dance Collective, and the newly established art rental program, BARE Walls, which establishes relationships between local artists and businesses and provides residual income to artists every time their work is displayed.
The name Basin Arts was coined by Robert, and refers to “a collective that allows things to pass through.” As its website states and Clare affirms, “Basin Arts is a container for creativity that supports and implements cross-disciplinary collaboration, allowing Lafayette’s creative class to come together, share, experiment, and focus on process over product.” For more information, please visit https://basinartslafayette.com.
Clare is also involved as a teacher in the community and she developed a curriculum, Movement & Mindfulness, for a year-long teaching residency at Myrtle Place Elementary School. She has led dance classes at Miles Perret Cancer Services for cancer survivors, worked with the elderly population at The Blake, and designed movement workshops with Acadiana C.A.R.E.S., Big Brothers-Big Sisters, AOC Community Media and GEAR Up through the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
Clare is not the only artist in the family. Robert is owner of Acadian Superette located at 600 Lamar Street in the Freetown neighborhood of Lafayette. A local favorite for hearty meals, the restaurant is beloved for its home smoked meats, homemade bacon, and good old fashioned plate lunches. Robert is a hands-on owner: he personally brines and smokes the meats and drives (at times) to the Eunice Superette where he sources the meats. He built the Superette’s smokehouse. To get a feel for how much he enjoys cooking, check out a few of Robert’s videos on Acadian Superette’s Facebook page where he illustrates how he makes boudin, BLT and Reuben sandwiches, and tempts you with his smoked pancetta, among other dishes. Vegetarians beware…you may just end up being a meat-lover! For more information, visit http://acadiansuperette.com.
Robert Autin is also an investment partner in the Vermilion Lofts, a mixed-use development that recently broke ground on the site of the former Leather Pouch at 436 E. Vermilion St., as well the Spoonbill Watering Hole & Restaurant at 900 Jefferson St.
The takeaway of this interview is the power of following your dreams and the success that is possible with the love and support of a dedicated partner. Discover Lafayette is proud to shine the light on Clare Cook and Robert Autin who beautifully support one another while lifting up our community with their many talents.